Empathy probably isn’t the first word most of us would associate with the hard-nosed world of international commerce. But for HARTMANN’s Personal Healthcare division, it’s essential.
When the division is launching products into markets for the first time – whether that’s adhesive plasters for first aid or a diagnostic device for monitoring health – it deploys a diverse ‘taskforce’ of people from across the division who work together to decide how to implement global product strategy at a local level.
Each of the four taskforces introduced by Personal Healthcare in 2015 combines people from global HQ with representatives of key markets around the world. The group meets in person and via web or telephone meetings to devise a global product launch strategy that takes account of local views and market research. It’s during these discussions that empathy comes to the fore.
Daniela Wörle, Marketing Manager for Personal Healthcare, is part of the taskforce for first-aid products. She explains:
“When we’re coming up with the positioning and key concepts for a launch, we try to use local insights. Then we want the local experts to execute the strategy in the way that’s best for their market.
We are a very diverse group in terms of nationalities, expertise and professional backgrounds. For to work, we work hard to understand each other’s perspectives. When people are convinced you’re listening and trying to understand their opinion, they become more open to your ideas in return. For me, empathy is king!”
Fellow member of the first-aid taskforce Jordi Guinovart, Managing Director of HARTMANN Spain, believes an open exchange of ideas and opinions, based on solid market research, is vital to successful collaboration. “Having diverging viewpoints helps in better understanding the situation and ultimately leads to more thoughtful and successful decisions,” he says.
“Of course, most of us want to understand a situation holistically and accurately. But naturally we tend to fight for our own ideas during a discussion and that can lead to emotional debates. Empathy is important so we can take every opinion seriously, listen carefully and reach the right decision.” With more than 10,000 people in over 30 countries across the globe, this kind of international collaboration is increasingly important for HARTMANN. As the experience of our Personal Healthcare business shows, the diversity of ideas, talents and experiences among our people can underpin our success."