What are the learnings for Nelson Tasman business leaders?


Over the last few weeks, in our Leading Through COVID-19 Leadership Series we have profiled business leaders across many different sectors in the Nelson Tasman region to get an insight into how their businesses are handling crisis disruption.

Each business leader has talked about how they have been impacted and the realities of facing a tough economic environment with significant declines of 20 – 40% in revenue and/or reduced productivity.

Some of our businesses demonstrated their agility, taking the opportunity to innovate and adapt to new needs with Mortimer Upholstery manufacturing PVC Safety Screens and TM Covers changing to producing thousands of innovative, reusable face shields.

Others have had to pivot to new markets and/or improve their e-commerce delivery with tourism and hospitality slowing down and consumer buying patterns changing.

Craig from NZ Hops spoke about moving towards an improved e-commerce model – rotating the business and opening up the invitation to enquire, engage more readily.

There were differences between leaders in how they approached these challenges. But collectively, it was clear that in this crisis, demonstrating highly visible and caring leadership was essential whilst keeping people connected often through digital connectivity

Our leaders agreed that being honest, acting quickly, providing clarity and increased communication were all essential elements of their leadership whilst maintaining an optimistic presence.

Bringing communities and organisations closer together

A regional highlight from our leaders was how it has brought communities and organisations closer together.

David from Ngati Kuia talked about all iwi of Te Tauihu working together to ensure that all whanau are supported. 

Marina from Tasman Bay Food touched on continuing to diversify their sales channels, especially connecting, collaborating and working together with other local food businesses.  

Liam at NMIT spoke about working with local employers to support the region in relation to training needs and retraining of our workforce.

Moving from surviving to thriving

As a number of local businesses move from surviving to thriving perhaps the toughest leadership test is now looming: how to bring a business back in a new environment, with economies still reeling and multiple scenarios of how this could play out.  

If we take direction from our local leaders, making this turnaround will require a new, more agile and responsive business model, strong team cohesiveness, regional, national and global collaboration and a courageous 21st-century style of leadership. 

The ultimate outcome being: to come back stronger as a region and a better position for NZ on the world stage.

Click here to view all ten interviews in our 'Leading Through COVID-19' series. Look out for our next leadership series which will provide insights to the next phase of the journey for local business leaders.

Contributed by Melisa Kappely

Whakatū | Nelson

Te Whanganui-a-Tara | Wellington

Ōtautahi | Christchurch

Waiharakeke | Blenheim

Better people make a better world
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