PRConf14 guest blog 1 – Shell to Z in 45 minutes

By Craig Tiriana, Special Projects Media Manager, Rotorua District Council

“I want to work for Z.”

Well, it was a fleeting thought following a captivating and energetic last session delivery by Mike Bennetts – the bubbly Chief Executive of Z – on day one of PRINZ Conference 2014 in Auckland.


Mike Bennetts, CEO of Z Energy, presents ‘The Z Why.’ 29 May, 2014 at the Heritage Hotel, Auckland Photo: Fiona Goodall/Getty Images Getty Images

“Why matters more than way” Mike said, as he outlined how the business moved from Shell to Z and staff were enabled to provide the content to his leadership context.

“Our context is who we are and why we do the stuff. Our purpose is why we are here,’’ Mike said.

Z’s vision is to be a world-class kiwi company.

Mike’s job is to show his colleagues the way, leading through values that staff have defined through assessing: “the things that makes us so very Z” and keeping the “Why” ever present.

“Values should define us. They are the soul of our firm,” Mike added, “A company has to have values that it is prepared to stand by”.

Staff created Z’s own company values. They focused on personal ideals rather than traditional corporate generated one-word offerings.

“Personal values trump organisational values every time,” Mike said. He reinforced this statement with a values matrix slide, which provided evidence that basing company values on staffs’ personal principles lifts commitment, engagement and intent of staff.

Mike assesses his job as living those values every day – leading from the top. He added that the job of communications professionals is to use the power of language to demonstrate leadership qualities.

“As a leader all you are is your word. My job is to keep the “Why” in front. It’s not cheerleading, just hard core and connected to what they are doing”.

“[Communications professionals] are the masters of language … Leaders can transform by how they speak, language is the way … Things just happen.”

Z shares rose 2 cents while Mike spoke: things certainly do just happen at Z.

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