Discover Benelux, Issue 37, January 2017

Page 49

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Belgian Business Profile & Column

A partner in law When you do business on an international level, you have to deal with corporate and international laws. So you want an expert who can help you navigate them. Van Hoorebeke Lawyers in Ghent is your long-lasting partner and adviser for these kinds of matters. Van Hoorebeke specialises in corporate law and international law. With offices in Ghent, Belgium and Minsk, Belarus, they are active in all parts of Europe, Russia and other CIScountries. “A lot of our clients deal with international rules and regulations, for instance due to transport and export,” explains Karel Van Hoorebeke, founding partner at Van Hoorebeke Lawyers. “Together we make sure that everything is according to the law.” They also specialise in European Union law. “We help clients who are established outside the European Union to start a business activity in Belgium or another European Union member state.”

TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: VAN HOOREBEKE LAWYERS

“We are a smaller law firm, but that gives us the opportunity to work very closely with our clients and help them wherever we can,” adds Jeroom Joos, a partner at Van Hoorebeke. “Because of our close relationship with our clients, they contact us in the early stages, so we can actively respond to any matter. This prevents lengthy procedures and complex battles.”

Karel Van Hoorebeke.

Sign up to truth Would you want a boss who was contradictory, divisive, erratic, fickle, inconsistent, misogynistic, opportunistic, and unpredictable and xenophobic? The above words are just some of those used to describe political figures this year. Some people have nightmares. A Japanese academic once told me he had daymares. So please forgive me if I dedicate this month’s business communication column to a plea for good ethical practice in the workplace, as well as in our wider society. No, you would not want a boss with qualities like those listed above, certainly not masters of post-truth. ‘Post-truth’ is Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of the Year for 2016, defined as ‘relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief’. Post-truth is about lying to get what you want. A leader or boss could tell people what they wanted to hear even if the message had no basis in fact. Is this good management prac-

tice? Donald Trump’s victory in the elections this year, for example, could be also derived from the high level of national recognition he achieved on The Apprentice. In the UK, the former Labour Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has taken this lesson to heart by raising his public profile on Strictly Come Dancing. French Presidential contender François Fillon has done well on the French version of Top Gear. No doubt we shall see more aspiring politicians trying not to look foolish alongside C-listers on daft reality TV shows in the future. Is this good training for future servant leaders? I share the concern about the rise of illiberalism, and yet the Brexit and Trump votes also derive from the left-behinds’ sense of unfairness at the growing inequalities in our society. Voters – like employees - want to be treated fairly. When they are not, it is hardly surprising if some turn nasty and submit to the appeal of demagoguery. We need to be clear about our own commitment. Let us applaud and encourage managers and parents who stand for the truth. Let us combat post-truth and support values like fair-

Because Van Hoorebeke Lawyers work so closely with their clients, they create open and enduring relationships with them. “We are just a phone call away. It is that approachability and proactive mindset that makes us a true partner for our clients,” concludes Joos. www.vanhoorebeke.be

Jeroom Joos.

TEXT & PHOTO: STEVE FLINDERS

ness in the workplace, and in any other place where we have influence too. Let us get journalists and bloggers to sign up to a truth pledge. Let us hear it for truth.

Steve Flinders is a freelance trainer, writer and coach, now based in Malta, who helps people develop their communication and leadership skills for working internationally: steveflind@aol.com.

Issue 37  |  January 2017  |  49