Too Much Modesty?Tuesday, Jun 12, 2001
Today’s news item that claims that modesty is the cultural barrier that is holding New Zealand
back, although directed at business entrepreneurship it has relevance in the primary industry.
Professor Howard Frederick an American academic has recently pointed out that NZ has the leadership
and has the talent but we are still failing because of modesty about our capability to create an improved
Could this modesty trait be part of the problem in ensuring the dairy merger proceeds? Are the doubters
who surfaced late in the merger process not an example of the modesty syndrome – world famous
in New Zealand – but participation in the big world is just too scary.
It has long been a weakness of Federated Farmers that their best attribute was to unite members to oppose
but as soon as the opportunities surfaced to promote the new, with its contingent responsibilities,
The current indecision in the wool industry is an excellent example where the new structure in particular
was defined at great expense but support is now wavering because doubts have arisen as to whether
it would be accepted by the market.
A further demonstration of being too modest about intentions perhaps?
The opportunity to theorize or intellectualise about the way things should be, finally has to be tested
in a real world. Success or failure something is learned. But without a start nothing can be finished
successfully or otherwise..
The culture of modesty may be a carryover from previous times when New Zealander’s attempted and
won and rightly earned the right to be modest about there achievements.
But these are different times and being modest while being relatively mediocre invites disaster. As
farmers we are not mediocre so why should we allow the structures that we rely on be less than we
expect from ourselves.