INTOUCH : As I see it

Merilyn Havler
• General manager
• Beiersdorf New Zealand

What are the key components of good leadership and why?
At Beiersdorf I lead team of 40, oversee roster of nearly 200 products and manage turnover in excess of $30 million. In order to do that successfully I know it’s crucial
to recruit the right people and then empower them so they
can be the best they can.
The right people, irrespective of what line of business you’re in, are those that have passion, attitude and application; you can always teach and develop technical skills but those first three features should be inherent. Be bold and include some of these more intrinsic elements into your organisation’s personal development plans and consider achievement of them to be just as important as the functional elements of person’s role.
Share your vision for the company with all of your staff, clearly articulate what you want to achieve and focus on ensuring that everyone is working towards common goal. Stimulate thinking with your senior and middle management and get them involved in the game plan to roll out the vision to everyone else within the company. And finally, encourage culture that is solution driven and focuses on the big picture (ie, what is best for the business and not just for individuals) and don’t fall into the trap of providing all the solutions yourself.

What are the values that you will not negotiate on?
Accountability, respect, excellence, working as one team, openness and positive attitude.

How would you describe the New Zealand identity?
I think New Zealanders are generally tenacious people; we’re bright, we just ‘get on with it’ and we’re keen to succeed once we’ve done that. Our New Zealand leadership challenge is to harness the talent coming through the ranks, mapping out and then demonstrating career path in this country, and then developing them into the next generation of leaders.

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