Cees Torré, World Wide Resilience:
‘PLACE THE INDIVIDUAL BACK IN HIS STRENGTH’ With a background in the health care industry Cees J.A. Torré moved fifteen years ago into business life. After a period in consultancy Cees Torré founded World Wide Resilience and has developed the Everizone Business Capability platform. As a consultant he has supported large outsourcing strategies. text: Charles Muetstege / photos: Hermien Lam
Cees Torré is founder and CEO of World Wide Resilience. As an internationally in demand boardroom consultant he knows as few others how change processes must be carried out. His vision is that organisations develop themselves by making an optimal commitment of the present skills of employees. That demands an ongoing insight into all present human capital, whether permanently or temporarily employed, and goes much further than the present activity of the employees. Torré starts from the idea of an employee “as a whole” with capacities, ambitions, social and professional networks, as well as a private situation to consider. By creating a community, employees and organisations are able to develop themselves optimally, together.
This can go never well, thought Torré. Leaders are not able to keep themselves in hand as they become more and more powerful. This touches irrevocably the destructive sides in people and eventually leads to alienation of self. If this happens, the story develops by itself – a team is formed around the leader of so-called “loyalists”. Being loyal to the leader and representing what he preaches is the team’s starting point. And everyone becomes a head-nodder around him. “This way, a second level of alienation of the individual arises,” says Torré. “The individual facilitates himself, developing power, instead of putting his own development as a central focus point. Take as an example the credit crisis which we are going through now. One thing is for certain: to come out of this crisis it is necessary that we develop a future, where at the same time we are learning from the crisis. We are dealing with a deeply damaged trust in one of the most basic fundamentals of our personal
existence, that being: the certainty to be able to do our As far as money is concerned Cees Torré calculates own thing. that today there is more virtual money going around than real money. Torré emphasizes that we were doing (and still “More credit is being given to allow more are doing) much more than what we need to do, as basic people to share in the ‘new happiness’ and that is to conditions for our lives. It is a rat race. Being even become bigger and more important. bigger, being even more important. It emanates from the leader to the individual. Everything that happens ‘‘The value of money becomes a from that moment on dominates over the origin of the substitude for self-esteem.’’ individual, and his intrinsic motivation. At the same time there was little attention for the individual in the organization. People were – and are in many cases The value of money becomes in this way a substitute still – seen as a cost. for self-worth.” Torré suspects that this is possibly “We are used to the fact that somebody who the real essence of the present credit crisis. “Microperforms well in his specialty automatically deserves motivation gives macro-behavior. It has grown a leading or management function. We know now that completely out of proportion. Maybe this is the it is better to look first to see if there are leadership reason for every crisis: we cannot handle the growing skills, but the real problem is even one step further. complexity. With complexity I specifically mean that We are insufficently capable to express what we need the vulnerability of individuals is mainly defined by in that other person. Our vision is that there is a need an overload of dependencies and risks. Within that, to meet four basic demands to come to an optimal all relational alliances that they start up become very structure of an organisation. The first one is that an vulnerable. So eventually the chance that you will lose individual knows something, is able to do something these alliances again is very big.” Torré emphasizes and shows a certain behavior. The second is that that this complexity becomes bigger all the time. The there is a place and a role in the organization for this advice: Use technology in a strategic way and use this individual. The third is the question – does he or she technology to put the individual in his power. Let fit at that place and in that role - but we can only judge the technology help you as an organisation to grow that if we look at the development of the organization to responsible proportions. Organization, go back to in relation to the potential that this individual has. smaller and therefore better! The fourth is that we enable this person to take his or her development in his or her own hands.” In that light you talk about an automation society, a society in which technology and You have stated that we had much more time technologically steered processes are at the service of 15 years ago. And more money, while the complexity the individual. What does this society look like? was less big. Can you explain this a bit more? If you want to have a look in the future, then “There is something going on with the factor look at a child of 5 years of age. Have you ever looked of time. That time has become less. A couple of at a 5-year-old child as a future CEO? He manages examples: the world becomes smaller, an enormous amount of information, a mountain that becomes bigger and bigger. And think that during ‘‘Individuals should be free to choose his leadership period the amount of data will grow by at least tenfold. What is the intrinsic value and how and with whom they’d like to motivation of this CEO? What kind of belief systems continue their path of development.’’ does he have? I see this CEO as a treasury of that data. I see him as someone who is capable of getting but we are less and less capable to come home within that information, of enriching that information, and the agreed time. If I want to discuss personal business as someone who is capable to, without thinking first with my friends, I have to go to them. At the same of his own interests, to put that information where it time my 12 year old son talks to his friends, kilometers belongs. The CEO of the future knows exactly where away, via equipment with a camera at home on the there is a need to have this information, and what kind sofa. Already for a while it has been the case that of information that should be. In other words, he is a you are already too late if you have to change. You loyal leader, a leader that monitors the process as those have to develop yourself to be able to bend with the in his organization develop themselves. A leader that changes while they are happening.” believes in the continuous process of development.
These future features are what Cees Torré sees in his 12-year-old son, who uses his PSP as a kind of digital coordinator within his world. The thing is his route planner, communication medium to talk with his friends, a hub on which he exchanges homework problems, plays games, listens to his favorite music… “and probably another dozen things of which I do not even know. His development and my relative staying behind is a big contradiction and also his dilemma, do you understand? These kids grow much faster with technology than we who are older can keep up with. There are developments going on that we do not even realize are there. My son is capable of doing many more things at this moment than 12-year-old kids fifteen years ago. Then most kids were still looking up in admiration to their parents. Today my son of 12 years can help me in my further development. But if we don’t know what he can do, or what he wants, or where his further possibilities are, we cannot guide him and he will not arrive at where he wants to be.”
‘‘Life is a rat race. Being even bigger, being even more important.’’
and other development possibilities in the same way. Because of this, individuals can choose in freedom with whom and how they want to proceed on their path of development. The Everizone capability platform takes over the role of mediator. Everizone facilitates individuals to market themselves. The individual is visible, as well as his professional potential, and therefore he enlarges his chance to find a suitable job and further development worldwide. Participating organizations who use this platform will therefore always have the right person in the right place. We are already working now with a platform where schoolchildren and companies communicate and get to know each other, an engagement community. Our society stands now at a crossroads: to continue as it goes now, or to find a way back to our basic values. The latter means that we have to go to a redefinition of everyone’s identity, and that we have to return to more You speak about engagement communities. social cohesion. But that will definitely happen.” What is that? WWR has worked for a number of years on Business Capability Platforms. These platforms WWR show the capabilities of people and are expressed in World Wide Resilience is a leader in providing capability a universally understandable language and meaning. logistics solutions. It designs and builds processes People are enabled to understand who they are, what and instruments that enlarge the capabilities and they can do now and what is potentially available to development of the individual, are cost efficent, and them. Organizations are enabled to have an insight contribute to providing continuously actualized, true into their own needs, the career paths that they offer, and secure information.