Developing an effective organisational structure
A Syngenta case study

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Page 4: Skills and competencies

Syngenta has a culture of empowering its workers. This enables them to be in control of their work. To fulfil Syngenta's aims and objectives, employees must also demonstrate specific skills and competencies. Dr Kathryn Brocklehurst explains what this means for her: 'As a manager and scientist, time management, planning and communication are key skills. I manage a research team and it is vital that our work meets deadlines in order to get products developed for our customers.'

Kathryn's planning skills are essential as delays could mean that competitors bring out new products first. As a result, Syngenta could lose business. Investment costs are high in the research area. Large research projects can run for 10 years, costing up to £100 million per project. Clear leadership is essential to make this product development work as efficiently as possible.

Leadership skills at this level take time to develop. Kathryn's career has taken her through many different areas of the business. This experience has helped her develop her understanding of good practice throughout the business. It has allowed her to appreciate what other departments have to offer, enabling her to select the right people for her projects.

For Melanie, the key was to gain experience of the full range of products being developed. This has helped her market the products in the UK.  Melanie needed to develop her skills to promote the business's products. 'I chose the role at Syngenta because of the wide range of products I'd be working on. My role requires an organised approach and you need to be very diplomatic with good negotiation skills, as I'll often find myself having to persuade someone to sign off a marketing text at short notice. Syngenta is very keen on developing its employees and helping them grow into new roles. Since starting at Syngenta in 2003, I have worked in three different departments in four different roles. So it's easy to move your career on if you have the right attitude.'

Jonathan Richards highlights the importance of leadership for the company: 'Syngenta needs its people to develop leadership skills at every level in the organisation. This is critical to enable the business to progress. Everyone has his or her own unique set of knowledge and skills and team leaders need to use that potential every day. Everyone is encouraged to speak up with new ideas. This open approach not only helps the business to generate new opportunities but also gets everyone's thoughts on what the best ideas are. This makes Syngenta a fun and rewarding place to work both for developing new breakthroughs and having your work recognised.'


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Syngenta | Developing an effective organisational structure