Bruce Cotterill addresses the C&I NZ Expo Symposium

Five-time CEO, business advisor, and author Bruce Cotterill was the keynote speaker on day one of the C&I NZ Expo and Symposium, outlining the key areas for business success in the current inflationary economy.

With extensive experience assisting organisations maximise performance and profitability, Cotterill’s client list extends across a range of industries and includes some of the biggest players, including Telstra media, Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority, and ANZ Bank.

A lifetime leader who focuses on clear objectives to enhance personal engagement and improved customer orientation, he started his presentation by addressing the “terrible economic picture,” facing business in 2022.

“You can’t do anything about the oil prices, you can’t do anything about government policy, [you] can’t really do anything about the currency,” he said, highlighting the needs to focus only on the aspects of business operations you have control over.

“We’ve got to be better at the stuff we can control,” he explained. According to Cotterill, those controllable factors are relatively few.

“I went through this exercise years ago, I sat down and thought about everything I’d done as a business manager and wrote down all the things that I could remember having to so… Just one line for everything,” he said.

“I had about 20 pages of one liners and I started categorising what those one liners were, and everything on those 20 pages ended up fitting under just seven headings.

“I call them the seven principles of profit, which is kind of corny… but it still works,” he said. His all-important seven factors include dealing with change, leadership, back office finance and administration, products and services, sales and marketing, people and customers.

“Everything we do in business falls under one of those seven headings,” said Cotterill. “So, as you think about your business if it doesn’t fall under one of those headings, really sit down and say to yourself, am I really in control of that? Can I do anything about it?”

This is especially important as we enter into a tougher economic market, said Cotterill. “We’ve got to focus on the stuff that we can do something about.

“We complicate the hell out of business generally, and my whole focus on business is about keeping things simple… and leadership is no different,” he said.

He stressed the need to take time hiring the best possible staff and making sure they truly understand your vision.

“Do our people know what we’re trying to achieve?” he asked, emphasising that, “if people are going to know what we’re trying to achieve, first and foremost, we have to know what we’re trying to achieve.”

“If you are really clear about what you’re trying to achieve everything gets easier, your decisions are easier.”

Especially for the growing millennial work force. “They actually want to know what the business is trying to do,” said Cotterill. “They want to know how their role fits in and why they’re important.”

“Here’s the last key phrase,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to break the mould, don’t be afraid to try a different way.”

Exemplifying Richard Branson, who caused a major disruption in the airline industry in the 1990s.

“That’s all that Richard Branson has ever done. He’s looked at a problem and said, how can we do that different?”

“So, look at your business, think about your business and say how can I take these challenges and do something different?” he concluded.

The Symposium also featured talks from Eddy Nader from NPG Retail, Julie O’Toole from Coca-Cola Oceania, Melinda Baillie from Trents Wholesale, Haydn Tierney from Bowser Bean, and Andy Baird from Z Energy. Stay tuned to the C&I newsletter next week for

To stay up to date on the latest industry headlines, sign up to the C&I e-newsletter.

1 thought on “Bruce Cotterill addresses the C&I NZ Expo Symposium”

  1. Mr Cotterill offered notes supporting his presentation, and suggested the best way was for the notes to be emailed to interested parties. I would be very keen to receive a copy of the notes please. Many thanks. Fiona May

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top