Magazine article New Zealand Management

COVER STORY: World Class Kiwis Talented and Tenacious; How Do You Get to Be World Class? in Tough Economic Times, It Becomes Even More Vital to Delve into the Recipes for Kiwi Success, Define Common Characteristics and Do Our Damnedest to Replicate What Has Helped Take the 2009 World Class New Zealanders to the Top of Their Game

Magazine article New Zealand Management

COVER STORY: World Class Kiwis Talented and Tenacious; How Do You Get to Be World Class? in Tough Economic Times, It Becomes Even More Vital to Delve into the Recipes for Kiwi Success, Define Common Characteristics and Do Our Damnedest to Replicate What Has Helped Take the 2009 World Class New Zealanders to the Top of Their Game

Article excerpt

Byline: Vicki Jayne

Little country in the bottom of the world we may be, but New Zealand, as one World Class New Zealand Award winner puts it, produces C[pounds sterling]a disproportionate share of talented peopleC[yen] in all spheres of achievement.

While our sporting stars are more visible high fliers, the World Class Leaders Awards, created by KEA NZ with NZ Trade and Enterprise and now in their sixth year, highlight the size and scope of this talent. From high finance and high fashion to those pushing out the frontiers of science and technological innovation, this yearCOs eight award winners are at the top of their field Co even though they often fly under the radar of public awareness.

How did they reach this level of achievement? Are there common Kiwi traits that have contributed to their success? What influence do and can we have on the world stage? And what sort of leadership does the world need to pull it out of its current economic tailspin?

There are some common recipes. Talent has to be paired with tenacity. To get noticed on the world stage, you have to show up. Follow your passion and never stop learning. Build strong teams around you. Draw on your own C[pounds sterling]Rosetta stoneC[yen] of strength. All highlight the reality that itCOs not what youCOre born with but what you do with it that counts.

There is a lot to learn from these and other members of the growing pool of C[pounds sterling]world classC[yen] achievers identified by KEA. ItCOs knowledge that, while always vital, has added cachet in todayCOs turbulent times. And, as one award winner notes, the value of connections forged through this global network of talented Kiwis can only enhance what is already a great national brand: C[pounds sterling]smart people who get things doneC[yen].

NB: Full transcripts of the interviews with winners are available from the Scroll to Print Plus link.

Richard Taylor

Supreme World Class Award

Sponsored by Industrial Research

When Richard Taylor looks back over a career that has seen him tread the red carpet at both Oscar and Bafta award-winning ceremonies, what makes him most proud is the people who drive the creative powerhouse that is Weta Workshop.

C[pounds sterling]At 44 when I reflect on the challenges and the accomplishments around the films and shows weCOve done, itCOs actually about appreciating all this has been achieved by a like-minded group of young Kiwis working as a single unit. That people have felt so motivated to reach that level of achievement and empowering them to get to that place, itCOs been a really special experience and one I reflect on as being the most enjoyable part of what weCOve done to date.C[yen]

Taylor runs a company where growth has been almost incidental to the creative challenge offered by the projects itCOs tackled and where the required attributes for employees are passion, enthusiasm, tenacity and talent Co in that order. Taylor models them all, in spades.

The first two are very evident as he talks about their latest project. Made at Weta Workshop and developed by his new creative IP development company, Pukeko Pictures, a TV series for pre-schoolers is about a couple of baby aliens who crash land at Wellington zoo and have to figure out where they belong in this world. The Wot Wots has been in production for more than two years and 52 episodes are now destined for markets in the UK and Europe. TaylorCOs young daughter is already a big fan: C[pounds sterling]She learned to talk from the showCOs speech lessons,C[yen] he says.

Tenacity was evident in his own struggle with academic work Co he had to put in a lot of effort to do as well as he wanted. Fortunately he found a niche that played to his practical strengths and creative flair in a Wellington Polytech design course. After discovering the New Zealand film industry, he and wife Tania started their own special effects business, met Kiwi film director Peter Jackson and the rest, as they say, is history. …

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