Er w i n K채 ller | Paul Font ein | J eroen Berkhout
Rotanova, Eindhoven (www.rotanova.nl)
Erwin KĂ¤ller, Paul Fontein, Jeroen Berkhout
Jeroen Berkhout (email@example.com) and Reinier Poelhekke (www.yowza.nl)
Emmeke van der Put (www.emmeke.de)
iStock, Shutterstock, Nanamee, NASA Images, Reinier Poelhekke
BEK | Grafische Producties | Crossmedia Solutions
Rotanova wishes thank to Steven van Agt, Jan Post, Ferry Rondeel, Martin Pabon, Jos Kuijpers,
Eduard Molkenboer and Andrew Black
The publisher has made every effort to secure permission to reproduce the listed material, illustrations and photographs. We apologize for any unintentional errors or omissions. Parties who nevertheless believe they can claim specific legal rights are invited to contact the publisher. All the articles in this book are based on interviews held by Jeroen Berkhout, authorized and approved by the interviewees. ÂŠ2012 Rotanova. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronical, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher. ISBN - 978 90 818320 0 7
Er w i n K채 ller | Paul Font ein | J eroen Berkhout
In the beginning 016-017 What, why, how and for whom Introduction to Rotanova Xchanges by Paul Fontein and Erwin Käller.
018-021 The number 10 as we see it - A foreword of sorts Or why a bit of ancient philosophy never hurt anyone (so why stop now?).
Wise men say 10 X | CONTENTS
3 visionaries share their braindrops on the next 10 years, and 3 professionals share their hands-on experiences with change and improvement management. braindrops
024-037 APOCALYPSE NOW In the beginning was the power-shift, and then everything changed (again) Steven van Agt, director at PwC Advisory, docent at Erasmus and Nijenrode universities.
It was the end of a day that ended a long and busy week for Steven van Agt. Yet he still exerted enormous energy without ever touching the coffee that was put in front of him, took one deep breath, said ‘how long do you have’ and kicked off the interview in The Galeâo room at the PwC offices in Amsterdam.
038-049 FROM OVERSIZED WHALE TO AN AGILE SCHOOL OF DOLPHINS Let’s turn the pyramids upside down Jan Post, former CEO Philips Electronics Netherlands, CEO Red Cross Netherlands, Chairman of the Amsterdam Chamber of Commerce, and more.
A beaming spring day at the Eik en Linde cafe in Amsterdam. Sounds of a billiards game being played in the background, the rattling of glasses, cups and saucers. An elderly gentleman attempting to read the day’s newspaper knocks over his breakfast glass of red wine, covering table and floor, and spraying Jan Post’s impeccable suit. “No problem,” he comments stoically, “the same could’ve happened to me.”
Ferry Rondeel, former head-mediator at Philips Healthcare.
As an amateur and connoisseur of Marcel Proust, Ferry Rondeel has already read Proust’s complete works multiple times, and is now underway with his so-maniest journey in search of lost times. From one of the adjacent cubicles at the Philips headquarters in Eindhoven, an excited male voice conducts one heated sales conversation on a cell phone after another. The contrast with the serenity Rondeel manifests couldn’t be greater: seemingly two entirely different universes, separated by a half-inch thick system wall.
050-057 THE UNBEARABLE EMPTINESS OF OUR TIMES Culture clash: Rhineland tradition meets Anglo-American ways head-on
058-063 JUMPING OVER YOUR OWN SHADOW On the gap between management and the shop floor, and more Martin Pabon, former change manager at Corus Logistics & Transportation.
It was a warm May day when Martin Pabon visited the Magnum Opus headquarters and made himself comfortable on the black sofa. In the background the steady slow beat of the industrial steel blue Telefon und Normalbau clock as he mused over the interviewerâ€™s initiating question: can and does an organization really change?
064-069 MISSION POSSIBLE Change: a self-feeding, intrinsic loop Jos Kuijpers, advisor and managing partner ArchosGroup and Partner LogiSearch.
A pensive man, Jos Kuijpers had come with a clear idea of what he wanted to talk about on that Indian Summer day in late September. He was invited to have a seat at the main desk at Magnum Opus, declining sugar in his coffee. Had it not been that he was asked to share his experiences on change management, he would have spoken about such things as the art and science of memory, how to become a born leader, or Marshall Tito.
070-077 CONNECTING FROM A LEADERSHIP POSITION Or: why didn’t they tie me to my chair? Eduard Molkenboer, previously managing director of DHL Supply Chain Belgium, as of January 1st 2012 Global Head of Product Sales EMEA at DHL Supply Chain.
The first appointment to interview Eduard Molkenboer got rained on, literally, because of a cloud burst, causing major traffic problems, and interfering with the mobile telephone network (read: the interviewer was stuck in traffic, couldn’t get a hold of the interviewee, and was 40 minutes late). The second part of the interview was done over the phone, not hampered by any atmospheric trouble. 13 XIII
The nuts and bolts section: The ins and outs of change according to Rotanova.
080-091 092-107 108-115 116-127 128-137
Change in Organization - A three-phased journey Transition - In the beginning was a fundamental choice Mission accomplished - On measuring transitional results Transformation - The final phase of change The importance of exchange (read: effective communication)
Back to the beginning 140-155 GOING RIGHT TO THE SOURCE The men from Rotanova reveal their secrets in an exclusive interview Erwin Käller and Paul Fontein get a taste of their own medicine.
IN THE BEGINNING
WHAT, WHY, HOW and FOR WHOM Those basically were the questions that came up when we realized our 10th anniversary as Rotanova was looming on the horizon. What shall we do? Maybe throw a party? Why should we do anything this time? We didn’t celebrate our 5th anniversary either. Let’s just get on with business as usual, maybe have drinks together on the day. And even if we did decide to organize something, how would we go about it, and for whom would that something be? Friends, family, clients? So after having stewed over these themes for a while, we one day woke up and knew it had to be a book. But, we asked ourselves: what kind of book? What would be the message? And why? Both being busy types, how would we make a book? And for whom? Wouldn’t it be too much over
the top self-glorification? And is there anyone out there who is just waiting for us to publish a book? Fortunately, we knew someone who knew someone. They convinced us we had something to say, yet that it was a matter of how you said it. And before we knew it, the concept for Rotanova Xchanges had been born. We proudly present it to you, thanking all who participated in the realization of Xchanges: the interviewees who so kindly cooperated, Jeroen Berkhout and Reinier Poelhekke for translating our words, thoughts and â€˜messageâ€™ into Rotanova Xchanges. A posthumous and warm thank you goes to Frank Hoes, who put us on the path of changing organizations some ten years ago. We dedicate Rotanova Xchanges to everyone involved in change processes, aspiring to bring their organization to the next level, and to the only thing in this universe that is constant: change. Or, as the ancient Greeks put it: everything flows.
Paul Fontein and Erwin KĂ¤ller Eindhoven, March 15th 2012
“A thought is an idea in transit” Pythagoras (570 BC - 495 BC)
The number 10 as we see it Or why a bit of ancient philosophy never hurt anyone (so why stop now?) Whenever anything needs to be explained or illustrated, the old philosopher Pythagoras of Samos (6th century BC) can always be counted on to provide us with incorruptible truths for every occasion. As you will remember, Pythagoras has been immortalized through the theorem that has been named after him and which â€“ when applied correctly â€“ will give you the length of the oblique or hypotenuse of a right angled triangle: a2 + b2 = c2, with c being the hypotenuse and a and b the other sides. This book will not go down that road, not of the hypotenuse and its philosophical implications according
to Pythagoras and his school, that is. Interestingly, Pythagoras and his followers weren’t actually mathematicians or physicists as we would define them today. He was a genuine metaphysicist. No, in his day that didn’t yet mean ‘dealing with things unseen, matters obscure and based on superstition or belief’: the term itself comes from old Greek meta ta physica, and was used to describe those works of Aristotle (4th century BC), collected and categorized by Andronicus of Rhodes in the 1st century BC, that came after or followed the works on physics, meta ta physica in ancient Greek. Now don’t think that Aristotle –who 20
gave us the idea of the tabula rasa, or ‘virgin state, clean slate’– was only metaphysical in his metaphysical works: he was metaphysical in many places throughout his works, following from the fact that man has a soul, the immaterial component that holds the body together. He promoted phronesis, roughly translated as moral intelligence, which allows us to determine the right actions to take, and to find the middle, or balance, between the rational and the emotional. Sounds logical even today, we think. Back to Pythagoras. The old man from the Greek island of Samos in the Aegean Sea was more interested in uncovering the reality behind the perceptible, and strove – among other things – for harmony in life, spirit, and body. According to Pythagoras, the true nature of the universe and everything in it, could be reduced to numbers, proportions, ratios. He divided numbers into male and female, the even ones being female, the odd numbers male. Perfection, harmony and beauty, he claimed, could always be proven to consist of perfectly balanced male and female numbers. As far as Pythagoras was
concerned, perfection could be summed up in just one number. Because it is the sum of 1+2+3+4, 10 is that perfect number. Among other things, 1 represents the point, 2 the line, 3 the triangle, and 4 the square (but also the tetrahedron). Yet the Pythagorean numbers also symbolize the ancient elements fire, air, water and earth. But we don’t want to open up this can of metaphysicalism any further, and leave it up to you to deduce your own personal contemplations on the metaphysical world of numbers and what they represent, or don’t represent. So 10 is a perfect number. It is also the month of October (although it used to be the eighth month in the Roman calendar, December being the tenth, but there you go: everything changes. Maybe one day in the future it will be the first month). Bo Derek did that seethrough wet garment beach scene in the movie Ten, long ago. Most of us have 10 fingers (or, as some say, 8 fingers and 2 thumbs). Neon has the atomic number 10. There are 10 sports in the decathlon, and 10 commandments plus 10 plagues in the Bible. There are 10 works in Aristotle’s Meta Ta Physica according to Andronicus by the way. And counting to 10 can sometimes be an excellent strategy. For us the number 10 today represents the 10th year of our existence, the year that follows year 9. Next year it will be the year that went before year 11. Because everything changes. Let’s celebrate that in this book as we look towards the next 10 years with three visionary articles, and three customer testimonials touching on the recent past and the present.
WISE MEN SAY
Steven van Agt, director at PwC Advisory, docent at Erasmus and Nijenrode universities Academics the school of hard knocks Date of birth July 6th, 1961 Place of birth Leiden, The Netherlands Life motto Help others succeed and be appreciated for it Name
Have you become who or what you wanted to be? I never knew as a youngster what I wanted to be, and I honestly still donâ€™t know: in that sense then is still now. The place where it would be important to know where Iâ€™ll be five years from now, isnâ€™t a place where I will flourish. Life changing experience Meeting and marrying my wife, Leonie is definitely number 1. A good second is attending a team effectiveness training at KPMG in 2001 that opened my eyes: basically I realized in every cell of my being, that I deserved to exist, I had a story to tell that was worthwhile. Source(s) of inspiration Might sound like a platitude, but it really is the people around me that define and inspire me.
APOCALYPSE NOW In the beginning was the power-shift, and then everything changed (again) Steven van Agt, son of ‘astronomer’ parents, is the eldest of six children. The scholarly family environment and his curiosity set him up for life with a divergent perspective. He never finished high school, didn’t go to college, and started on a chain of various jobs from an early age. His first job was cleaning windows in his hometown Nijmegen. He never knew what he wanted to be when he grew up, and still doesn’t. After a career in banking and ICT, he finally found
an ideal environment to flourish: consulting, first at KPMG and currently at PwC Advisory. A peoples business, where client and employee focus go hand in hand and excellence is the rule. Besides being a director at PwC Advisory, he teaches at the Erasmus and Nijenrode universities and has a very small appetite for mediocrity, although he adheres to the mediocrity principle. He thinks in images and has one for just about any occasion, earning him the nickname 26
Mister Metaphor, which he takes as an honorary title. Letâ€™s hear what Van Agt has to say about the future, leadership, Sun Tzu, the flow of money and resources, and the resulting power-shift.
Entropy on the rise: a cosmological perspective
in life. So reader, be warned! At this moment in time, people
Looking towards 2022 spans just a decade, a mere blink of
worry about the Fukushima aftermath, the Middle-East,
an eye on cosmological and geological timescales. I am the
both the Islamic reveille and itâ€™s dynamic for emancipation
son of a brilliant astronomer mother and her astronomer
at the same time, and the effects of the economic and bank
husband. I guess itâ€™s from them that I inherited this rather
crises. Two things: one, it is going to get much worse, and
holistic and magnitudinal perspective on most everything
two, it will go on like that for a long, long time. What we see
happening in the world around is nothing more or less than
beholder living in a certain era, always new to him because
the second law of thermodynamics at work: a system that is
that is its manifestation in his time, and to him it is the
not maintained will collapse into chaos. And look: entropy is
first time he’s experienced it. For me that is an important
on the rise everywhere.
aspect of change: we may see more than those before us, but
The global system isn’t being maintained, looked after, and
that doesn’t mean more is happening around us. Modern
things are proliferating all over the place. I see that as a
information tools are available to virtually everybody. The
result of the fact that power isn’t in the hands of perceived
precision of diagnostics has improved. How often don’t you
god or gods by whatever name any longer, the way it was
hear people say when you ask them how it’s going, “well, a
for thousands of years. Power isn’t in the hands of kings and
lot has happened in the meantime, but nothing much has
emperors anymore either, as it had been for thousands of years
changed.” And that holds true for many aspects of the human 27
until not so long ago. And the captains of industry, in control
condition. At the same time we are able to fool each other
until a couple of decades ago, have lost it as well. Because all
better and more often than before, though.
information these days is available to everybody, all the time, the power is in the hands of the masses, the people, the mob.
Pulling up the curtain, real fast
And if the masses are in control mediocrity will reign, because
Interesting what happens during a crisis. A crisis entails some
the masses do not have ‘form’ or objective. Hence they are
part of the global puzzle being exposed, becoming transparent
often incapable of controlling, guiding or deciding anything.
real fast. The result is that people are really disappointed in
Just look at what has been happening in Dutch politics these
whichever sector it is that is exposed. Breach of trust. Take
past years: the populace, populism and populists have taken
2001 for instance. An economic crisis accelerated by 9/11. The
consultants were all sent home. And what happened? There had been a crisis already, we thought we needed consultants,
I wonder whether all the phenomena are new, however.
yet they were sent home anyway. And it didn’t seem to
Maybe they just look new, and that too is a process that has
have any influence on things whatsoever. Not deploying
been going on forever: the same things repeating themselves
consultants didn’t appear to change anything. That was the
over and over again, slightly different each time, and for the
demystification of consulting. All of a sudden companies
Reversing the planet’s economic polarity: power-shift as exponent of the flow of money
The same goes for the current lingering financial banking
The power has shifted from the gods to the people as we saw.
crisis. The curtain was pulled up really fast, and all of a sudden
That may sound like the ultimate democratic utopia, but it
everyone was able to see that there was nothing behind that
is actually a managerial nightmare. The people, the masses,
curtain that had veiled banks and insurers all those years. Not
aren’t capable of managing, of controlling anything without
that we hadn’t known that before, we knew all along but had
guidance themselves. However that may be, that is the state
accepted the situation because money seemed to be available
of things, we’ll see what comes of it. Maybe we will see the
abundantly, at least, that’s what everyone thought.
abundant use of socialmedia evolve into something useful.
didn’t need consultants anymore, they were able to get by all
28 Such crises, these breaches of trust, will come more often and
But that is just major power-shift number one. Number two is
more rapidly. We see what’s happening in Northern Africa
just as interesting and worrying. Traditionally, the money, the
these days, which is actually logical. The same will take place
raw materials, energy sources, trade flows and the majority
in the Middle East and Asia, if it isn’t going on already. The cast
of people resided in the North-West, in Europe and North-
system in India, the hegemony of China’s central government:
America. No longer, though. Of all the people on Earth, 40%
all temporal, they will be challenged within the next ten years
can be found in India and China. The raw materials required
for sure. Why? Because these regions are becoming prosperous
to fuel our economy are located in the southeastern regions of
at an incredible rate. And prosperity empowers people. Why is
the planet. Something else: the global debtor-creditor balance.
what’s happening in Northern Africa logical? Because people
The North-West is the world’s biggest debtor, the South-
have internet access. How come they have internet access?
East is the biggest creditor. Europe is in debt. China, like the
Because they can afford it. And because they have mobile
other emerging economies, doesn’t have any debts, on the
phones, because they are able like never before to exchange
contrary: they own our debts. The same holds true for Central
information, because they have family members and friends
and Eastern Europe: they boast positive trade balances, they
and networks residing in the West that tell them that it’s not
are creditors, we are their debtors. And this second shift,
OK for someone to rule as president or king or whatever, for
of resources, money, people and trade flows from East to
35 years or longer.
West, has been taking place at a much faster pace these past
years, because here in the West we’ve been supporting our
something the Americans came up with, the foreign accounts
banks, insurance companies and the automotive industry
tax compliancy Act, making it harder for Americans in any
so that they wouldn’t collapse. At the expense of citizen’s
case to shelter their money off-shore, so to speak. The same
income tax balance if you will, yours and mine. These debts
will happen and is already happening to Europeans with
are astronomical already, but we still have to pay them off
sheltered funds. The legislation being put into effect really
somehow. So we aren’t exactly out of the woods yet, to put
will mean that those whom it concerns might be able to run,
it mildly. And we haven’t seen the last crisis either. The only
but they won’t be able to hide anywhere. Yet it doesn’t mean
thing to be sure of, is that the world’s economic polarity is
that everything is going to be coming up roses and we’re all
reversing, and that this new reality dictates global dynamics
going to live happily ever after in some turn-the-other-cheek
in every aspect of business, finance, politics and therefor our
Happyville. The only thing it means, is that it’s going to be 29
more difficult for those who wish to shelter their money to do so: they’ll just outsmart the law and the regulators once again,
The transparency trap: the Richter scale is up for recalibration
this time under way stricter legislation. What will happen is
So the world’s economic, political and business polarity is
going to become bigger, just like the gap between average and
reversing. We have been experiencing cataclysmic crises, the
not-haves is going to increase. A huge continent of middle-
public cries out for more regulation, so that this will never
class wealthy citizens is emerging in the South-East, in China
happen again. As a result we see an increase in perceived
for example, where those in perceived power aren’t used to a
transparency: we are attempting like mad to systemize our
well-to-do and empowered, vocal middle class.
world, by having all regulators talk to each other and spanning
That will inevitably lead to clashes between the government
one net around the world to capture future perpetrators.
and its people. Forget the image of that brave, or foolish guy,
Tax havens will be closed down, and dark pirate harbors
depending on your perspective, waving his shopping bags on
be exposed to flood lights to make them less piratey. We
Tiananmen Square, the square of heavenly peace, in 1989. This
will see Switzerland for example saying goodbye to its long
time it will go more abruptly, jerky, eruption style. There’s an
treasured tradition of bank secrecy. An interesting catalyst is
analogy to what we have been seeing in natural disasters the
that the difference between exorbitantly rich and average is
“A system that isn’t maintained, will collapse into chaos” past few years: there used to be a time when a 6.0 earth quake
our planet and dynamics in our democracies and among tribal
on the Richter scale was perceived as violent, but these days a
peoples? An interesting side-step, but what is certain, is the
9.0 is no exception any more, a thousand times more powerful
fact that the world as we know it is being turned upside down.
than that 6.0 of old. I can’t help, being an astronomers’ son,
We see a shift towards the South-East, and that brings with it
to wonder about the analogies and time scales with respect
a new dynamic in the distribution of power and prosperity.
to what we see happening in the physical world and let’s call it the existential world at large. Is it because we have faster
Raised on microchips: on scope, choice and hope
means of communications that there seem to be more earth
Humanity is like a ship adrift on the sea of entropy. The
quakes than before, or is it factually the case that they occur
paradox of our age is, as we saw before, that the masses have
more frequently? Because it appears to me there has been
the power, but they aren’t capable of controlling anything.
more dynamic tectonics lately, more volcanic activity. Might
I for one do not believe in the idea of the wisdom of the
there be a correlation between solar flares, volcanic activity on
crowd. With this increase in chaos we see all around us,
there is an automatic call for leadership, both on countries
the capitol of Zimbabwe, Harare, but I could just as easily have
and individuals to guide us towards the light so to speak.
said Tanzania, Chad, Kenya, Libya or Cameroon. Because next
The leaders we have seen emerging lately, seem to be ever
to China and India, Africa is a fast-rising region. It may look
younger. Look at US president Obama, or our own prime-
pretty messy in Northern Africa at the moment, and it is, but
minister Mark Rutte. Obama is from August 1961, Rutte was
above all thereâ€™s hope. Ever more hope for ever more people.
born in February 1967. I wonder if Rutte is old enough to have
What all this boils down to is that we are witnessing one giant
used a slide rule in high school. If so, then it is the generation
sinus wave along which humanity is developing, with all the
after him that has purely been raised on microchips. It might
fallbacks and leaps forwards, and steps back again that is
seem like a triviality, but there is a significant difference
inherent to this process. We still have a long way to go, but
between the times we just had the analog record player and
the trend is that for all of us there are ever more possibilities. 31
the era of the digital MP3 player. The one isnâ€™t worse than the
And eventually we will learn to put that to work for us, instead
other, just different.
of fighting or belittling it. There is a huge responsibility for us
I see this development as a widening of our scope, a
all in there and more importantly: hope!
Panavision view of the world, of life. Where life used to be exposed to so much information, like the difference between
Riding the wave: making the most of going with the flow
watching an old fashioned tiny TV screen and one of these
Throughout history, the Dutch have always been strong in
modern wall covering wide screen flat panel displays.
looking at the functional side of turmoil in the world: which
The art is to make your choice wisely. That is the responsibility
transactions can we still be doing with each other no matter
that comes with seeing it all: this responsibility has always
what. That requires a sense of neutrality, or better: of bridge
been ours, but now there is so much more scope to deal with. If
building, uniting opposites. In this respect, the Chinese are
you know where in the world things are really happening, itâ€™s
similar: they have never been aggressors in a war, although
up to you whether or not you get on a plane to, say, Shanghai,
they have defended themselves against the North Koreans
Bombay or Harare. Ticket prices certainly are no limiting
and the Japanese. Sun Tzu, the mysterious Chinese warrior-
factor anymore. In addition to China and India, I mentioned
philosopher who compiled his Art of War more than two
pretty uncomplicated, coherent and transparent, we are now
‘THE DELUGE’ Gustave Doré
“The worst is yet to come”
thousand years ago and united warring provinces, said that
it but be perceptive and learn from the experience. That is
winning without fighting is best. The Chinese, like the Dutch,
exactly what smart companies are doing in order to safeguard
are very pragmatic tradesmen: if you want to be trading with
continuity. Look at Unilever for instance. They are moving
folks around you, even after a conflict, you want to make sure
with the wind, not fighting it but gently bending along. Not
not to crush them, not to cause eternal feelings of revenge.
only have they reduced the complexity of their organization
In my opinion it is exactly in this practical mentality that
and business, but they are also in the forefront of a topical
mankind’s hope for the future lies. Namely that there is always
discussion and development, the idea of sustainability. Don’t
a lot more, no matter what our differences are, that can be
forget that the CEO of Unilever, Paul Polman, is responsible
exchanged between us. This exchange goes beyond selling
for between 150,000 and 200,000 employees world-wide,
and buying boxes of rice, cars or whatever. The main trade
plus another 3 to 4 million in the periphery that depend on 33
throughout history has been the exchange of ideas, values,
Unilever as well. So he really can’t afford to make mistakes. He
culture, art, not unlike the law of communicating vessels
can only manage his system by keeping it simple, promoting
in physics. And, regardless of the inevitable growing pains
a pure and single corporate message, and the way to stay
that nations, governments, peoples, continents, cultures
profitable is selling sustainable, socially and environmentally
and economies go through in the process, that development
responsible product lines. If Unilever doesn’t move with the
has slowly been moving in the right direction. The world is
wind, if it doesn’t comply with the public call for fair-trade
searching for a new balance, or imbalance. It always has, and
standards and practices, it will go bankrupt. Not-moving
always will be. In our era this process involves more parties
is a form of corporate veganism. It won’t work in the long
than ever before, all wanting to participate, have their say and
run. One of the things Polman did is establish the Marine
claim their piece of the pie. Keeping Sun Tzu in mind, and not
Stewardship Council, promoting sustainable fishing and
totally giving up our defenses, this is a time where we should
ditto consumption of fish. Today this benchmark isn’t 100%
be inviting others in, not being xenophobic and shunning
sustainable, because no company in the world at this moment
those who are different, whether they dress different, talk
in time would be able to meet 100% sustainable criteria. If
different or have different values. Be as flexible as bamboo
those standards were imposed, a lot of companies would have
and move with the wind, wherever it bends us, don’t fight
to close their doors and millions of families would be without
work, income and nourishment. But the MSC is a start, a first
the containment of those power plants, the norms we apply
step towards 100% compliance in the near future. Today it’s
when designing and constructing new ones and monitoring
60%, next year 65%, and so on, increasing the benchmark
the specifications of the ones we built yesterday: are the walls
on a viable basis. Call it a balancing act between economic
around them thick and high enough for today’s tsunamis and
survival and preserving the planet’s resources in such a way
9.0 earthquakes, are we building them in smart locations, et
we will be able to profit from it for many generations to come.
cetera. That we can do today and implement tomorrow. The
Adding more imbalance to the global system wouldn’t be
problem is that the background noise of wonderful sounding
very smart, nor sustainably clever. This type of market self-
one-liners drowns out the good and workable ideas. That is a
regulation in the food chain is an absolute prerequisite if
tragedy on one hand, on the other it calls for more responsible
34 you don’t want to end up in the situation you’re going to be
strategies, involving those directly involved, not bypassing
needing four planets in order to feed just the one we live on.
them and better communications of progress and results.
This mechanism of self-cleansing and self-regulation has until now unfortunately not taken as strong a hold in our financial
A question of resources
sector. You would imagine banks and insurers to sit down and
What we’ll see happening the next 10 years is the flight that
make self-regulation happen. Simple. Yet, even today, when
technology will take on a grand scale, and it’s influence on the
we are still in the midst of an epic economic crisis, we don’t
human condition, even more than it already has. Technology
see that happening. Granted, we can’t implement all the ideas
has always driven our economies and human development,
and self-regulatory mechanisms today, just like you can’t just
call that progress. I wonder when we are going to go from
switch off all nuclear power plants all at once today. Even in
a largely carbohydrate driven economy to solar. The Gobi,
the face of the Fukushima catastrophe (even though Germany
Kalahari and Sahara desserts filled with mirrors. Who will
seems to be making an effort in that direction). Nice idea,
have the power then, no pun intended. Hand in hand with
but it won’t work. ‘Stop this or that now! 100% compliance
technology goes the availability of our planet’s resources,
today!’ Wonderful sounding one-liners, and we will hear more
raw materials. We will come to realize that we have even less
of them. But there is no clear-cut case to stop with nuclear
resources than we thought. And we haven’t really thought
power just because of Fukushima. Instead we need to look at
through what the impact will be. Just imagine that oil is going
to get even more expensive. Or that grain, rice or corn will
we should allow ourselves to be guided by the realization that
quintuple in price. That will directly influence the availability
there is light at the end of the tunnel. We just need to organize
of food stuffs: who is going to then be able to afford them.
things in such a way that we’ll be able to get there. We need
A question of survival that will undoubtedly lead to revolts
to overcome our fears and empower ourselves to open up our
in the streets. Not long ago our own deputy Secretary of the
thinking in new directions. After all the power is with us, we
Treasury Weekers proposed upping our VAT on food stuffs
are all part of the masses, like it or not. We have to act on that
from 6 to 19 percent. Just imagine what that means. Milk
will become almost 15% more expensive. Simply out of the question. You wonder who and how they came up with it. There
The metaphor of the craftsman carpenter
will always be a category of people who won’t be bothered by
We all have the responsibility to show an interest. We have 35
such a rise, the few who can afford it. But Joe Average, the
the responsibility to empower the people around us, from
masses, those who have the power these days, will feel it in
whatever role or context we see the world. Organizations,
their pocket books. The mere proposal to increase VAT causes
corporations, (ultimately the people that lead them) must
even more unrest and less trust. The negative impact of all
possess the agility to offer their people the tools to become
these changes leads to increased feelings of insecurity, more
stronger, to enable them to acquire the information such that
fear, and more, let’s call it smallness. There will be more fear
they can make well-informed choices. That’s all we can do, the
and insecurity. And what we need to feel is trust. In ourselves
rest is up to individuals themselves, we can’t regulate that.
to begin with, next in the people around you, then in the
One of the most important things I ask my people is when
system you’re in, and your geographical demographic region,
they last had a meaningful conversation or asked someone
and last but not least, the world. If we can’t experience this
a personal question. I don’t care whether that question
feeling of trust, we won’t wax as a people, grow, excel. This
pertained to their spouses, their friends or was posed in a
is the biggest opponent of hope: fear represents the darkness,
professional setting. When was the last time you told your
and what we will see in the near future is more darkness as
partner that you loved them, or asked them if they still
well. The only thing I know is that for the near future it is all
loved you. Whoever or whatever, what it boils down to is the
going to get worse than it already is, but what’s more is that
attention you pay to your surroundings, your environment.
I don’t believe in gurus. I am convinced we all have an internal
They have a genuine interest in others, and help others be and
guru. I am not prone or connected to any religious conviction,
develop themselves. But they will not give up their identity
but I do believe in people. And our hope lies in each other.
or authenticity for the sake of a quick deal. That authenticity
Because in this big old world there is only one place left we
is the essence of craftsmanship, and that is precisely what is
can gravitate towards and that is towards the other person.
going to make a big comeback: specialists versus generalists.
In order to do so we have to shift from having to being. We
To illustrate what I mean I always tell people the metaphor of
have no other choice, because being is in the interest of all of
the craftsman carpenter who makes wonderful products. Now,
us, while having is going to divide even more and create the
he had so many customers that he brought in someone to do
imbalances our world does not need. Giving is going to prove to
the sales and management. The irony is that the carpenter
36 be more important than taking. That sounds almost esoteric,
in the end gets fired himself, because management decided
but that is not at all where I am coming from. True change is
to cut back on costs, namely carpenters. Those days are over.
promoted not by individual material gains, but by enabling others to succeed. Giving is also posing the right questions,
Connect and rule: smaller is better
fed by being able to observe well. Next you have to scope your
The motto for the future is ‘connect’. Not just in the
questions so that the other, the receiver, can accept your gift.
ecological, sociological, the cultural and other vital realms
That requires compassion, patience and authentic giving. The
of human life. Also as a company, if you want to survive,
leaders of tomorrow will be able to do just that. In addition
remaining competitive requires connecting with the world
we will be moving away from the dominance of MBA’s to
around you. Connecting what you do with why you are doing
women and men who can offer real content and quality: can
it for example. If you can explain that to yourself and those
you yourself practice what you preach. You don’t have to
around you, you will be perceived as authentic and thus have
be obedient to the big stick anymore, you just need to have
credibility. In order to do this, you must have a view of what
substance, and be able to put your money where your mouth
your stakeholders require of you and based on that view, do
is, deliver the goods. Identity and authenticity. Triodos Bank is
just that and no more. The outcome is higher satisfaction rates
a good example: they are genuine in themselves, true to their
and better results and therefore on an organizational level
own principles and identity. They practice what they preach.
more self trust, confidence and ability to prosper. Of course
“It’s a nefarious world” there will always be a massive crowd that goes for lowest price.
common ground, based on mutual norms and values, and live 37
If you want that market, make sure you are flexible enough to
and do business with each other based on these. That is going
switch to a minimum required level of operational excellence,
to be our greatest challenge. And that is where we have room
to put it in one of the three value disciplines as defined by
to maneuver towards each other, and connect. Just look at
Treacy and Wiersema. That doesn’t mean however that you
what we have already achieved today. Today, more is possible
can afford to ignore the other two disciplines, customer
than yesterday. And tomorrow even more will be possible
intimacy and product leadership. You’ll need to maintain a
than today. The pace of change will increase as we go along.
minimum level in each of the three, excel in one of them and
Who knows exactly where this trip will take us. But jump on,
then match your business model accordingly. That brings us
take responsibility, contribute to change, feel it, be aware of
to the matter of complexity again. We used to be able to afford
it, adapt to it, help others succeed in it. Don’t get frustrated,
complexity, however those days are gone. These days choosing
stay curious, have faith in a positive outcome, ask effective
wisely is key, be good at just a few things, and leave the rest to
questions, and refuse to become cynical at the end of the day.
those who are better at that than you. This requires a degree
Disappointed in things that didn’t quite work out as you had
of self knowledge – on the personal, the organizational and
hoped, OK, but not cynical. There’s always time later, to be
even country level – that cannot be taken for granted. The big
cynical, if that’s your choice. Let’s enjoy our joint ride into the
question remains: are we going to be able to find and share
future, it is after all the only future we have.
Drs. Jan Post, former CEO Philips Electronics Netherlands, CEO Red Cross Netherlands, Chairman of the Amsterdam Chamber of Commerce, and more Academics Degree in economics 1972 Art history 2005 Date of birth November 7th, 1944 (Market Garden baby) Place of birth Almelo, The Netherlands Life motto Follow the path that fascinates you, 38 do the things youâ€™re good at, and your life, you, will turn out the way it was meant to be Name
Have you become who or what you wanted to be? Absolutely, yes! Life changing experience Operation Centurion at Philips, begun under president and chairman of the board Jan Timmer in 1990, attempting to reconcile the various corporate cultures within Philips, boiling down to the divide between traditional Dutch technological pride and Anglo-American marketing strategies.
FROM OVERSIZED WHALE TO AN AGILE SCHOOL OF DOLPHINS Let’s turn the pyramids upside down Jan Post was nine years old when he first made a deal: he sold his toys. He was determined to get into the world of international business. He did that, and more. Post left Philips after a successful career at the age of 55, as he states “because of fundamental differences of opinion” with Jan Timmer’s successor at the Philips helm, Cor Boonstra. Post: “My leaving was seen as
quite a step in those days within Philips. But it was the best decision I ever made.” The first thing he did was take a sabbatical year during which he took a degree in art history. Next he was asked to join several boards of advisors for international and national organizations, did a lot of jogging and thinking, resulting in the decision to follow his heart. “Creativity lies at the heart of everything. And what I saw in corporate land around me, was the opposite, 40
flavored with narrow-mindedness.” After having served five years as chairman of the Dutch Red Cross he was appointed knowledge ambassador for the UvA, the University of Amsterdam. His ambition is to continue working until he is 80. “I have only just begun.”
Let’s hear what Jan Post has to say about the near future, leadership, change, the need for crises, and Venice.
It all starts with self-analysis
9: that says enough, doesn’t it? So my advice to everybody
I always say, tongue in cheek, that I started out as an
is, do some archeology into who and what you were when
Amsterdam economist and ended up as a psychologist at
you were 9. Ask your parents, friends, brothers and sisters.
Philips. What I mean by that is that I have coached, assessed,
Analyze yourself: what made that little girl or boy tick? What
hired and fired people all my life. And the secret to successful
were you good at, what made you laugh, got you excited. In
management is helping people to find out what really
addition, say you’re now around 40, write down for yourself
drives them, where their passion lies, and do what they find
what has truly been important to you, what was really exciting
important, worthwhile, to pursue what they are good at. It’s
and worthwhile, what did you really love to do these past 10
as simple as that, although not necessarily easy to realize.
years, both professionally and in your private life. I’ll bet you
With the risk of sounding almost esoteric, but if you stay close
you’ll see what your path, your line is, and whether you’ve 41
to your own essence, true to yourself, and follow your path,
deviated from it, or maybe not, and if so, by how much you’ve
then you’ll not only feel great, but you won’t tire easily and
drifted. Then make the choices to get back on track, and once
you’ll be a joy for others to work with.
more turn into who you were meant to be. That’s how I have always lived my life.
I see it all the time: men and women who, for some reason or other, be it expectations from people around them or just
Operation Centurion: an eye-opener
simply not being in touch with who they really are, have
The event that changed my perception, my outlook on life,
deviated from their own line as I call it. My immediate reflex
both in a personal and in a business context, was the entire
is to help them guide themselves back to that line, whatever it
Centurion period at Philips. Philips was going through a rough
may be. And that line has been engrained, determined, when
period, to put it mildly. We are talking about the 1980’s. At
we were kids. At the age of around 9, a child shows its true
Philips the accepted general corporate conviction was that
colors, its authentic, spontaneous face. At age 10 most of us
our poor results were caused solely by outside factors: the
already begin to cheat a little bit, to fabricate and confabulate,
Japanese were dumping their products and manipulating
because we find out that that makes our lives just that bit
the yen, the Koreans and Taiwanese behave badly and were
easier in certain circumstances. Me, I sold my toys when I was
dumping as well, and the Europeans refused to integrate into
a federation. In short, it was just our bad luck that we were based in that strange neck of the woods, Europe, a victim of third parties. The world was at fault, not us. Ten years later Philips was at the brink of bankruptcy. We were staring into a grim and dark abyss.
“The Einstein Generation is going to make the difference”
A lot has been said and written about this period, so I won’t go into distracting details, but the circumstances were such that Jan Timmer took over at the helm as president and CEO of Philips in September of 1991. At the time I was in charge of Philips Spain. Timmer had great respect and admiration for the way Jack Welch had led GE. The first thing that Timmer did was to call the top-80 from the entire world to our headquarters in Eindhoven. Timmer kicked off that meeting stating that all those stories about the world outside Philips being the cause of our misery were bullshit. I only have one problem, he said pointing at us, and that’s you. There was a deadly silence in the room. He continued and said that he had great concerns about the state of Philips. He told us that we personified the bankruptcy of Philips. Then he sent us out of the room, for a smoke and a coffee, and told us to be back in half an hour. The main theme among the 80 during those 30 minutes was who was going to survive this session until the lunch break, and who wouldn’t. When we returned, Timmer continued. ‘You are the only problem. Your mindset is completely
wrong. You’re too occupied with yourselves, your bosses,
the competition. If we didn’t change our ways, our policies,
your families, kids and wives and what have you, but you’re
procedures, products, perception, we were going to go down
just not involved with your clients, your suppliers, least off
the drain. As simple as that. So we turned around, and the
all with the competition. You just sit there and meanwhile
rest is history.
this great company is going bust. You’re a bunch of losers.’ and bred a Philips man. He had made Polygram, the audio
A recipe for change: what the world needs is more crises
unit, a major player. After his period at Polygram in London,
Many organizations, even today, are suffering from that same
he returned to Eindhoven, became head of audio-video-TV
mindset problem. What went for Philips in the 1980’s still
and served as a member of the board for three years before
goes for 70% of the companies and organizations I encounter. 43
becoming president. During his reign, Philips developed and
When I was asked to lead the Red Cross in May 2000, I saw the
launched the CD. That’s how big Jan Timmer was. And then
old Philips. And because my colleagues at Philips and I had
he saw how Philips as a whole, the Philips that was his pride
gone through the turn-around Centurion operation, I knew
in life, how big and fat and overweight, tired, proud, smug,
exactly what to do to change the Red Cross mindset. Before
complacent and self-satisfied it had become, as it was steadily
I came they were standing with their backs to their audience
sinking away. The contrast with how successful he had left
so to speak, not in touch and tune with their volunteers, nor
Polygram behind couldn’t be bigger. So when he was elected
the public. I got to work straight away: what are the other
to lead Philips, he knew what to do to within 24 hours. He
charity organizations doing, what are the needs and wishes
told us our mindset was completely wrong. We were suffering
of our volunteers, of the people who donate their money. But
from a collective mindset problem. We were looking at the
change is difficult. People don’t want to change. Change can be
wrong things. Looking towards our bosses, paying attention
painful, is uncertain: you know what you have, but you have
to co-workers, investing in being liked by your colleagues and
no idea what you’re going to get in its place. So, more often
accepted by your bosses. That’s how we were raised of course.
than not the first reflex to change is ‘no, thank you.’ Until
But Jan Timmer taught us how to look, what to look for,
there either is a crisis or you have created one. If you manage
where to look. Outside! At our customers, the market place,
to trigger people’s survival instinct, you’re in business. Once
It was so embarrassing. Don’t forget that Timmer was born
they understand their future, their livelihood is at stake, they
The Einstein generation: dolphins on the move
will go into survival mode, knowing it is do or die: falling
My hope for the future is vested in what is known as the
into the abyss or climbing the mountain, the choice is yours.
Einstein generation: youngsters born after 1985, who have
Then, as a leader, you have to seize the opportunity and the
been brought up in an ever more digital world. The Internet,
moment. Gather all your people in a room, visualize the crisis
social media and information devices such as tablet PC’s and
on a drawing board or beam the information onto a screen,
smartphones are like an extension of their beings. They are
interpret things in such a way that people will think ‘my God,
completely different not only from my generation, but from
indeed: if we don’t do something, if we don’t change, we’ll be
every generation before them. They are a fascinating bunch,
going down the drain’. And if, in addition, you can explain to
creative, multidisciplinary, rather than merely linear and
44 your audience that if they step up to the plate, if they change
rational thinkers. Already in high school they found their way
their mindsets and help bring the turn-around about, that
around on the digital highway: what’s for sale, so to speak,
they will keep their jobs, better still, that they can count on
which connections can I make, where are things to be found,
that, then they’ll applaud you! That’s precisely what I did at
answers, combinations. They know they can find and get the
the Red Cross. It was Centurion revisited: I had to convince
information and knowledge they require from anywhere in
a skeptical crowd that we were on the wrong track. Then
the world, at a price of course. Another thing I find intriguing
explained to them that things would get worse if we didn’t
about the Einsteiners is that they have done away with all the
change our policies. Next I showed them what had to be done
formal bullshit that marks my generation for instance, and
to turn things around, and added that they would all get a
yet they have been educated just as well. Instead, they have a
better deal if everyone came along on this new journey. That’s
pleasant informal demeanor, the way they dress, are at ease
something you always have to get clearly across to Dutch
with themselves. No stiffness or anachronistic mannerisms.
employees, that there’s something in it for them. So go create
Different kettle of fish altogether. In pursuit of their dreams,
a crisis, or find one, if you want change. And assure you are
they go straight from A to B and connect with everyone who
able to explain things well, show without a shadow of a doubt
is on a similar path. They want what’s best for themselves
that you know how to fix things, then you’ll have credibility
ánd for those around them, their environment. Don’t expect
and authority as a leader, and people will follow you.
them to accept the fact they would have to wait three years
for their next promotion, having to let their bosses go first all
layer consists of the higher management, then middle
the time, as a manner of speaking. The last thing they want
management, lower management, the workforce, and last
is to be trapped in a triangular corporate structure: they want
and unfortunately most often least of all, the market or the
to be in control. Fascinating! What I tell the master students
customers. The picture is clear: the people at the top who are
of today is to join the world’s big, sluggish, old fashioned
doing all the thinking and decision making have no clue as
enterprises, and work from the inside to turn them from
to what the true needs of their workers and clients are, and
oversized whales into agile schools of dolphins. You are the
the customer comes last. That corporate model is a dinosaur,
young dolphins. Go make existing businesses way more
it belongs to yesteryear. The successful companies of today
flexible and agile. Turn the corporate pyramids of old upside
and tomorrow have turned their pyramids upside down,
down. The big corporations need these dolphins, just as much
however. Managers need to get onto the work floor, visit their 45
as the dolphins need to swim with that big old whale. If, as a
suppliers and customers, and allow the creativity, motivation
young dolphin, you get the opportunity to learn the ropes at a
and input from them to drive their business decisions. Even
Philips, Shell, Unilever, Ahold, PwC, you name it, and operate
if a company is still making a profit, that pyramid needs to
under their banner, then doors will be opened to you that
be turned upside down. If that doesn’t cause a crisis in itself,
normally stay closed. So that’s a win-win situation for both
smart management will create one to get the blood flowing
the whale and the dolphins.
and invite in change for the better. You could, of course, wait until external factors force you to turn things upside down,
Turning the pyramids upside down
but it is more efficient, intelligent and profitable to instigate
If you take a look at the traditional corporate structure, still
the process yourself.
implemented in 70% of companies today, you’d see that it has the shape of a pyramid as we know it: with the top pointing up.
There are several varieties and variations, depending on things
The only four tasks that the top of the pyramid should be
such as company size and whether you include shareholders
engaged in are projecting a vision, then creating policies
as a layer, but the general idea is always the same.
and road-maps, thirdly building the organization that will
At the top we find the president or chairman, the next
enable your goals, and lastly you should have a strong system
of checks, controls and corporate governance. If the top
leaders. Lately I have been in touch with top swimmer Pieter
management listens, enables, facilitates and supports all the
van den Hoogenband, the multiple Olympic gold medalist.
layers below, that is serving leadership. As far as all the rest is
Pieter is in his early thirties. Fascinating guy. On TV he always
concerned: the layers below you know far better what needs
comes across as this happy-go-lucky laid-back fellow. And he
to be done than you do, so let them do it! Let the pyramid with
is, but he is also a true natural leader, a man with a dream, a
the bottom on top do its magic. The only time you reverse the
vision, a clarity of mind, and this winner’s determination as a
pyramid back to the base at the bottom and the pointy bit up,
mindset. That leadership maybe sounds like a contradiction,
is the four times a year when you get on the stage to evaluate
because he does an individual sport, swimming. But what the
results and point the way forward. The people in the room
TV audience doesn’t see is the entire team he has built around
46 won’t be completely surprised by what you’re saying because
him. He has organized his own multinational structure,
they have had their input throughout the year, management
enabling him to perform at the highest level. Every tenth of
has been listening carefully, you’ve held workshop sessions
a second he’s got on his competition is the result of years
and listening sessions with the entire family, to put it that
of team effort: just like a manager of an enterprise he has
way. So what they are hearing is their story. That’s how
daily meetings with his physio, his trainer, his dietician, his
modern and strong management works.
mental coach, his planner, you name it. A lot of what Pieter does, apart from training like a devil, is communicate with his
Leadership, sports and business: a sidestep
team, gathering the information he needs to make executive
A natural leader is smart, intelligent, has got experience,
decisions: in the end it’s Pieter who says “O.K., guys, shall we
knows his way around, isn’t a spring chicken. He never claims
go that way?” We’ll be seeing a lot of Pieter in the comming
his authority, but has earned it, by setting an example in what
years as he brings together the worlds of top sport and
he does and what he says. A thing you will always see a natural
business. That’s what he’ll be doing, cross-fertilizing these
serving leader do is saying “O.K., guys, shall we do it this way?”
two worlds, the one inspiring the other. How do you organize
And because he has earned authority and respect, people will
your team, how do you measure your results, how can you do
follow him, and say “Sure!” Just because most leaders are a bit
things even better?
older, by the way, doesn’t mean there aren’t any good young
I met Eelco Blok a while ago, top sailor and now CEO of KPN.
His nickname is Mister Operational Excellence. He also draws
about mind set. “We’re still popular, still making a profit”,
the parallel between top sport and top management. Eight
you can hear the mayor say it already. But just take a look
out of ten issues are the same, he says. The only difference
at what other cities are doing, Shanghai, Bilbao, Dublin: we
is that in top sports you are instantaneously judged by the
desperately need to change if we still want to be successful
result you set at the moment, during the game or race,
in the future. Amsterdam must modernize at a much higher
whether it be football, soccer, hockey or swimming. The
rate than is the case now so that academic and business top-
result is immediately visible in a split-second, while in top
talents won’t go to London but come here because it’s more
management it may sometimes take two years before it
affordable, more fun, ‘gezelliger’, and just as professional.
becomes clear that your decision 24 months ago might maybe
My foreign students all tell me that this is truly the only free
possibly not have been the ultimate way to go.
place in the entire world. You may get a ticket if you’re biking 47
But don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying that we should
around at night without proper lighting, but at the same time
make all top athletes presidents of the major corporations
everything is possible here.
in the world, whether we’re talking about Pieter, Ruud van
Just don’t break the law, but nobody is going to give you a
Nistelrooy or Johan Cruyff. And you wouldn’t want the Jack
strange look if you’re different. And young people from
Welches and Jan Timmers of this world to start competing in
all over the world just love this ultimate sense of freedom.
the Olympics either. They are ultimately completely different
Actually, freedom is our core product. It’s just a shame that
ballgames so to speak.
we, the Dutch, don’t realize that enough.
Just another Venice
I hope Amsterdam is going to get the huge crisis it deserves
I said it before: I wish our capital Amsterdam, the entire
that will help turn it into a truly modern and young avant-
country, all of Europe actually, to go through an Operation
guard top town. Imagine it: mayor Van der Laan inviting the
Centurion. Let’s stick to Amsterdam. The problem is that
top 80 key stakeholders in the city, big hotel owners, tourist
Amsterdam doesn’t realize it has to change: it is one of the
bosses, deans of the universities: all those who together make
most popular cities in the world, millions flock to visit the
the city of Amsterdam as it were. And Van der Laan should
canals, the museums, the nightlife every year. Again, it’s all
show them how Amsterdam has steadily been dropping on all
“There’s no such thing as a useless crisis”
kinds of lists, getting poorer grades every year. He should say to the 80: “If we continue like this, in 10 years from now we’d be just another Venice. And being another Venice alone isn’t going to keep the city and the country afloat. Amsterdam is a major contributor to the success of our country. If we want to stay successful, we need to become a major financial center, a formidable focal point for ICT, excelling in services, with a creative industry that will blow you away.” Amsterdam has so much to offer, yet I am holding my breath here: Eindhoven is currently going at three times the speed of Amsterdam. They weren’t voted the world’s number one smart city this year for nothing. The area around Eindhoven, Eindhoven Brainport, is a hustle and bustle of entrepreneurial, R&D and technological activities. And they’ve all interconnected, have made joint strategic plans for the future. That is the direct result of Philips staring into the abyss all those years ago. It woke up the entire greater Eindhoven area. Suppliers and what-not of Philips made a pact to never allow it to get that far again. ASML, one of the most successful companies in the country, was born out of that pact. They all profited from Centurion. And now it’s time to do the same for The Netherlands as a whole.
The future: The Netherlands as one big city My dream for the future is to connect the cities of Amsterdam
and Eindhoven, to make them communicate with each other
we have to offer efficiently, by visiting the decisive suburbs
far more than is the case now, for they really are extremely
of Netherville. And vice-versa: we still have councilors from
complementary. They need each other.
every town and municipality in the country visiting the Chinese separately. The Chinese can’t make sense of that at
We should create a big scale north-south axis, a cutting
all! It is still going on as we speak, because councilor X of
edge culturally, economically, educationally, and creatively.
town A has nothing to do with town B, politically speaking. So
Ultimately the entire Netherlands must become one big
there you go. Wrong mindset, old pyramids! The Netherlands
city: Netherville. A huge delta-city. One of the suburbs of
needs to go outside more and listen to what these other cities,
Netherville will be the luscious and green hi-tech borough
governments and countries can teach us. Become way more
of greater Eindhoven and southern Brabant. That area will
client-oriented. But we have been brought up to listen to our 49
meld together with Leuven and Aachen into one big valley,
parents, the teacher, the Pope, the minister. People know
close to Paris, Antwerp and Dusseldorf. The infrastructure to
everything about their bosses and colleagues, yet they have
realize this is already there and being improved. Soon there’ll
no clue about everything below that. Let alone that they have
be trains connecting Eindhoven with Amsterdam every 10
any inkling whatsoever when it comes to customers and
minutes, virtually ongoing communications. Amsterdam will
suppliers. It is simply embarrassing.
constitute the financial, artistic, creative, ICT, advertising and design downtown area of Netherville. And the phenomenal
On the road to 2022, the three engines of our country, the
world-class port of Rotterdam will serve as its logistics district.
mainports Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Eindhoven, need
I foresee that in the next 10 years we as a country will have
to get together more and do business together. They aren’t
reinvented ourselves into a city-state, and we will be selling
in competition with each other. Sure you still have Ajax,
that ‘city’ based on the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Eindhoven
Feyenoord and PSV as symbols for the three cities. But that
program to other countries. Take the Chinese, the Indians,
is old thinking: the true competition is Barcelona, Real
Brazilians or Americans: in the future they’ll be ‘doing’ our
Madrid, Manchester United. So in time let’s also merge Ajax,
city-state country in just three days: a day in Amsterdam, one
Feyenoord and PSV into one team: FC Netherlands. Now that
in Eindhoven and one in Rotterdam. That way they’ll see all
would be genuinely visionary!
Ferdinand (Ferry) Rondeel Academics High school, followed by teaching degrees in French language and Economics in French Date of birth August 15th, 1947 Place of birth Eindhoven, The Netherlands Life motto Contemplate rather than participate. Life is better dreamed than lived: carpe diem Name
50 Have you become who or what you wanted to be? I never wanted to become anything in particular, so I think I have at least succeeded at that. Life changing experience Reading Proust. Source(s) of inspiration Might sound like a platitude, Proustâ€™s Ă€ la recherche du temps perdu.
THE UNBEARABLE EMPTINESS OF OUR TIMES Culture clash: Rhineland tradition meets Anglo-American ways head-on Ferry Rondeel came to Philips in 1965 as a young man. He soon joined the regional management team of the then Philips X-Ray department. Next he was asked to join Philips in Paris. When he returned after 4 years, he was 28 years old and felt he needed a change. While working his day
job at Philips, he went to night school, resulting in a teaching degree in economics. For the next 12 years he would teach at an evening college, never quitting the day time job. Ferry Rondeel is a peopleâ€™s person, which eventually got him involved in the social aspects of management until his recent retirement. He doesnâ€™t miss his job even for a second, he says. He does have great concerns, however, about what is to become of Royal Philips Electronics now that with his 52
departure, his position as social mediator, personal coach and people manager will no longer exist. Ferry Rondeel sees this as the writing on the wall of the modern business world: in the end, enterprises are actually more interested in cutting costs, most efficient production, market share and profit margins than looking after their most valuable asset: their employees who make doing business possible to begin with. Letâ€™s hear what Rondeel has to say about the future of the changing organization and the world it is an integral part of.
The importance of anchor points in an over-heated world
two, namely lighting and health care. Two divisions that make
What I like about life is the fact that on the one hand, mankind
them, will be nothing but huge trading houses, that have their
has shown to have an irrepressible disposition to screw things
goods produced elsewhere, and maybe have big labeling plants
up, and on the other hand he always finds ways to fix things.
in their countries of origin that brand these products to look
Tomorrow something new will spring from yesterday’s
like their own. This major shift and the changes it brings along
mistakes, driven by man’s seemingly limitless resourcefulness
with it, lies at the heart of the disruption of the labor relations
and capacity to adapt to changing circumstances. Having
between employers and employees. It is a break with the past,
said this, the entire concept of the necessity to change is the
and a change for the worse as far as I’m concerned. Even
result of a chimera. Let me elaborate on that. The thing in
though, to a certain degree, I understand those companies: 53
our modern times is that everybody seems to be following
they feel they have to move with the dynamic of our days. But if
everyone else: jumping on the band wagon without knowing
you take a step back and look at what’s happening, you see one
what they’re getting into to begin with. The business world I
big wave of changes: this hasn’t been changed yet or the next
see is a world in commotion, confusion, increasingly focusing
thing is already underway to be changed. All we hear these
on reducing in-house activities, on increased outsourcing,
days is change, change, change. But if you want changes to take
selling off divisions, moving production to low wage countries.
root, to get embedded in the culture of your organization, you
That sort of dynamic. I recall a conversation I once was party
need anchor points, points of rest, enabling the work force to
to, between one of Philips’ main directors and a major player in
get used to their new circumstances. And sadly, those anchor
Eindhoven. The latter said: “Listen, it’s a simple matter of just
points are few and far between. The market is very overheated.
how you restructure your organization: if only you reorganize
Too busy changing. And in the process employees lose their
effectively enough, there’s no reason why you couldn’t produce
bearings, can’t follow what’s going on anymore, resulting in
just as cost effective as anywhere else in the world.” Just
workers unhappy with the situation they’re in. Don’t forget
imagine that for a second. His statement has stayed with me
that people, human beings, are the basis, the life blood of every
ever since. He’s right. But just look at Philips today: they have
organization. So naturally you’d be wise to take good care of
gone from more than 10 divisions when I started out to a mere
them when they deserve it.
an entire multinational. In 2022, Philips and enterprises like
A recipe for trouble: dairy instead of pastis and wine
with stricter rules and regulations, and an even stronger
I never thought that I would see a culture shift like the one
But there’s more to running a business than numbers, profit
I have witnessed at Philips, and for Philips please read Any
margins and return on investment. You don’t just come
Other Big European Company that has gone through a similar
barging in, seriously thinking you can change a corporate
transition. Philips has existed for over a century now, and as
culture that has been bred and nurtured for over a century,
I said before, they have reduced their activities to two
let alone the sociological culture of an entire continent that
divisions, lighting and health care. I don’t want to go into
in its roots is thousands of years old. Culture means roots.
the strategic decisions that lead to the current situation, but
Roots mean identity. Identity is who you are and how you do
54 I remember management spending billions on take-overs of
things, live your life. Just imagine the rest of Europe telling
companies in the US while we had developed most of those
the French that from now on they could only drink dairy
purchased activities and used to have them in-house. The
products instead of pastis and wine. The catch is the huge
problem Philips has had throughout the years isn’t a lack of
difference in business culture and business model between
brains, excellent R&D, state-of-the-art know how, or top-notch
the two sides of the Atlantic Ocean. On the one hand, or coast,
people. Not at all, because all that is Philips. Their problem
we have the Anglo-American business model, and on the other
was a marketing problem, a corporate culture problem:
the Rhineland model. Top-down directives versus consensus.
they have never been able to market their products and
I am open to change for the better, and always pro-consensus,
intelligence well enough. So buying all these US companies
always. Within reason of course, but you need to sit down
that were doing what we had been doing in The Netherlands
and at least hear your people out. In Best, the new American
already, seems a bit like putting the cart before the horse.
management completely ignored existing habits, rules and
Anyway, Philips Health Care headquarters is in the United
regulations, whether written or unwritten. They failed to
States. They run the show. Philips’ Medical plant in Best,
take the time to inventory the customs, problems, lifestyle
these days ex-headquarters, has no influence on their day to
and the like from either side of the ocean and weld together
day business. In comes the American marketing, sales and
the best elements of both worlds. Instead they imposed their
corporate culture to make things better, more transparent,
foreign model and rites on the indigenous population. In any
focus on results. In itself there’s nothing wrong with that.
â€œEntering a process of change without having anchor points leads to restless stampedingâ€?
circumstance, such behavior is a sure recipe for an enormous
populace will be taking care of the welfare state. They will
culture clash. I am not clairvoyant, but I am willing to predict
be employed in health care, tourism and leisure, theme and
that there will no longer be a Philips Medical plant in Best by
amusement parks, resorts, catering and hospitality. It will be
the year 2022. Maybe in China or India. All that will be left
a society completely different from ours today. And there is no
somewhere in The Netherlands is probably something like a
turning back, because the dynamic is further, higher, faster.
technical competence center set-up like a campus.
If only the technology we have at our disposal were used for truly important and vital purposes, instead of for trivialities
A kind of Metropolis, but then different 56 The near future will see a dazzling increase in technological
such as smartphones and the like. The world we live in, and especially the world 2022 AD, will be out of control. Racing through the void, to put it in the words of Kundera.
efficiency, advances and automation, a tipping of the scales in
Now, you might call me a pessimist. But I always say that there
favor of artificial intelligence and hi-tech robotic production. A
is one big difference between an optimist and a pessimist: a
kind of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, but then different. At the same
pessimist is just better informed than an optimist.
time we will witness the formation of huge business dedicated Be it health care, lighting or computing. In addition, the next
Moving mountains: on leadership
generations of products will be vastly standardized: the days
There’s a saying that goes: “grass grows better if you water
that everyone had their own keyboard, keys, cables, chargers
it properly, rather than by pulling at the blades.” For me this
and what have you, are over. The next generations will have
symbolizes what I see all around me these days: weak managers.
all been raised in this new world, a world that is going to
Of course there are good managers too, but the weak variety
see tougher competition between job seekers because the
is on the rise. Staff members for whom their management
standards you have to meet will be higher and there will
tasks come in second place. They do management on the side
be fewer positions available. Only a happy few, the super-
so to speak, not realizing that leading and coaching people,
specialists and experts that companies will go to extreme
managing a department or division, is more often than not far
lengths to recruit will be making good money. The rest of the
more important than being an expert in your specific field, say
conglomerates, performing one specific activity to perfection.
finance or logistics. The success of a division, of a company,
managers, will determine whether you are successful or not,
relies on the workforce being lead, managed in a proper
especially in the future with the emphasis on efficiency and
way. Strict yet fair. If you offer your employees transparency
recruiting only the cream of the crop. If you want to keep
through strictness and fairness, mark my words, then you’ll
them happy and productive, you’d better manage them right.
be able to move mountains. Weak managers, members of
And you know what’s even sadder than the fact there are
staff with weak managerial skills, is the saddest thing. Most of
so many weak managers today, causing all kinds of friction
them have tumbled upwards into their leading positions, in
within companies? The fact that you don’t have to be a rocket
fact they don’t deserve to hold a managerial position, without
scientist to put a successful program in place that will prevent
the skills to lead. “He’s such a nice fellow, he’s done a good
80% of the trouble your weak managers help create.
job: let’s promote him to divisional manager.” Happens all
Here’s how. One. Set up general guidelines and standards 57
the time. Men and women without sufficient people skills,
that employees have to meet if they want to be eligible for
the knowledge of how to manage people, all of a sudden
a managerial position. Two. Have professionals assess your
being in charge. And that’s when the trouble begins. If only
managerial candidates, making sure to weigh in not just the
companies would invest in educating good managers, you
knowledge everyone can glean from a book, but especially
would not only get better corporate results because you’d
the softer aspects, the things you can’t learn, those skills you
have a happy workforce, but people from outside will want to
have to be born with: people skills. You can be sure that this
come work for you because of the professional climate. Plus
way you’ll eliminate most of the weaker types. Three. Once
you’ll have to spend less time and energy on your HRM staff
you have your good managers, allow them to gather good
and mediators to mop up after conflicts with workers caused
people around them, creating a balanced team. And four: give
by weak managers not being on the ball. I said it before: don’t
your managers the time and space they need to be just that,
forget that people, human beings, are the basis, the life blood
managers. Don’t force them into being part-time managers
of every organization So you’d better take good care of them.
on the side because you’ve restructured your organization on
Give them the leaders they deserve, the managers that help
the way to ever greater efficiency, leaving them hardly any
them flourish, get the best out of themselves and deliver top-
time to lead. The future and success of your company depends
performances for the company. Your workforce, led by skilled
Martin Pabon, former change manager at Corus Logistics & Transportation Academics TU Delft, MSc in mechanical engineering Date of birth March 31st, 1958 Place of birth The Hague, The Netherlands Life motto Draw back to leap further! Name
Have you become who or what you wanted to be? I’d like to become a fun grandfather, and I haven’t written a novel yet. 58 But I have a hunch it could all happen within the next year or two, or three. Life changing experience Can’t think of one single big moment after which everything was no longer the same. But there is Chris Argyris’ book (see below). I couldn’t put it down, and since reading it, I see everything in the world through double-loop glasses. And then the workshops in Boston I was fortunate enough to follow, with Chris and his buddies, experiencing that and how it really works. At the same time truly inspiring and life changing in a sense. Source(s) of inspiration First of all three books, by now classics: - Chris Argyris - Overcoming Organizational Defenses - E.M. Goldratt - The Goal - Peter Scott - Morgan: The Unwritten Rules of the Game And the period at Corus that I worked together with Rotanova on transforming the organization, in hindsight the most inspiring time of my career. Searching for and balancing on the borders and limitations of the existing organization and its culture, while at the same time creating movement through stretching those borders and limitations. Working with Rotanova meant fun as well as personal and organizational growth.
JUMPING OVER YOUR OWN SHADOW 59
On the gap between management and the shop floor, and more Martin Pabon joined COVRA (the Central Organization For Radioactive Waste) in 1985 as a fresh alumnus from TU Delft with a master of science in mechanical engineering. He participated in the design team to develop the storage facility for highly radioactive nuclear waste. Then, in 1987, in search for a somewhat more dynamic working environment, he joined Corus, then
Hoogovens IJmuiden. After a few years in the ICT department, he discovered that his strengths and interests were more in the engineering of the human side of the corporate process than in actually engineering nuts and bolts. Let’s hear what Pabon has to say about working with Rotanova and the changing organization (or does it really?). 60 In the beginning was a triple-click
At Corus we wanted to go from the traditional rake-shaped,
Our general manager at the time, of the department Logistics
line-and-staff structured organization with its multiple
and Transport, had met Frank Hoes at one of Frank’s supply
departments and bosses and super bosses, thinkers and
chain management seminars. Frank had just successfully
doers – your classic machine bureaucracy – to a process and
completed a transformation towards a client and process
client oriented mind set. That was our motto. Our idea at the
oriented service provider at Schenker-BTL, a global player in
time was as simple as it was logical: we need to compete in a
the logistics field. So our general manager invited Frank to
global market place anyway, so let’s see if we can organize our
help him become more competitive and profitable.
logistics more effectively. The facts are that the rake structured
Unfortunately, Frank died soon after, but he had already
organization brings with it inherently multiplied wastage of
introduced his partners in crime, Erwin and Paul. The three of
funds, time, energy, efforts, joy and creativity because of
them were in the process of starting up a business in change
its side by side operating department structure. I believe
or transformation management. Paul and Erwin continued in
in questioning ourselves: why do we do the things the way
his vein, and with their excellent job at Corus, Rotanova was
we do? Only too often there’s a kind of tradition or history
off to a flying start. I’m proud and happy to be the witness
involved, or just plain personal habits. Culture. But that’s a
of the birth, and in a way to be part of the conception of
good starting point to dig into the underlying obstacles that
inhibit improvement. It’s not about change, it’s about clearing
these obstacles to the process of improvement. And that is
The improvement process that followed, developed and
actually the term I prefer to use instead of change management:
executed with Paul and Erwin, for me was an inspiring and
improvement management. There’s no such thing as a
transformational journey. I know this journey has changed me
singular moment or temporary phase of change within an
in many senses. I have seen men on the shop floor with basic
organization, at least not if we are talking about a sustainable
education take immense leaps forward, as well as witnessing
transformation. A process in which the organization improves
highly educated men in management stumble and fall. To
on its current improvement, and then strives to continually
this day, it doesn’t cease to fascinate me as to just what drives
improve on previous improvement, and so forth.
the success factors in a transformational corporate process. It seems so straight forward: if you aren’t brain-dead and you
Anyway, right from the start there was the proverbial click
apply Rotanova’s Ladder of Perception, then how could you 61
between the Rotanova philosophy and approach, and my
go wrong? But the reality of it proves more capricious and
ideas, the way I perceive the world. That must be the reason
unpredictable than you would have imagined.
we got along so well.
The gap and the necessity of personal leadership Pabon’s Bible
That really was a major part of the adventure, the sheer endless
We thought the best tool to relate to everyone in our
gap between management and the shop floor. That brings up
organization, from top management to shop floor level, was
the role of leadership. Leadership, in my observation, doesn’t
a booklet. A booklet in plain language, completely open and
necessarily arise as marked out by the organizational chart.
inviting, non-threatening, that everyone could read at his or
Traditionally that would be at the top of the organization. But
her own pace and in the comfort of their own environment.
there are different types of leadership present or needed in
So the first thing I did was write that book, entitled Logistics &
an organization that complement each other. What is ‘true’
Transport: World Class Service Provider LT on it’s way to a future
leadership? What type of leader does a particular improving
without boundaries. It dug into our current work process
organization in a certain stage of transformation need?
and problem solving practices, and offered a perspective
I will leave the answers to these questions to the readers, in
on a refreshing new, alternative organizational mind set.
their various and different qualities, positions and corporate
contexts. But it is clear that management has a deciding voice in whether or not the company ship embarks on a transitional journey, and how that journey is then managed. Having said that, what I have seen time and again, instead of top-down leadership, is the necessity for individual leadership, the way Rotanova defines and implements it. Their point of departure is that if you feel you have a problem, then it is up to you to solve it: ownership as key factor for improvement. It is our task as facilitators of transition – I don’t believe in ‘managing’
62 change or improvement in the strict sense of the word – to assist and motivate people in taking a step back and looking at their own role within the total picture. From a different perspective. If you’re able to achieve that, then you’ve made an incredible leap forward.
Jumping through the double loop I mentioned the Chris Argyris’ book Overcoming Organizational Defenses earlier, as an experience that opened my eyes. After reading that book back in 1994, I can’t but see the world through double loop glasses. Let me elaborate on that. Argyris studied social psychology and economics, and became professor of business administration at the Harvard Business School. He pointed out that it is the underlying assumptions that drive people, which remain mostly unscrutinized in decision making and change programs. He calls that single-
“Can and does an organization really change?”
loop learning: you define goals, create an action strategy,
own paradigm from that very same paradigm, then you can
and feed the results back into the definition stage in order to
imagine the key difficulty of a change program. You have to
refine and recalibrate your action strategy, hoping for better
overcome the bottle neck in your mind, jump through the
results. And so forth, and again. But Argyris says, that as long
double loop. Difficult maybe, but certainly not impossible.
as you don’t reflect on the underlying assumptions that define
And once you’ve made this leap, then real and effective
the problem you want to solve, you will basically always get
change will happen. Plus you’ll never again look at people
more or less the same results. Nothing really changes at all, no
and processes the way you did before. Now, that is the process
sustainable problem solving.
Rotanova facilitates. And that’s why I kind of love the Rotanova guys. They helped
The double loop learning approach goes further than the
us – soft on the people but hard on the subject –, to discover 63
stage where you simply input your results back in your action
the flaws in our assumptions, thinking and acting. Thanks
strategy blender. You actually take an extra step back and
to Rotanova, Corus became able to save on the energy and
ask yourself: why am I, are we, is our company doing what
expenses that accompany pseudo-improvement.
it is that we are doing, why are we getting the results we
I wish everybody happy jumping!
are getting, why do we take the strategic decisions we are taking? This step, Argyris says, is the most important for true learning and improvement, and at the same time the most difficult one. Why? Because it requires us to break through the stubborn barrier of our own beliefs. We cling to our beliefs, because they have been engrained in our nature, they shape our behavioral footprint. The double loop asks us to take a firm step back and jump over our own shadows. Transform old thinking into novel thinking, shift from the traditional win-or-lose paradigm to an explorative, co-creative one. If you realize the difficulty in seeing the ineffectivity of your
Jos Kuypers, advisor. Managing Partner ArchosGroup and Partner LogiSearch Academics HTS business administration Date of birth January 6th, 1956 Place of birth Breda, The Netherlands Life motto Keep on changing. By all means look to things past, but try to avoid predicting the past with the knowledge of today. Better to take innovative and groundbreaking next steps. And always stay optimistic, no matter what. 64 Plus: if it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it Name
Have you become who or what you wanted to be? At the decisive junctions in my life I have made conscious choices that got me to where I am now. If I feel that a decision or situation isn’t going to make me happy, I will attempt to change things. Life changing experience Nothing as such that I could think of. Source(s) of inspiration The events that happen around us every day, all over the world. And I find autobiographies of historic figures interesting to read. But inspiring ingredients can be found in a variety of places, in a conversation, someone’s life story, while reading a novel, et cetera.
MISSION POSSIBLE Change: a self-feeding, intrinsic loop 65
Jos Kuijpers has held many positions during his career in the finance and the manufacturing industries (AMEV, Nashua, HCS) as well as with Logistics Service Providers such as Van der Heijden/Mayne Nickles, Exel and TNT/ Ceva Logistics). Kuijpers’ business card states his current position as advisor/partner. He sees himself as acting in various capacities as required by varying contexts. “I’m more of an innovator and strategist, with aspects of an enabler and a coach.” Let’s hear what Kuijpers has to say about changing organizations today and in the future, and working with Rotanova as a change enabler.
The human perspective in change management
course that involves the entire interim management palette,
When it comes to management, my philosophy has always
including coaching of existing managers, selecting and
been that it is important for organizations to ‘breed’ their
training successors, running day to day operations, as well
own managers. Train your people on the job, enabling them
as implementing and facilitating a process of change. And
to have a career. Although in reality, in a lot of cases you’re
especially that latter aspect, guiding people and organization
training and grooming people for their next employer. Yet,
on a journey of continuous change, that is at the core of what
always offering employees a clear career path, that is part of
my philosophy to keep people interested and bind them to the organization. The thing is that theoretically and practically
66 you may be able to train and groom people, but the timing of
Change as intrinsic process embedded in corporate culture
events is seldom right. What I mean is that even if you’re well
In today’s competitive market place, change and change
trained and groomed, you still need time to develop and gain
management aren’t disciplines separate from everyday
experience to be ready for your next step. So the sound policy
business. It’s not like, hey, it’s Friday, 4 PM, it’s time for our
is that if there is an opening and someone isn’t ready yet, or
change management session. If you look at the global logistics
you don’t have a candidate for that particular position, then
sector, you are part of your clients’ supply chain. Your clients
for the time being work with interim managers. Of course
are confronted with an environment that is constantly
these interim managers need to fit in with the vision, the
changing: markets are in flux, there is the introduction of
corporate culture and the governance of the company. They
new products or technologies, margins are under pressure,
must be experienced professionals who will pave the road for
advances in ICT, changing patterns, such as internet shopping
their successors. Not cold, spreadsheet ticking re-organizers,
and the ever increasing rise of the Internet as a whole. In fact,
but interim managers that operate within a clear roadmap
the entire business context, the entire world is changing all
and support the organization to enter the next phase. That
the time. And it is imperative for service providers to go with
is where Rotanova fits the bill. I have worked with Paul and
their clients’ flow, to be ultra-flexible, preferably anticipating
Erwin on many occasions, seeing them facilitate transitions
ahead of the changes they are faced with. On the other hand
and change management from a human perspective. Of
there is logistics as a permanently evolving sector.
â€œMore often than not you will hit upon a clay layer somewhere in your organization, which impedes the change processâ€?
So you must change. Without it would be impossible to survive
I say that change, improvement or transition, name it as you
as a business, change is all around us in the world. The old
will, is intrinsic, the bottom line is that whatever your position
and ever true saying goes that everything always changes.
in an organization, it is vital that you enjoy what you’re doing
Change should be embedded in your DNA as it were. Another
and the way you’re doing it. The secret is that people must
important aspect related to change in the logistics business, is
have access to the underlying processes and can influence and
the segmentation of your workforce. Traditionally, the logistics
change the things they find that could or should be improved,
sector has had to deal with somewhat of a negative image. That
could be organized better, or are experienced as no fun. It is
image is slowly changing, but we still see a large section of the
imperative that management has their ears and eyes wide
workforce with very basic training, let me put it that way. The
open, and that they are open to change. Management must
68 other important issue is flexibility in workforce: many logistics
walk the walk and talk the talk. It would be wise to define
companies have a – hopefully healthy – workforce mix between
the vision of where you want to go and how you want to be
people on the payroll on the one hand, and externals on the
seen as an organization. Of course you need to readjusted
other. In all, that constellation requires multiple instruments
your journey periodically. That in itself is proof of the fact that
when it comes to motivation, training and continuity.
you’re constantly changing.
The willingness to change is therefore key in every cell of your
But to get back to everyone in your organization being part of
organization. As I said before, change is an intrinsic process,
the change and improvement process, and management being
not something additional that is imposed by management.
all ears and eyes: that is easier said than done.
The process of change, of improvement, should be owned
More often than not you will hit upon a clay layer somewhere
by your employees, and facilitated by management. Because
in your organization, which impedes the change process and
in the end, it is your people that drive the success of your
slows it down, or blocks it altogether. That’s why you must
organization. And if management just preaches but doesn’t
continuously motivate, monitor, pay attention, adjust and
practice what they preach, then your workforce won’t follow.
redirect where needed, coach and train your people. In order to keep this top of mind, you can use an overall program that
The clay layer
breathes intrinsic change and continuous improvement. There
That brings me to the role and function of leadership. When
are several ways to do this. The most effective method in my
view is to take your people on a journey. This journey, and
I don’t believe you can get good financial results with non-
especially the roadmap you follow, must be clearly laid down
engaged employees. Maybe for a while, under very lucky stars.
and communicated. Be assured this is asking a lot from your
But if you’re determined to build a sustainable organization,
workers, as well as from your management. Instilling pride,
the involvement of your workforce is key. And with their
engagement, communication and empowerment are essential
involvement goes the conviction that they can change things
elements that support this journey.
if they need to be changed. It’s all about enjoying your job,
In the near future, leaders will be exposed to a totally different
whatever your position in the organization. The credo is: beat
environment with increasing complexity, greater uncertainty
your last day’s performance. That is all you need to do. Try
and a new generation of workers.
and be a bit better, faster, stronger, cleverer or whatever, than you were yesterday. Taking small steps at a time, not ‘that is 69
On followers that create leadership, and a self-feeding loop
how we did it yesterday, but starting tomorrow we’ll all be
I don’t believe leaders are born, and that followers will
they are using to improve. That may sound a bit cryptic, but
inherently follow the leader. I believe that true leaders – men
think about it: that’s the essence of change. It’s a self-feeding,
and women with academic know-how and experience, but
more particularly the ability to listen – create followers, and that those followers create the leadership that will enable the leader to lead the troops. Hard-nosed leaders that tell everybody else what to do and how to do it, most often don’t breed loyal followers. A good leader facilitates this continuous improvement process by example, creates followers by walking the walk, which in turn creates a critical mass that allows him to lead those who follow. Participation and involvement of the workforce is what it is about, people that are motivated because they are inspired by the corporate environment.
doing it like this’. Giving people the tools to improve the tools
Eduard Molkenboer, previously managing director of DHL Supply Chain Belgium, as of January 1st 2012 he is Global Head of Product Sales EMEA at DHL Supply Chain Academics MBA in business economics at Rotterdam Erasmus University (1991). Date of birth December 9th, 1964 Place of birth The Hague, The Netherlands Life motto Learn to truly enjoy everything life and this exciting world of ours have to offer 70 Name
Have you become who or what you wanted to be? Basically, nothing has changed in that respect since I was 18: I had no idea then where I would end up 5 years down the line, and I still don’t. But I sense I have been getting the most out of (my) life. And as long as I feel I am able to influence my surroundings, as long as the environment I’m in is a changing environment that enables me to be successful together with others and have fun, that’s where I want to be. And that’s pretty much where I have been. Life changing experience When I was in my early thirties, there was this workshop that confronted me with aspects of myself, as if I was forced to look into an unforgiving mirror. That experience engrained in me the importance of separating major from minor issues. And running my own business for a year, opening my eyes to the reality that being an entrepreneur doesn’t mean you have total freedom and control. Source(s) of inspiration Always changing, always different, always surprising: meetings with others, the stories they tell me about how they see things, do things, their struggles and victories and excitement. The realization that you are not alone, not crazy or weird, that others have gone similar paths before us, and yet others will do the same after we have gone.
CONNECTING FROM A LEADERSHIP POSITION Or: why didn’t they tie me to my chair? Eduard Molkenboer graduated from Rotterdam Erasmus University in 1991 with an MBA in business economics. The first 5 years of his career he spent in Canada, working for Stork as controller, a position that taught him a lot, but didn’t find sufficiently challenging. The ‘logistics
bug’ he picked up during an internship in the port of Baltimore and New York Harbor. After a stint at Europe Container Terminals (ECT) in Rotterdam, he found his way to DHL. ‘I have a passion for logistics,’ Molkenboer says. Let’s hear what he has to say about his utopia state, the vital role communication plays in management, and his experiences with the men from Rotanova. 72
Change and crisis: first encounters of the Rotanova kind
minds, also means you have to come up with a different way
My experiences with Rotanova are both as enablers of change
6 years ago, and at one of our sites our client confronted us
and in crisis management at DHL.
with the fact we had to become more efficient because their
Paul Fontein has done several projects purely as a crisis
profitability was lagging. So I sat down with my operations
manager on some of our big accounts. I needed him to put
manager and reviewed this site with its 300 workers. What
out the fires and simply fix things, which he did. You know,
we saw was that the organization had become too big and
during a crisis you can’t change anything, all you can do is
sluggish over the years. The operation had silently gradually
contain it. You can of course use the crisis to the advantage
grown year after year, in all departments, on all levels, and no
of your organization, as a catalyst for change. And even if
one had ever intervened. What we did next was redesign the
you manage to pull off a successful reorganization, you can’t
entire organization, downsizing it to make it fit the current
just tell your site manager he has to do the same job with
requirements and metrics, resulting in major impact and
10% less workers than before. Working with less hands and
layoffs on all levels. Now, laying off 15 or 20% of your workforce
of working. Let me give you a real life example. It was about
is not that difficult to organize. Don’t misunderstand me:
around this central theme, basically putting the problem on
it is far from fun, but technically not that complicated. The
the table and making it discussable, involving every employee.
real challenge you’re facing is the following. After a major
Rotanova organized group sessions and workshops, first and
reorganization, with all those people gone, then comes that
foremost focusing on becoming aware of the new situation,
first Monday, and the notion dawns on you: what now? That is
and then zooming in on questions like: how are we going
the big question. How do you ensure that the operation keeps
to solve this, what are the implications for us as a company,
doing the things they need to do, the way they need to be
for you as an individual? In essence we were moving in the
done? Or, going one step further: how can you perform even
direction of self-managing teams. Transferring responsibility
better? Working longer hours is not the answer. That’s where
to those doing the actual work. Allowing people the freedom
Rotanova stepped in to help us change for the better.
to act autonomously and guiding them to a situation where 73 they no longer act only after they have consulted their ‘boss’.
‘Think and act differently, right now’ (Or: who knows where the manual on self-managing teams is?)
There are thousands of things going on on any given day, and
The answer is that you have to devise a new way of working,
know-how to solve things, not me. What the hell do I know?
a different way of relating to each other. Since the biggest
So you need to show them that you are more a coach than
cut as a result of slimming down affected our middle
an old-school boss. That doesn’t mean you let go of corporate
management, it meant that people weren’t being told all
hierarchy altogether however: you still need someone to link
day long what they had to be doing, but that instead they
overall strategy with daily operations on the one hand, and
had to think and organize and make decisions themselves.
inspire and correct people on the other. Anyway, it all begins
That is easier said than done, telling people they have to
with providing the information to people on what you expect
start thinking for themselves. Just ask my wife: she has been
from them, in a way that goes far beyond the thirty minute
trying the same with me for 20 years now, needless to say
annual personal review stipulated somewhere in a collective
without much success! But all kidding aside, at this DHL
labor agreement. That is a different kettle of fish than getting
site the entire organization went on a journey that pivoted
feedback tomorrow on the job you did today, hearing where
the majority of them should never reach my desk! Because in most cases the employees themselves have the practical
â€œAfter a major reorganization, including lay-offs, then comes that first Monday, and the notion dawns on you: what now? That is the big questionâ€?
we succeeded and where we didn’t meet the mark, and why.
but in relationships in general. Again: just ask my wife! But in
That requires a totally different way of working and thinking.
a labor environment there are forces at work such as I have to be careful with what I say, because I have another so many years to go
Last exit to Utopia
with this guy, I better shut up ‘cause it’s not worth the risk. And: the
Our journey of change, improvement and self-management,
boss is getting paid to approach and address people, so let him take
sparked different reactions. Some people thought it was great,
care of it, not me.
but at least just as many said it scared the living daylights out of them. Somewhere deep down in our system there is the
Still, if you want to improve the way your team works,
idea that it isn’t all that uncomfortable if you are being told
you have to keep beating your communications drum and
exactly what to do during the day. And if that mindset wasn’t
continue to set the example.
in your system to begin with, there’s a big chance it will gradually creep into your behavior. Because you had gotten
About a manager, a meeting and a chair
used to that top-down regulated way of working over the past,
So communication is key, and at the same time it is the
say, 10 years, and had long since resigned to the idea that it
hardest factor to implement. And even if you have people
was going to remain that way for the next 10. So even though
communicating, the biggest illusion when it comes to
we took huge steps as an organization, more than doubling
communication is thinking that it has taken place. I identify
our profitability, we never reached my Utopia state of truly
two elements here. First, there is a fundamental difference
self-managing teams, with people taking the responsibilities
between talking with someone, and really establishing
they should be taking, at all times. Utopia of course, by
contact. Second, how do you as a leader connect with your
definition, will always remain both a dream and an illusion.
people and transfer your ideas and ideals to them. How do
Taking responsibility towards yourself and the organization
you connect with someone from your leadership position?
appears to be challenging enough, but there is an even bigger
I remember when we were doing reorganization in Belgium.
mountain to climb on the road to self-management: addressing
I got the opportunity to address all my managers in the same
your co-workers and communicating constructively. That
room at the same time. Of course I had prepared for what
turns out to be the hardest thing there is, not just at work,
I was going to say. So I was pretty convinced I was going to get
my message across. Feeling confident, I kicked off the meeting
a chair and saying, listen, that’s a pretty swell story you just
getting everybody’s attention. I explained what we were going
told us, but we haven’t got a clue what you are talking about!
to be doing during the reorganization and sketched the timelines. In addition, I indicated that there were a few things
The conclusion was that it turns out to be hard for the most of
that I really couldn’t say much about because of uncertainties
us to be persistent and ask difficult and confronting questions
and decisions yet to be made, as well as prudence in sharing
when we’re in a group.
matters pertaining to individuals in front of the entire group before having taken certain hurdles. After having spoken for
What we got out of it is that my team must never accept the
about thirty minutes, I left the meeting, after which they
fact that they don’t understand what I am trying to say – it is
76 resumed with the rest of their program. Two days later I sit
alright to disagree with what I am saying, as long as you have
in on a training session with my extended management, on
understood my words. On my part, I just have to ask control
the heather as we say in Dutch, and I ask around how they
questions to verify whether or not I got my message across.
thought things were going in our team and in the company in
Because the thing is, if people don’t exactly understand what
general. One of the things that surfaced was that they felt they
you’re saying, they will come up with their own interpretation.
hadn’t gotten certain straightforward details and information
And that will give rise to all kinds of misunderstandings. As
to do with the reorganization. And all I could think was: hold
a result, you aren’t on the same page and moving towards a
on, two days ago I gave management the download with
joint objective, and you simply lose momentum, time, energy,
regard to the reorganization and these guys were all present
creativity, causing people to get frustrated. That is why I keep
at that meeting. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. So I said
telling everyone that it is alright to disagree with me if they
to them: you are telling me that the other day I came to this
have sound arguments, but please talk to me, tie me to a chair
meeting specifically to inform you guys on these matters, and
and ask me to clarify things ten times in a row if needs be. As
now you’re telling me that in spite of my good intentions I
long as we treat each other with respect, everybody can raise
just haven’t succeeded in doing what I set out to do! Now, that
their hand and say what they have to say.
may be my mistake, but you know what your mistake is? Why did you ever allow me to leave the room without tying me to
“In a crisis you can’t change anything: all you can do is contain it”
“Always in Motion is the Future” From: Star
Wars - The Empire strikes back
Change in Organization 81
A three-phased journey Funny thing, change. Everybody is talking about it. There are numerous books, countless professionals and workshops dedicated to it, offering you clear-cut methods and instant recipes with promises such as: How to manage change, The 7 steps to successful change, A recipe for sustainable change.
Change, it is a many-faced creature.
But first things first. Being on the same page, we find, is generally important if you want
to be talking about the same thing, more or less. Communication is complicated enough in the absence of pinpoint singular definitions shared by everyone, so letâ€™s again remind ourselves of the many faces of change.
Our Websterâ€™s dictionary gives the verb to change as:
to make or to become different, to alter, adjust, modify, to exchange
one thing for another, to interchange, to give a totally different appearance, to switch, transition, to replace, to transform. Change, the way we mean it here, is both the act, process and the result of going from one state or phase to the next.
Whichever definition of change you prefer, the method you use to facilitate change,
however you organize the process of change, there are two givens that always apply. One: the tendency for people to want to remain in what they perceive as a stable situation where nothing
changes. While, two: in nature, in the entire universe around us, everything is always changing as time progresses, every nanosecond of the day. In line with Webster’s dictionary, things become or are made different, are altered, adjusted, modified, exchanged and interchanged, given a totally different appearance, switches are made, things are replaced, in transition and transformed. All the time. Yet when it comes to human beings – just to make sure we’re on the 83
same page again: this book isn’t about changes on a quantum level in some esoterical multidimensional universe abiding by the laws of the latest version of string theory – the tendency is to hold on to the status quo. We like things to remain the same, we find comfort in what we think is a stable state. It is almost as if the laws of physics that rule the world and cosmos we live in, don’t apply to us.
Now you don’t have to be a quantum physicist to conclude that that is an illusion, just
as much as our longing for things never to change is based on an illusion since everything is always in flux, as the Greek philosopher Heraclitus already stated some 2,500 years ago.
Hercules and the Hydra (1918-19). Statue by Rudolph Tegner
“Change, it is a many-faced creature”
As the saying goes, we are all born with two certainties: most
taking a lot of time to discuss and debate all the beautiful
of us have to pay taxes, and in the end we die. The paying
new things they wish to implement. Having decided, they
of taxes we may try to limit as far as the law allows it, and
proudly and enthusiastically preach the new gospel of change
thoughts of death we try to avoid and push ahead to some
to their teams, painting a bright new future for everyone. But
undefined moment in the future. Until such a time, we spend
if the rest of the organization takes more than two weeks to
our lives mortgaging a roof over our heads, building families,
embrace their brilliant program, they call it a variety of names
maintaining friendships, and pursuing life long careers. Now
such as resistance, unwillingness and sabotage.
in themselves, these are absolutely worthwhile, were it not that we derive a false sense of security from them, expecting
It doesn’t take much imagination to realize there are plenty
them to last forever. Alas. And if we have to change something,
of pitfalls along the long and winding road of change. As 85
we find it hard to persist in our new ways. There are many
Rotanova, we have been working on different change programs
reasons why change programs are not always as successful
in different roles, and have encountered virtually all of them,
as we had hoped them to be, and at least as many excuses.
in all their disguises. Sometimes they are pretty obvious and
Probably the most decisive contributor is the Human Factor.
are present at the surface, more often they remain hidden in
And probably also the most underestimated, if not neglected
the deep. In order to create the best possible environment
factor. If misunderestimated were a grammatically correct word
to make real change happen and lay bare all the pitfalls, we
– once introduced by President Bush junior in a statement
use the Rotanova Wheel of Change. The what? we hear you
about himself – that would have been the term to use.
thinking. It’s nothing magical, or weird. The wheel of change
In most change programs there is ample room, time and
is a model, a practical tool that helps prepare, execute and
attention for the Hardware of Change: planning, strategies,
keep track of the overall process of change. We will be taking a
visions, missions, IT-systems, buildings, infrastructure and
closer look at it later. The wheel represents an overview of the
the like. Far less, if at any, attention is given to the Software
various organizational segments that you’re already familiar
of Change: fears and other emotions, (personal) leadership,
with and work with on a daily basis. The different segments
change capacity, hierarchies, et cetera.
of the wheel are related to the central or core hub, which
Another all too frequently scenario: senior management
is your change objective. As you will see later, the wheel of
change challenges you to make choices in the right places, to
phases of change: change at its basic face value, transition as
design, learn and act the interventions, and constantly keep
an intermediate phase, and transformation as the final phase
observing the effects.
of change. Here goes.
There is one other very important thing we want to stipulate here. If you enter the fascinating world of Change in Organization, you are going to have to have compassion.
1. Change at its basic face value: change
Compassion for those involved, compassion for yourself (trust us, you’ll need it!), compassion for the process, the pitfalls,
The overall process is denominated by the blanket term of
86 the inevitable hick-ups, and compassion for the results you
change. It describes the phase in which we begin to think
reap. Why? Because you are bound to encounter situations
about the end-result of our journey. Questions in this phase
where you too, as well as others, in spite of all the best
are: what is it that we want to achieve? What are our core
intentions in the world are not going to be able to always
objectives? What is the goal that we are aiming for?
stick to agreements, meet every deadline, keep focused all
But in the same process we need to define clearly where we
the time, live the new behavior, follow new procedures and
are at present, what is our current position. Because if we
work processes, and more. Instead of getting frustrated, angry
don’t fixate this anchor point, it is impossible to create the
or disappointed, however understandable that may be, it is
positive tension within our organization or ourselves needed
essential to keep looking at yourself, others and the journey
to get things moving in the right direction.
you’re on, with compassion.
We have to describe the journey we wish to embark on, plot
Part of that is putting a smile on your face, being able to accept
our heading. The track we will follow is from current to
that some things simply go wrong, say you’re sorry if that is
future, or, put in the ever poetic German language, from Ist
needed, and then make it right. Dare to laugh at yourself, and
to Soll. Those of you familiar with change management will
take full responsibility for your behavior and the results of
surely know this terminology. The description of this journey
that behavior. Enjoy the journey!
into the future can be done on a higher, more abstract level,
Having said all that, let’s dive into the different faces and
for the company as a whole, as well as for each individual
department. Describing an Ist and Soll situation can be
belts: almost every respondent had answered: Nothing.
used on strategic, tactical as well as operational level. From
Can you imagine how they must have felt working on the
boardroom to shop floor. You could, while you’re at it, in fact
realization of their plans so hard? After we had studied
even plot a personal course for yourself.
the situation, including their year-end results and survey
Whichever you decide, you’re now in the domain of the
outcome, we organized feed-back interviews. It became clear
innermost part of the wheel of change, right at the hub
that practically none of the employees had recognized any of
where we formulate our change objective(s). We have to be
last year’s improvement points in the new company plans.
careful here now, because all too often we meet enthusiastic
And no one in management had put in place any mechanism
travelers on the rocky road to change coming up with the
to check if their plans were (really) understood.
most wonderful goals, unfortunately communicated in such a
A small misunderstanding with a huge impact.
way that none of their fellow travelers in charge of execution
The moral of the story is to please make sure that everyone
actually know exactly what to aim for.
in your organization actually understands the principle goals of the organization. Right from the beginning, set out clearly
Sidestep: A Genuine Case of Oops!
defined and understandable goals that have a long best by
During one of our projects, the organization we were involved
date. Make sure your objectives go a long way. Why? If you
with executed their annual employee engagement survey.
need to change your change every quarter, that will nibble
Management had been working very hard on effectuating the
away at credibility and involvement. People generally will get
improvement points of last year, they were all addressed in
very confused and absolutely not be able to create ownership
their year plans, so there was a generally accepted expectation
and emotional connection with the goals and the road
that things would certainly look better this year.
towards achieving them. While ownership and involvement
Yet when the results came in, they were absolutely shocked:
is what you badly need to create to even have a chance at real
the response rate was dramatically low, and the score even
change. You need to stir up a passion for the joint effort to
worse. And what really made them mad was the general
reach the goals you have formulated.
answer on the question “what, according to you, has been
It will allow you to take an essential step forward, the step that
done with the results of last year’s survey?” Fasten your seat-
will usher in the next face and phase of change, transition.
Fig.1: The Wheel of Change
2. C hange + momentum = Transition, the one-step-further phase of change
In the case of Strategy, we are talking about such things as vision, mission, long-term goals, as well as more short-term deliverables in a project.
To enable the organization to understand the change
Structure deals with the organizational shape and form,
objectives, it is important to translate them into more tangible
the amount of layers, infrastructure, IT structure or project
results. This is the outer layer of the change wheel, involving
Leadership refers to the general aspect of management,
In it, we determine what the consequences of our change
preferred styles, the cooperation between teams and individ-
objectives are for each of the four aspects of organizational
uals, and also to the theme of personal leadership of each
change: strategy, structure, leadership and culture. Under
individual employee in the organization.
the motto no involvement, no commitment, it is wise to do so in
Culture stands for the written and mostly unwritten rules of
close cooperation with the team(s) that will be influenced by
engagement within organizations, social groups, the do’s and
the change objective(s), getting them involved in the earliest
stages of the process. Let’s take a closer look at the wheel and what it can help us
Typically, the sorts of questions that must be answered here
with (> fig.1).
are: do we need to change our vision on marketing? Do we need to adopt a new concept of customer care? What will be
As said before, the wheel of change will help us translate
the effect of these changes on the way we cooperate? Can
the overall change objective(s) into the specific aspects of
current management cope with the new structure? Will our
your organization, making clear what the consequences are
IT structure be able to support the new way of working? Will
for each of the four aspects. Doing so, it will help to create
employees need a new set of values and beliefs? How and
awareness on these aspects, as well as for the transition we
when do we influence new underlying structures?
want to accomplish in order to reach our change goal(s). The
This is an essential step, and again we have to make choices
transition we are after can be organized on all of the aspects,
and commit ourselves to them.
or specific ones you select.
Here we make fundamental choices, shape and agree
on elementary settings that reflect the way we want to
you ignore or neglect the human factor in a company setting,
collaborate, act and behave, communicate in order to achieve
just like anywhere else it will turn against you somewhere,
the overall change.
sometime. Better to factor the human aspect in, if you want to successfully pave the way for the final phase of the journey
Take your time defining these questions, don’t jump to rapid
towards true change: and that is transformation.
conclusions or final result scenario’s that will almost certainly turn out to be self-fulfilling prophesies of failure: a main part of the journey and key to success in the end is allowing all the possible questions to come to the surface, and then select
90 those that everyone sees will get you the answers you need.
3. T ransformation, the final phase of change
Remember that patience is a virtue, and knowing when to speed things up is wisdom.
Having successfully completed the transitional phase, we can enter the inner circle of the wheel of change, where we
A comment on hard & soft: two sides of the same coin
develop interventions to create transformation in each of
Strategy and Structure are usually looked upon as ‘hard’
you’ll be able to really create the conditions allowing your
elements, or the hardware of an organization. Leadership and
organization to – and let me quote my Webster’s here again –
Culture, you guessed it, are often seen as the ‘soft’ aspects
become different, to alter, adjust, and modify the things that
of organization, the software. Don’t be tempted, though: in
matter, to transform.
change processes, the hardware needs the software and vice
This is the third face and phase of change in our model.
versa, just like in the IT universe where the one without the
Starting at the core or hub of the wheel, where we defined
other isn’t going to amount to much. The past ten years we have
our overall change objectives, we went on to investigate what
noticed that it is the hard elements that are usually identified
the required transitions are on the four business aspects as
and worked out, whereas the soft aspects are often treated as
described on the outer layer of the wheel, and next we will
‘out of bounds’. In our experience, that is a recipe for failure: if
choose the actual transformation steps needed to achieve our
these. This is the domain within the change process where
goals. That is the area in the wheel with the five segments. We
will get back to them a little later on.
Let’s sum things up.
It is important to remember that what managers actually need
Once we have expressed the desire to change, we should be
to facilitate in order to reach the organization’s goals, is to
willing to make the necessary choices and be prepared to
help people transform. Of course this is easier said than done.
stick to the consequences. It all starts with the definition of
As we saw in the introduction to this chapter, here lies one of
our change objective(s). That is at the core hub of our wheel
the major, yet so easy to stumble into, pitfalls: management
of change. Next we determine the required transition using
taking a lot of time to discuss and debate all the beautiful new
the four aspects of organizational change, being strategy,
things they wish to implement. But it takes time for people to
structure, leadership and culture. We are now at the outer layer
grasp the essence of the change and even more to implement
of the wheel. Having done this, we are ready to design the 91
all these plans. And you’re back way beyond the proverbial
actual transformation activities on the inner ring of the
wheel of change, translated to the vital areas of our business: customer, processes, employees, management and measurement (or
So wouldn’t it be great instead if we could assist people in
monitoring the effects of what you’re doing). Let’s give the
discovering that this transformation will in the end present
wheel of change a whirl and see what it tells us.
them with a new set of circumstances that will help them
Next stop is Transition.
grow and develop further? That will empower them to cobuild their new future and that of the organization? If your answer to that is no, please either return to the beginning of this chapter, or go read Schopenhauer. If your answer is yes, even if you hesitated for a moment, then you’ll agree that just telling people the message isn’t going to work. Our managers need to close their laptops, get on the shop floor and help people transform. How? We will have some more on this when we touch ‘tomorrow’s leadership’.
â€œEvery chemical reaction has a transition stateâ€? Sir Derek Harold Richard Barton (1918 - 1998 - British organic chemist and 1969 Nobelprize laureate)
Transition In the beginning was a fundamental choice â€˜Have substance A react with substance B (depending on the substances and the desired result: add heat), resulting in one or more new substances when the reaction is completed. Before the reaction is over and the initial substances have finished interacting, that is the in-between or transition state.â€™ In organizations, a successful transition is the result of pure chemistry,
based on the corporate culture and the values shared by all the stakeholders of an organization. For it is values that drive an organization’s culture and priorities, and provide a framework in which decisions are made. This chemistry also leads to innovation on shop floor level, initiated by professionals proud of their work, daring to try something new.
Defining a mission – why do we exist? – and a vision – what do we want to be? –
certainly helps us outline our future, but in the end, each transition is all about the chemistry that results from the shared ambition, commitment and ownership of everyone involved.
To catalyze this chemical process it is often quite useful to define your desired state,
generic long term change goals or objectives in a measurable way. That will provide indicators telling you whether you are still on track to reach the ultimate goal(s) or destination, meet the challenges you’re facing, or are bridging the gap between current (as is) and future (to be) state. And apparently a slogan to get the message across or brand a program will be an excellent hook to improve the quality of communication on progress and developments. On the other
hand it’s not enough to brand with names like Best in Class, Intimacy, First Choice, Excellence, Full Transparency, Customer – Shareholder – Employee First without specifying the desired outcome, choosing the objectives and face the consequences. The classic approach is to make choices based on
Shareholder value is a lagging indicator: it is a
the existing set of values and beliefs, which will 95
historical expression of what
provide us with a basis for our actions towards the
has been reached at
goals we wish to achieve. Our point of departure,
a certain point, yet without
the actual set of values and beliefs, usually stays
any predicting value whatsoever. Shared values on the other hand, are leading
out of bounds, unchallenged, is a no-go area. Yet we need to let go of all inhibitions and reflexes
indicators: they form the
that make us stick to what we are so familiar with
basis for how an organization
if we wish to really change things, if we want to
will perform in the future
effectuate transition. That too, is a choice.
Real choice (Ay, there’s the rub)
weight without choosing with all my heart – and head too, for
Millions of people all over the world are trying to change
that matter – for the consequences my decision comes with
some aspect in their lifestyle, be it an addiction or some other
– such as sticking to the diet, picking up jogging, going to
pattern of behavior that has been identified as undesirable.
the gym, and learning to say no to all the tempting other
Why is losing weight so difficult? What is the problem in
propositions around me – my will is going to eventually lose
quitting smoking? How is it possible we start going to the gym
the battle against these seductions. As soon as the image of a
with great enthusiasm but soon lose our motivation to pick
six pack above my swimming trunks becomes less important
up this healthier lifestyle we had in mind?
than the image of me enjoying a juicy piece of pastry, I am
The answer is usually because we aim high, shoot for the
entering the danger zone!
96 moon, and blinded by the light of earth’s companion we often
The struggle to stick to my choice becomes even worse after
lose sight of the consequences involved. Let’s put on a pair
a while, when we slowly develop the feeling that as a reward
of shades and take a closer look at the mechanisms involved
for all my dieting efforts I have ‘earned’ the right to that piece
when we reach just that bit further than our grasp.
Making choices. It sounds so obvious and seems unnecessary to point out, but it is one of the most undervalued and even
Caught in a trap
underestimated steps involved in change.
Now, why do we usually want to change things? Generally
This step is utterly important in nailing down the problem:
because we are not happy with the results we are getting by
it gives us a clear picture of the situation and the sense of
doing what we have always been doing: production isn’t high
urgency needed to solve it. It’s crucial to understand the
enough, quality is poor, there are too many safety incidents,
effect of the problem on the current situation. It will help us
employee engagement is low, I can’t jog 5 kilometers non-stop, I’m
to prioritize and get a good understanding of the actual and
overweight, and so on.
the desired situation. If we are able to get a clear picture of
It is a normal response to try and correct these results. So we
the future outcome, we may focus on the issues at hand and
embark on programs and tell people, including ourselves, that
release the energy needed to reach our goals.
we must improve productivity, quality, safety, engagement,
Let’s get back to the matter of losing weight. If I decide to lose
endurance, body shape, et cetera. And, yes sirree, often we be
U N D E R LY I N G STRUCTURE
VALUES & BELIEFS
ACTION & BEHAVIOR
R E S U LT S
Fig.2: Change begins with a choice
able to do so for a period of time. We install extra checks and
another ball game. And that’s where the ‘magic’ of choice
controls, hire specialized staff, go to the gym or take on a diet.
comes in. When we make deliberate and fundamental
In this manner we try to change the way we do things to
choices, and actively accept the consequences, we will be able
make sure we improve our results. Again, this will probably be
to create a new underlying structure that leads to consistent
successful in the short run.
new behavior and actions with a result different from what we were getting when we were doing what we had always
But if we don’t reassess the underlying (mental) structure of
been doing before.
our behavior, we run the risk that the rectifications we have
Of course this will not happen by itself. It requires persistence,
made will only be temporary. We will soon fall back into our
being conscious of the situation, and having the guts to act
98 ‘old habits’ and behavioral patterns with the same results as
differently when ‘new’ behavior may be more effective. It also
before. Production again isn’t high enough, quality is poor,
means purposely looking for opportunities to apply and even
there are too many safety incidents, employee engagement is
practice behavior not yet internalized in order to step out of
low, I can’t jog 5 kilometers non-stop, I’m overweight, and so on.
your comfort zone to break through your patterns. Very supportive in this respect could be when your direct
environment, be it colleagues, partner, spouse, manager
Short term is adjusting our actions and behavior. Long term, or
or coach, is aware of your desire and attempts to change,
sustainable, is the transformation of our underlying structure
assisting you through feedback on what they see happening.
and adjustments to our values and beliefs leading to a different result.
Sidestep: A Genuine Case of Back to Kindergarten
Corrections are often connected with ‘must’ and generally
There once was a world-class logistics service provider. Among
there is (time) pressure involved.
their regulations there was one that made wearing a safety belt
When we speak about transition, it’s all about what we want,
mandatory when operating a forklift truck. Sounds logical. But
would like to be or would like to have happen. This way of
in many distribution centers you would see employees simply
thinking will prove insufficient to effectuate real change.
not using that belt. Too much of a hassle, uncomfortable,
People on the whole want a lot, but making that happen is
have to adjust the size, limits my operation radius, you name
it. After a while, the site manager in his quarterly shop floor
Getting people to come along
pallet-speech announced that ‘everyone had to wear the safety
The back to kindergarten scenario is what we see happening all
belt, or else….’ The supervisors among you will look at each
too often: organizational change through corrective actions,
other and feel the tension this stipulation is going to cause.
forgetting to look at the underlying mental structures.
The forklift truck drivers among you will look at each other
Many in themselves sound safety and quality improvements
with slight grins on your faces. The latter are convinced they
have died a silent death this way.
don’t need that stupid belt. It slows you down and is just not
In order to create a fair chance of success for this type of
something a real driver would use.
improvement, it is essential to dig up the underlying values
Given these mental constructs, there is a big chance that the
active in the given situation, assess the beliefs people have
employees are going to pretend a will to use the safety belt,
that lead to their behavior. In this case it would be important 99
then shift to using it under protest when management tells
to have the truck drivers evaluate the background of their
them they must, until the heat has worn off and they will
thoughts and feelings about wearing a safety belt. Providing
carry on as before.
information about the risks involved if you don’t wear a belt
And what about the supervisors? Probably they will feel being
might help. Involving the supervisors at the earliest possible
burdened with an impossible task because they know deep
stage is a good idea too.
down inside that this entire safety belt thing isn’t going
Changing the vested opinion from if you wear that belt, you are
to work! They are going to have to police their workers on
no real driver or manly man into if you don’t wear that belt, you’re a
compliance with the safety belt regulations, instead of being
risk factor in our team, will automatically create a better setting
part of the team. Back to kindergarten, controlling and
for acceptance. Next make sure you create awareness leading
correcting everybody all day long.
to a conscious choice in this new setting. Just wanting to is not
After a while they will begin to look the other way, turn a
enough, as we saw earlier. Those involved need to be and
blind eye, pretend there are no drivers doing their job without
become aware of the consequences of their choice, such as
their safety belts on. Next, everything will be back to the way
‘feeling’ the belt all day, or click and unclick every time they
things used to be, before management interfered! And they
leave the truck, and they need to be motivated to remind each
lived happily ever after.
other about this choice.
It would be wise not to opt for ‘wearing the safety belt’, but to
we distinguish the following aspects of organizational change:
put the choice in a broader perspective, like ‘ we consciously
choose to work in a safe manner at all times: safety first!’.
This will make the belt a part of a fundamental choice for zero
accidents on the shop floor, appealing to the values and beliefs
that personal health and safety issues are very important. They help us define such things as what is missing in the
current direction management depicted, whether the
When we set change in motion, in fact entering the transition
structures of our organization and ICT are still up to par, if the
100 mode, it’s recommended to investigate the overall change
way in which we interact and collaborate today is effective and
goals and consider the consequences for each aspect in the
how each individual is prepared for the change(s) outlined?
wheel of change. Try to get answers to questions such as:
Remember that a transition always begins with a vision,
• Do we need to change our vision on marketing?
idea, objective, target, a destination, an expression of a new
• Do we need a new customer care concept?
situation an organization wants to be in. The aim could
• What will be the effects on the way we collaborate?
be staying competitive, attract more customers, enter
• Can management cope with the new structure?
new markets, becoming more flexible, increasing quality,
• Will employees really get used to a new set of values
improving operational performance, create a new business
model or be(come) the place to work.
• Is our SAP or JD Edwards capable of supporting the new way of working?
Strategy When addressing the direction and scope of an organization
Once we have answered these questions, and there’s still a
over a longer term, the first obvious question is: how will we
green light for change, it’s time to commit, make conscious
get to where we want to go? This is roughly what strategy
choices and be prepared to deal with the consequences.
is about. Preferably you should make a plan to bridge the
To support this process within the Rotanova wheel of change
gap between the actual and desired situation. Incorporation
of milestones will help to check if you are on the right path, need to get back on track or adjust the roadmap. In most cases
• How are we going to measure the results of our change campaign?
you don’t require a full-blown, time-consuming plan defining
• Do we have a competitive salary and benefits system
how to reach your vision, mission, long-term goals or (short
and personal development plans in line with career
term) deliverables. A one-pager is often (more than) enough,
opportunities in our industry?
providing a starting point and framework for the actual transformation.
This exercise, however, entails more than merely drawing a
It is important to realize that having a plan in itself doesn’t give
new organization chart!
any added value. It should be feasible, designed to implement,
Too often we see newly assigned managers, after power
stimulate action and generate energy. We recommend putting
pointing for a couple of days, proudly slide-showing off their 101
planning and execution into the same hands.
future departmental structure, being convinced the change is a done deal.
Structure The structure of an organization consists of the way tasks are
Organizational structures have been the subject of scientific
being allocated, for example: divisions, branches, business
study for decades now. Ford and Taylor still are food for
units, departments, teams. Yet structure is also about
thought, comparison and inspiration in many a management-
coordination, supervision, IT, buildings, et cetera. Depending
book. Although we are in a virtual age with social media
on the objectives, the organization should be structured
as a rising star, most organizations are still struggling to
accordingly, allowing various approaches for varying
untie from structures that have their roots in the industrial
circumstances. Here too, flexibility is the answer.
When looking at structure, some relevant questions are:
When considering a (re)design of the organization, it is
• What organizational structure fits our market and gets the best out of our employees? • Is our IT up to date and capable of serving our future needs?
important to go for a match between structure and activities, markets, products, services, flexibility, skills, and so on. It doesn’t make any sense to move towards becoming more entrepreneurial while at the same time retaining a
bureaucratic structure. If your core activity is accreditation
Valid questions are:
and certification, don’t try an adhocracy. Professionals will be
• How will we collaborate to make it happen?
very unhappy in a structure with strict planning and control,
• Are we truly working together, and how can we measure
but will flourish when able to take responsibility. When anticipating local market needs is key, a geographical set-up with limited interventions from headquarters is preferable. When you plan to outsource, a process-oriented structure makes it easier as you are forced to define process input, output and throughput.
that what we do is actually working and effective? • What are the consequences of our choice(s) for the way we collaborate? • How consistent are we in our behavior when something new shows up? • How are we going to exchange our knowledge and experiences during the program?
The considerations for software and hardware investments are similar. The first step is to match the business model with
Culture influences employee wellbeing and performance.
the users in the organization. Based on the outcome you’ll
Ask people what periods in their career they look back on as
be able to determine which would support your business
the best, and in most cases they will tell you about situations
environment best, an off-the-shelf system or architecture
in which it seemed that the entire team was in a kind of flow.
tailored to your specific needs.
They were working long hours getting work done work without really noticing it. Effortlessly. Getting extra energy
and inspiration from what they were doing and becoming
The third aspect in the wheel of change refers to a set of
even more persistent. Being conscious of team roles and
shared mental assumptions that guide actions and behavior
cooperation and learning from each other in a challenging
in organizations in various situations. The do’s and don’ts.
and open environment. Giving constructive feedback on each
Here it’s about making fundamental choices as a team,
other’s actions and behavior. Enjoying working together as
elementary settings that reflect the way we want to
a team and celebrating when goals were achieved. The work
collaborate, act and behave, communicate in order to achieve
floor as the place to be!
the overall change.
Culture is the differentiator between success, doing OK and
failure. It is therefore crucial to invest in creating a culture
The personal angle refers to competences and commitment. Am
that will benefit your workforce and thus your results. Groups
I able to deal with, influence, contribute to or solve the situation
of individuals will only truly become teams when every team
we are in and bring it to the desired level? Skills, knowledge,
member takes responsibility for their contribution to the
experience, motivation and character are relevant in this
overall interaction. How? Contrary to popular belief, being
context. What am I going to give, what are my contribution and
conscious of the diversity in a team stimulates cohesion.
deliverables? Also: what will I take, what’s in it for me?
Decisions are taken after sharing arguments and opinions
These are obvious questions, requiring reflection and self-
and looking at the issue from various angles. Creating a
awareness to come to fundamental answers if you truly wish
common target or enemy gives focus. High-performance
to be committed. It won’t do you, your organization or the
teams often set their own objectives by the way, not hindered
process any good if you’ll say yes but think no when you are 103
by management constraints. Written rules of engagement
being asked for a new task, position or job. It is highly unlikely
can also contribute to success, but the unwritten rules of
you will derive any satisfaction from what you are doing, or
engagement in an organization or group are usually stronger,
achieve planned results.
as they are not prescribed by management.
People taking ownership, displaying self-awareness and selfresponsibility, are illustrative traits for personal leadership.
Leadership There are many definitions of leadership and management
In this context it is interesting to investigate what our circle
styles. We aren’t going to mention them all, although looking
of concern is, to see where we focus our time and energy. As
at seagull, post-hoc and mushroom management would
we look at this, it will become apparent that there are things
provide a pretty hilarious interlude at this stage in our book.
over which we have no real control, and other things we can do
But let’s stay focused. Here we will approach the leadership
something about. The former constitute our circle of concern,
issue from two angles. One, the personal angle: what is the
the latter our circle of influence.
impact of the change on me? And two, the organizational
The problems we face on a day to day basis can be allocated to
angle: how do we or I, if I am the only one in charge, manage
one of three categories:
• direct control - problems involving our own behavior
• indirect control - problems involving other people’s behavior • no control - problems we can’t do anything about, such as our past or facts of life
Personal leadership comes with a change paradigm that is ‘inside-out’, thinking and being independent and not letting the outside things dictate your thoughts and actions. There are things, like the weather, that our circle of influence will never include. The challenge here is trying to accept those
Personal leadership displays focus on your circle of influence.
things we can’t influence, while we focus our efforts on the
Working on the things you actually can do something about.
things we can influence. Test it, and work for a month only
The nature of your energy is positive, causing the circle of
in your circle of influence, make small commitments, stick to
influence to increase. A way to lay bare where our energy and
them and see what happens. You won’t know if it will work
104 focus is located, is to distinguish between haves and be’s, such as in the figure below:
circle of concern: haves I’ll be happy once I have paid off my house If only I had a more patient spouse If only I had better co-workers and a less demanding boss circle of influence: be’s I can be more penny wise I can be more patient I can be a better colleague and employee
until you give it a try. Go for it. Just a note here: we have avoided the use of the word control as much as we can: there really is no such thing as control over anything. There is, however, the grand and widely spread illusion of control. One most of us have had, or still do in certain areas, because it makes us feel secure and comfortable. Yet all you can really do is try to control yourself, and get the others to come along on the winding road of change, in the way we describe in this book. Personal leadership is letting go of the control illusion, going from outside-in to inside-out. Think about it.
Each time we think the problem is ‘out there,’ that thought itself is the actual problem to deal with. We are allowing
The organizational angle, managing change, addresses the
whatever is out there to control us. The change paradigm
type of leadership needed for a smooth transition. Once the
is ‘outside-in’: what’s out there has to change before we can
final destination is clear, how do we facilitate the transition?
The phrase ‘managing change’ gives us the impression we can
plan and control it. Because of the inherently unpredictable
and direction. The next time you have to use diagnostic
nature of the future in general and the future state we are
capabilities to ensure operational performance and service
aiming for in particular, and not forgetting the control
quality are being met. Then you want to get people in motion
illusion we mentioned above, we prefer to speak of facilitating
by coaching and employee development. And so forth.
and sometimes catalyzing to effectuate and accelerate the
Switching between these leadership competencies and styles
progress we are after.
as the circumstances require, is certainly not easy, but it
This involves professional will, modesty, ambition, devotion,
will definitely pay off putting it into practice once you have
compassion, continuity and especially a â€˜blame yourself and
committed to using a flexible style as a first step.
allow others to have successâ€™ mentality. It doesnâ€™t mean approaching or managing change as a project
A (very short) moment for honesty
is inappropriate. But listing activities, planning, setting
Of course, we have not yet met the manager with all the
milestones, finding dependencies and a critical path, are more
leadership skills described above. That is in stark contrast
a prerequisite than the plan for change itself.
to the scores of managers we have encountered that were
Ideally, a manager responsible for a change program should
convinced they did have them all.
have an exemplary character and plenty of self-control, provide feedback on behavior and results (how do you address
Summary: change happens, get over it
and discuss missing a deadline?), give trust, know where to
Change is a fact of life. Why is it so difficult for people to accept
draw the line and when to release, possess self-awareness
and deal with this constant? What is causing employees not
(SWOT, good at versus not good at) and be a transparent
to listen and be resistant to management when management
comes up with a solid plan as to why and how to survive as a
Changing circumstances, various people working in different
levels or departments, will require flexibility in your
It has to do with paying attention to what lies ahead, the
management style (our tip: as long as you stay away from
new situation, the future, and especially that which lies or
seagull, post-hoc and mushroom management). Sometimes
will soon lie behind us, the old situation, the past. It is about
you need to stand up and re-emphasize the sense of urgency
understanding what phase of transition you are in, and how
you time the announcing of, anticipation of, adapting to and
future phasing in and the past phasing out before the moment
acceptance of the future state.
As we saw, employee involvement and clear communication are key during a transition. It may sound obvious, but the need and
After announcing the future, the reasons for change and the
required time to say goodbye to the past, our standard ways of
related goals and objectives, involving stakeholders in the
working and the behavior that had been desired and rewarded
future state design increases the chances of realizing what you
up until now, are often overlooked. Don’t underestimate the
are aiming for. Employee participation and their input into to
time needed by management to really get the message across:
the plan encourages people to visualize, anticipate the new
management has usually used considerable time themselves
situation and assess the pro’s and con’s (such as what’s in it
106 to fully understand the background and potential impact of
for me?). This will pull the mental adjustment of the transition
the exercise, so allow plenty of time for the message to land
moment forward and drive adaption to the new situation, and
with your employees.
eventually acceptance of it. A transition methodology doesn’t,
The moment of transition is a critical one. We are heading
can’t and shouldn’t prescribe how it should be done, since the
for the future while still embracing the past, and exactly at
real world is always just that bit different from textbook cases
that very risky moment we go live. It’s therefore essential to
and scenarios. A methodology can however provide support
pull the mental adjustment forward. Communicating the
in accomplishing the results you’re after. There are no short-
transition plan on a central and local level and engaging people
cuts and not one single recipe for change that fits all. The art
at an early stage accelerates the psychological process of (re)
lies in tailoring the theory towards the reality as it presents
adjustment and stimulates commitment. After a change has
itself to you, using your experience and especially by keeping
been announced, involvement and using inputs will form the
your ears open: you will only discover what works when and
base to anticipate the new situation and stimulate adaption
for whom after you step on board and embark on the journey
and acceptation after the moment of transition.
of change. Before we wish you happy sailing, it’s time for the second part of this chapter, on measuring your transitional
The model on the next page illustrates this process. It outlines
results, entitled: Mission accomplished - about numbers, caterpillars,
what to do and talk about during each phase and it depicts the
butterflies, and more. See you there.
Fig.3: Transition Model
a n t i c i p at i n g
Provide transparancy on strategy and change
People inputs and involvement to create plan and prepare for future state
adapting Participation, continuation, troubleshooting and action
accepting Standardization and integration
What you know and what you donâ€™t know!
Re-emphasis on sense of urgency and goals and objectives
pull (mental) adjustment before transition moment (TM)
Operational daily issues and overall progress
Embedding in structure and evaluation of the change
leadership is needed to accelerate the psychological process of readjustment and to stimulate commitment
NASA/courtesy of nasaimages.org
â€œSpace: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.â€? Captain James T. Kirk - Star Trek (born on March 22, 2228)
Mission accomplished: on measuring transitional results About numbers, caterpillars, butterflies, and more
Often we hear that it’s not about the destination, but about the journey itself. In a sense
that is true. That statement reminds us to enjoy the trip, the scenery and the experiences on the road to reach the Ultimate Goal, a destination we often simply never reach because it’s a vision we are after. It is also a consequence of the fact that change just cannot be planned or managed, contrary to popular belief. And although it is common belief that we can predict our 110
future by reaching milestones and deliverables in a project plan, the real road to success is all about being flexible and the ability to adapt.
YESTERDAY IS HISTORY TOMORROW A MYSTERY TODAY IS A GIFT THAT’S WHY IT’S CALLED
On the other hand, organizational change is about
achieving results, staying in business, big bucks, return on investment, being ahead, survival or beating the competition, and therefore not something optional we could do on the side a bit in between the important things if we have the time who
cares (yes, we realize this is a run-on sentence, but that doesnâ€™t make it less true, and it was intentional to make a point so there).
Fast changing business requirements are forcing us to adapt to the changing reality,
and at the same time we must measure whether our efforts have been sufficient to keep up 111
with the changing requirements, need to be accelerate or tweaked in some other way. Have we met the goals and objectives we set out and signed for? Is the difference between actuals and forecast not a delta anymore? Have we been successful in combining sizing up results and seizing the day?
The numbers tell the tale, and the only way to get those
generic change goals into specific objectives, following these
numbers into the open is to introduce and perform
five steps (>fig.4):
measurements. Ultimately, measurement drives our behavior. When you monitor and act on certain metrics or performance
1. Validate vision, strategy, or both
indicators, you’re affecting employee action and behavior.
What are our shared values and beliefs, and are they still in
Measuring results and evaluating the progress of a transition
line with what we are aiming for? Which variables drive our
program not only provides you control variables, but also
business: revenue, shareholder value, costs, product quality,
stimulates people to perform and achieve the (change) targets.
customer relationship, et cetera? This is your ‘moment of truth’: here you decide whether to stick to your choices or
112 Yet, always keep in mind that real commitment only works
not. And please remember that people have a talent for
when objectives are based on shared values, not on merely
revealing any incongruence between what you say and how
broadcasting performance indicators. Like that time when we
you act, between words and actions.
were helping out in a crisis situation. At the start of a pretty tense workshop, the customer walked up to the flip-over and
2. Determine goals and objectives
wrote: People don’t do what you expect, they do what you inspect. It
This is the translation from the overall picture to concrete
went very quiet in the room. We wrote under his text: But only
goals and objectives. A strategy map using key performance
if you treat them with respect. That broke the ice and the point
areas, efficiency, effectiveness, financials and the like as
was taken by all. It is true that you can’t manage what you
input, is a useful instrument. And a Balanced Score Card
don’t measure, but make sure that everybody is involved. One
distinguishing factors such as innovation, people, process,
strategy we have had good experiences with is measuring in
customer and financials as perspective is a powerful
positive values. It’s more fun to improve the amount of zero
framework for determining specifics.
fault shipments than to reduce the amount of failures. 3. Define Performance Indicators (>fig.5) This dependency on shared values could be used as a starting
A (key) performance indicator, or KPI, is a value indicating
point when, for example, a management team wants to turn
whether an objective is being met or how a process is
Fig.4: Determine objectives
S E T TA R G E T S SE
U LT S
L A V
performing. A KPI needs to be measurable, up to date,
Fig.5: Balancing Performance Indicators
specific, motivating and, if possible, system generated. Preferably you should not use more than one or two KPIâ€™s per objective, and always try to find a mix between time, quality and cost based indicators to get a balanced set. Many times SMART is used in this respect as reminder to make goals Specific, Measurable, Ambitious, Realistic
and Time-related. 4. Set Targets The target is the standard that needs to be achieved, linked to the performance indicator. Targets need to be ambitious and challenging, and even more importantly, realistically reachable. In the end, the overall financial goals of a company are determinant in setting a target. Targets may also be defined using benchmarks, historical
measuring in itself is not sufficient. Its relevance only
data and trends. A target helps to identify which efforts need
becomes tangible when we share and use the results. Then
it can serve as the basis for lessons learned, identification of bottle-necks, for root cause analysis, continuous improve-
5. Use Results (>fig.6)
ment, innovations and new business opportunities.
Gathering data and measuring results gives insight during implementation and creates awareness. However,
A picture paints a thousand words. So communicate the results
of your measurements using graphs, photos, visual displays, coin tubes, thermometers, dashboards and so on. Make sure people have easy access to this information. Because showing activates motion. That’s promotion indeed. As Rotanova, we have achieved convincing successes in using ‘shift start-ups’ as the moment to share results within the team. It beats putting up silent graphs in the cafeteria or canteen, that’s for sure! Just talking about results can drive people towards improvement.
Change happens, get used to it. It is an ongoing process, and in this context results should be used to validate your original strategy and see whether it needs refreshment. And yes, even if and when the mission is accomplished, the cycle starts all over again. A bit like that card in Monopoly, that tells you to go back to start. Exactly. And now, having completed this stage of our journey, the time has come to take the next step, turn the wheel and visit the
Fig.6: Visual Display
inner circle, where the design and execution of interventions are in the spotlight. It will bring us closer still to facilitating the necessary transformation(s) on the road towards our ultimate destiny. Put poetically: to become butterflies without condemning our lives as caterpillars. Or, if you prefer, to boldly go where no man has gone before!*
*) Very funny Scotty, now beam down my clothes.
“What the caterpillar calls the end, the rest of the world calls a butterfly” Lao Tse (604 BC - 507 BC)
The final phase of change Of course we all know of numerous change projects that brought about many new things, while in essence nothing changed. ‘Old wine in new bottles’ or words of similar meaning. In the previous chapters, we have already established that truly changing things isn’t all that easy, and to ensure you reach what you desire is almost impossible in many situations.
PRO U C CE S
ER OM T S defined in
that we achieve the transition we TU
in a matter of mere months? The secret word here is transformation. M
make the outcome sustainable preventing the result of everyone’s hard work from evaporating EE
PRO CE S
phase, in effect realizing our change objectives? And, not at all unimportantly, how can we
ER OM T S make sure
N GE TIVE
D E an act, process E Our trusted Webster’s gives: L E A or instance of transforming or being transformed. LEA
A complete, radical or major change. Synonyms: changeover, metamorphosis, transfiguration, conversion.
PRO U C CE S
ER OM T S
Fasten your seatbelts, here goes. MA
Well, we say, let’s consult the wheel again.
PRO U C CE S
OK, you say, how?
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So there we have it: we need to facilitate a transformation.
ANGE C T IV E
PRO U C CE S
So what do we do to
PRO CE S
prioritize in order to arrive at a point from which to start. To
After having decided during the transitional phase what the
do so, you will be following five steps, being: choose, design,
impact of our choices is on the aspects Strategy, Structure,
learn, act and look: you make sure what you choose is still valid,
Leadership and Culture (the outside layer of the wheel), it is now
you design how to intervene, learn new behavior, skills, problem
time to sit down and start designing the actual interventions
solving models and so on, and – most importantly – you get
you will be executing to achieve the desired radical, complete
out onto the shop floor and act! And don’t forget to look back
and major changeover, metamorphosis, transfiguration,
when you walk away. Check if you reached what you aimed for
conversion. This is the phase where you get even closer to
and don’t overlook new opportunities. Step five is in fact input
facilitating and achieving your change objective(s): in our
for step one of the next (continuous) circle. For each of the
methodology you’re moving towards the hub or core of our
areas of the inner layer there are plenty of tools and methods 119
circular frame. So no need to reinvent the wheel, as they say,
available to help determine weak spots in the organization and
just feed your queries into the wheel.
that can be used as a catalyst for transformation.
The five areas we distinguish in the inner ring are:
Extra thoughts on Transformation
Choose, design, learn, act and look are a useful fistful in identifying
vulnerable points in the organization, helping you to
determine what needs to be ‘repaired’ (in particular how), and
define the sequence of steps towards transformation. Join us
for a refresher clarification below.
These are the areas in which the transformation will actually
Choose - As we saw earlier, making a choice is an essential step in
take place, because these are the dials on your organization’s
the process of sustainable change. Same goes here: make sure
dashboard you can tweak to influence the results you’re after.
your choice is deliberate, shared and specific. If necessary, re-
Here you determine the bottlenecks in the organization. Since
validate previous fundamental choices: are we really convinced
you can’t fix all aspects at once, it is helpful to structure and
we have decided on a choice and will go for it?
Design - The stage where you determine which interventions
The activities and interventions that need to take place in
(read: actions) are called for. Could be tailor-made, yet (partly)
order to achieve your objectives, of course go way beyond
using existing methodologies is often a very good option.
“change happens get over it”. What you need is a mix of
Lean and Six Sigma, for instance, offer toolboxes filled with
facilitating or catalyzing other desired behavior, a smoother
process, a shift in (customer) focus, more action orientation, a more flexible management style – avoiding the seagull, post-
Learn - This is the ‘back to school’ phase where you learn,
hoc and mushroom varieties as much as you can! –, enhanced
obtain new knowledge or refresh your theoretical framework.
transparency and improved cooperation. In fact you might say
Usually, the format is a training or workshop; however, taking
that the ability of an organization to change, is proportionally
120 courses and personal coaching are also popular nowadays.
dependent on its ability to transform itself. Through this transformational ability you can really get to
Act - About applying what you learned: a challenging act! The
know the strength of an organization.
phase of implementation and timing in order to bring new
Don’t forget that organizational change is not about
ideas and ways of working to life. Tremendously difficult if you
establishing a set of new givens by rejecting the current status.
don’t take or get time during regular office hours to spend on
It is more like building on the current foundation towards
transforming. It won’t happen just like that, it’s hard work,
an improved new situation. A future that was already, albeit
requiring guts, persistence, the freedom to act, and room to
dormant or in part, present in the past. Like the butterfly
make it happen.
already being part of and present in the caterpillar’s DNA. So transforming something is like unwrapping a gift, it’s fun
Look - It’s always good to have moments of reflection and look
(or should be!). We admit to never having seen a butterfly cry
whether the results that you aimed for have been realized.
because it was revealed in all its splendor, because it developed
Check back, look back, feed-back, lessons learned, next steps
into what it had always had inside as potential, became what
for follow up, and look forward. Key question to answer: did
it was supposed to be.
we reach our (change) goal(s)? And if not: what – in our actions,
Just like our butterfly, people too can reveal themselves and
but also in our assumptions – caused this?
show new, until then unexpected and unknown qualities,
talents or skills. Most of the time though, they need a push
young man with two specific talents: thinking out of the box,
and making flip-over charts in a beautiful hand combined
in the workshops we did, he slowly turned out to be a bright
was only there for the money. You know the type. However,
generally accepted image was one of a negative, blunt guy who
the change agents in a project we did for a large company. His
with the preempt that it is a true story): we dealt with this operator once, who had been put forward to become one of
PRO U C CE S
ER OM ST
A true story (always be careful when someone begins a story
in the right direction in discovering these hidden sides of
with a keen ability to outline the essence of things. No wonder he became one of the most desired participants in the
Customer: the life-blood of your business
improvement teams! All that was required for him to transform
We often forget who at the end of the day pays our salaries
and show his true colors was a context where he got (for the
and sets the targets we’ll need to meet. We hope you thought
CE which services or in is actually of added Tvalue OM to them, decide S
what he was up to. A big surprise to everyone! Transformation
Y R Uhard work we put customers here. It is customers who, if all the EG
first time) appraisal by colleagues, stimulating him to show
action. It needs support, giving confidence and responsibility
On the customer level thereCare HAseveral N G E things that will enable
happen, this energy – more often than not – needs a tangible
products they wish to buy. They are, after all, the life-blood of
is energy that becomes focused instead of scattered. For that to
trust and retention. To make that happen, you need to have a
they have! Therefore, above all, it requires compassion.
clear understanding of the mutual expectations. Know current
people don’t or can’t always show what special valuable talents
O B J E Ctowards T I V E (re)gaining customer transformation, mainly geared
for people, hard work, trial and error, and the awareness that
performance and be able to report and improve on it. Don’t
workforce there was a very negative attitude towards this
take contact with your customers for granted: organize it on
customer (the one factor their business actually depended
every level! Make sure you know what they really want, of
on!) as if they were talking about the enemy, something that
course their current needs and wishes, but more importantly,
represented evil. There’s probably no need to paint you the
what they will be wanting in the future.
picture of the effect this had on the collaboration, in fact on the entire atmosphere. After implementing and focusing on some of the instruments mentioned above, the mind-set began to
information gathering are:
shift. Walking the talk transformed key players. Their attitude
• Customer satisfaction survey
spread through the organization, and a refreshed cooperation
• Customer expectation forums
began to evolve and subsequently pay off.
• Breakfast meetings • Customer days
complimentary, if you catch our drift. Throughout the
A N Aday U every We remember a site where employees on all levels ENT GEM RE DE A used to call their customer names. And those L E names weren’t
on the agenda.
management meetings this is prominently and permanently
performance reports should reflect O B J E C Thow I V E your customer(s) perceive the quality of service. Make sure in your staff and
also really use them: your customer interaction and internal
PRO U C CE S
ER OM T S
Obviously it is essential not just to put instruments in place, but
PRO U C CE S
E G ER • Customer service Treporting
• Customer awareness programs Y
• Customer relationship management
Some of the instruments we’ve used for structured customer
Process: creating value is key
of your people.
D E into the heads, hearts instructions from the paper E A and hands
available to everyone involved. But in order to Mbe successful, M A the flow-charts you have to make sureU you get and NA ENT E working
why you have them documented with clear input and output,
to be transparent and understood by all participants. That’s
C HA N G E OBJECTIVE
PRO U C CE S
ER OM T S
C H Ato N Gpay E for. Processes need the customer is more than prepared
managed they all create value and the sum is the total value
operational and overall performance. If your processes are well
S SE M
E G must R Tand ME
PRO as one be seen of the CE C O S T S cornerstones of your organization. They form the basis of model, processes are
S T your execution If you know what and how you Y should deliver,
Involve your workforce in describing, developing and improving
O B J Eshould C T I V E be measured. Especially your business as usual that
Some managers are convinced that people don’t do what you
when transforming you need to have a way to follow up on
manage what you measure.
of measurement. And indeed measuring your performance is an essential part of organizing C HA Nyour G E business. And it isn’t just
Cards, Performance Measurement programs or other means
PRO ER CE C Balanced Score has had their fair share OM of KPI dashboards, S T S
Measurement: a significant driver C H A N Gof E behavior
O B Jmeasure! E C T I V E Just be sure you You can’t manage what you don’t
carry along communication and contact between people.
Y We think it’s a safeG gamble to assumeRthat U each one of us TU
STR working together in groups, in Ueach other’s G Ygaining insight E P R R T CE theC vehicle to ME ProcessesOare processes and handover moments.
forget the former will only work if you treat people with
aware of the enormous potential that comes from people
departments towards a process driven organization, being
UC ROC ES
expect from them, they do what you inspect! Those managers
processes from an early stage. Use them to align your various
A decisive factor in the success (or failure) of the introduction
urge to use 1,000 confusing colors (or hand out sunglasses to
and use of performance management is the way you involve
their people to reduce the glare).
your employees. Make sure that what you will be measuring
You should try to make performance measurement part of your
is of concern to, and can be influenced by them. It is our
daily start up meeting or any other similar ritual. When you
experience that using process measurements in either the
start using figures (or even better graphs, much more visual) in
daily routine or as input for improvement initiatives, gives you
one of these meetings make sure to use understandable figures,
an above average chance of this part of the wheel being a help
available on time, to be influenced by employees, relevant for
instead of a pain in the butt. In this light we recall a workshop
the performance of the team and with a correlation between
where one of the participants became very angry to the point
what we measure and want to achieve. Make sure KPI’s are
124 of being aggressive, because in his opinion KPI’s were just a
really used and kept alive.
management toy: if you failed to meet a KPI, your head was going to be chopped off. He absolutely refused to look at his
Management: managing the split
process and come up with measurements of his own. Yet in the
Managers are expected to be informational (the visionary),
follow-up workshop he recognized measuring truly could be
interpersonal (the coach) and decisional (the chief) unified in
used to improve a process and when he found out, he stated he
one. An almost nonexistent combination, and quite often the
would ‘stop crying along with the wolves’. From that moment
root cause for many organizational defects. And even if they
on he became an ambassador to use KPI’s.
aren’t at fault, they still get the blame.
On another occasion, we were visiting a business relation to
John le Carré once stated: “A desk is a dangerous place from
see how things were progressing. They had introduced their
which to view the world.” That is one pretty essential manage-
KPI’s just a while back. After we had climbed the stairs, there it
ment lesson in one pretty short sentence. In all the years that
was: the visual display, with umpteen indicators, in screaming
we have been assisting organizations now, we have observed
full-color, completely confusing! We counted no less than 47
many different management styles (don’t worry, we won’t
KPI’s, and were questioning which one was key. Management
mention the seagull, post-hoc and mushroom varieties again,
had obviously done their homework, but had forgotten to keep
or maybe one more time). And although different situations
it simple, small and practical. Nor had they suppressed the
call for different styles – and style flexibility is one of your most
To conclude this paragraph, a second essential management lesson that we all know and is so obvious it is almost like
desired assets if you want to succeed as a manager – the most
kicking in an open door. Having said that, here it is: lead
fundamental factor we saw time and again is the importance
by example! One way or another, people do look up to their
of being present on shop floor level. Literally. Where the
management and copy what they see and feel. So why not lead
action is. All too often managers lose themselves in E-mails,
reports, meetings, minutes of meetings and spreadsheets. But how are you going to help your employees transform if you’re
Employees: connected people accelerate impact
as distant from them as the earth is from the sun, if you’re not
Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend us your ears. What we mean
in direct contact with them? In many cases, so-called laptop
is: this next bit is especially important. When implementing
management is the basis for crises and mistrust. Be there for
an organization-wide transformation, focus your efforts on
your staff, they do need you.
the most connected employees to help generate momentum
We employ several instruments for intervening in the
and accelerate impact. Interventions on employee level are
ANAGEM course the process U development E N T canE also be (supported by) RE D training and education. EA
personal improvement plans intoM tangible actions. And of 125
the four-quadrant core quality model will help to convert
In personal coaching sessions combining competences with
C HA N G E OBJECTIVE
combined with a better understanding how communication
give a very powerful boost in their collaboration. Especially if
ES TO you share theS outcomes within a team. And this input can
UC PROteam R tool for It is also an building activities when T E excellent C ME TU
ER OM ST
S T Rand management profiles. competences, Yinteraction styles
PRO U C CE S
management arena. One of them is a test giving insight into
communication – read: exchanging ideas, thoughts, hopes and fears, et cetera – is still key, we will explore the fine art of exchange in a separate chapter. The critical factor is to make
by introducing regular start-up meetings and assigning
staff members owners of their own challenges and successes.
E-mail portals per shift responsible to inform those team
Have them identify how to improve satisfaction, get into
members without E-mail addresses (yes, believe it or not:
motion and push actions they can’t influence to management,
there are still many companies where the nature of the job
making sure they won’t put everything on your plate under
doesn’t require E-mail access). People felt better informed,
the motto that you will find a solution because, after all, that’s
more connected, and as a result productivity went up and
what you’re being paid for!
absenteeism dropped. Because this way of interacting was thought out by the team themselves, they subsequently
Listen up: we were once facilitating this department, and
kept it alive, no need to remind them, let alone control and
organized an employee survey. After the results had come
check them! Stimulate your people through workshops now
in, it was decided to tackle the low score on communication
and then, sessions to generate improvement initiatives (idea
D E A fundamental surveys, and communication workshops. LSince E
M 126 competences in combination with the aforementioned core MA T N U N E E GEM quality model, as well as R employeeAengagement or satisfaction
Some of the tools that work well here are those focusing on
CHANGE OB J E C T I V E
people to connect: connect to theCnew H A Nideas, G E to each other, and
The essence here is to invent ways to make it possible for
ER OM ST
PRO U C CE S
with the new situation without judging the old.
PRO ER CE Ccan identify chapter on Transition, it is essential OM that employees S T S
T R saw in the Y the process of becoming aGbutterfly. As we already U
all about helping people to transform, guiding them into
boxes really don’t have the same effect) and the like. Introduce
mixing and matching the relevant actions and interventions
tools enabling connectivity and enhance communication.
using the Wheel of Change. With these building blocks we
And upgrade contact between management and workforce by
create a program comprising time to learn (as in workshops)
implementing start-up meetings, using a visual display (with
and training on the job, plus giving and getting feedback on
the relevant team performance indicators and improvement
actions and results. To invoke the necessary transformation(s)
initiatives). It supports sharing what you know about the
needed to realize the required changes. It is time for activities
change(s) in progress. Even more so, in case you don’t have the
full picture, don’t hesitate to tell what you don’t know or is still uncertain. People are not left into the dark and speculations
Regardless of the approach you take, always keep in mind
will be minimized. So be sure to use every inch of shop-floor-
that your behavior influences others and has a considerable 127
intelligence: it will create energy, ownership and more likely
impact on the interventions being executed. Design of these
than not far better solutions.
interventions doesn’t need to be complex, but should be small and simple to keep it manageable. Also define easy to
In a nutshell
understand expectations and results, derived from the overall
Designing a way of working to accomplish a transformation
goals and objectives. Put emphasis on continuous learning.
is not unlike cooking a gourmet meal. While working in the
Focus on daily interactions, here and now. And get your
kitchen, you mix and match ingredients, techniques and
communication on the road, because, as stated before, it is key
skills, based on knowledge, experience, and what the Germans
for a successful transformation. We’ll be exploring the fine art
call Fingerspitzengefühl. We’ll save you the trouble of having
of effective communication in the next chapter, aptly entitled
to Google it: Fingerspitzengefühl literally means ‘finger tips
The importance of exchange (read: effective communication). Just
feeling’, denoting intuitive, instinctive sensitivity in judging
making sure we will still be on the same page, that’s all. You
a situation or person(s), and doing what is appropriate in
may turn the page now. Or go for a coffee-break. Up to you. As
the given circumstances. Call it gut feeling, but as far as we’re
always. Don’t forget to come back, though.
concerned that term doesn’t have the flair of the German word. Getting back to transformation, it comes down to
NASA/courtesy of nasaimages.org
â€œThe single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.â€? George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)
The importance of exchange (read: effective communication) Hstn, w hv prblm Th mjrt f ll sd nd bd thngs hppnng n ths wrld r smhw cnnctd wth mbgts n cmmnctn. Of course you added the appropriate vowels in the previous sentence so that it reads: The majority of all sad and bad things happening in this world are somehow connected with ambiguities in communication. In plain language: miscommunication causes a lot of crap. Or, in consonants: mscmmnctn css lt f crp.
The sad thing is, crap that might have been avoided had there been no miscommunication. Likewise, communication makes the difference between a crap organization, an OK organization, and an excellent organization. The oil that keeps the machinery lubricated and functioning, the glue that makes people connect to the organization, to each other, management and the bigger picture, is effective 130
communication: the exchange of (shared) values, information and ideas. We donâ€™t just mean on the level of how well people interact communicatively, but also when it comes to the timing and structure of communication. No matter how good you think you and your organization are at communicating, it is our experience there is always room for improvement, if not a whole lot of room, a whopping room, possibly two or more rooms. But letâ€™s not get carried away. The absolute necessity to time and structure and upgrade your communication only increases once you move into the field of change, transition and transformation. So let us dig into the matter.
A genuine case of ‘it wasn’t me’ in combination with ‘that’s not my department’
put workable time stamps in place. At the same time a
There once was a company where shipping performance
attended workshops to further improve their communication
was way off the mark. The assembly lines produced masses
of goods, but getting them shipped proved to be a problem.
The backlog that had been bothering everybody for so long
There was nothing wrong with the planning, nor with
soon became history, reporting was in place and henceforth
physically handling shipments. When we dug a little bit
shipping became a smooth process. And in case of incidental
deeper, it turned out that the way the different processes
hiccups, people knew who to contact, how to make contact
had been defined and timed was the bottleneck. In addition,
and solve problems.
handover of responsibility was not clearly defined. Structural
The entire process had created ownership in some shape or 131
communication between the various departments was
form on all levels.
communication structure was put in place and the employees
missing, so when things went wrong, there was always someone else to blame. And there was a lot of finger pointing
It is impossible not to communicate! Everything we do or
In order to solve this puzzle we began with a session to get
don’t do, say or don’t say sends out a message, influencing
the employees involved mapping all related processes. We
our surroundings and the people in it. If you go to attend that
literally put them in a room (yes, you guessed it: the room for
horrible meeting – although there’s work on your desk piled
improvement) and had them interact, work together on what
up all the way to the ceiling – and you keep your mouth shut
was their daily routine.
in an attempt to minimize time lost, be aware that you’re still
We then took the resulting flows and put time schedules on it,
heard. But if you don’t show up, that’s making a statement
revealing a serious gap between two main processes. You had
too. Who said that it was possible not to communicate? It
to be blind not to see that, and much to our delight everyone
in the room proved to have excellent eyesight. Next, the teams sat together and brought their processes
Miles of bookshelves and teras of bytes have been dedicated
in line, defined the output, clear handover moments and
to communication. It would require several lifetimes to just
read up on all those theories, and there is yet so much more
It’s also where our feelings enter the equation. Do I feel that I
to read, so many other interesting subjects to explore, and so
am being heard, does this conversation seem to be useful, do
little time. So we try to keep it simple for you.
I feel tension and holding back, do I feel the other or others are
We basically use two levels of communication, present in
taking me seriously? Attitude covers interaction and emotion.
every conversation, from your everyday small talk session to philosophical dialogues. Trust us. Always be careful though,
when someone postulates something and asks you to trust
How well or badly communication takes place, depends on
them that it is true, but hey: would we lie to you? (We heard that!)
many factors. Of course we already touched on the fact that exchange of values, information and ideas is what we are
132 The first level is Content: it refers to more or less tangible
after: communication as a two-way street based on mutual
and quantifiable aspects, such as how long will it take, when,
contact and a shared intention to truly understand what the
where, what’s the purpose, who will participate and to facts
other person is trying to say. There is a crucial difference
and figures, still more or less quantifiable aspects, but they
between having talked with someone and having exchanged
are placed in the context of arguments and opinions, and of
The tone of someone’s voice may or may not correspond to the
Assumptions are a different kettle of fish altogether. We
words they are saying, and that in turn might or might not
all have them, use them, and they aren’t really facts or
be supported by the expression on their face or movements
statements otherwise supported by hard evidence. In many
of their hands. Are we hearing what the other is saying? Or
cases, assumptions can cause a great deal of mscmmnctn,
are we adding background noise to their message by all kinds
read: trouble. Content is about procedure and subject(s).
of previous experiences in similar situations, or personal interpretations of that look on their face? And was that a look
The second level is Attitude and relates to how we
on their face, or is that just the way they look anytime they are
communicate: is everyone involved, what’s the balance and
in a situation like this? Also: am I in a certain mood or mode,
ratio between talking and listening, are all the relevant themes
that colors the message coming towards me?
on the table. You could call this the process of communication.
In other words: attitude determines whether in terms of
content you move forward together, or dig trenches and
Perception, COP for short, although it has very little to do with
prepare for battle.
keeping the streets safe and maintaining the law in general.
If communication remains a one way street, there will be no
Yet you might say it does have to do with keeping a mindful
exchange of information, ideas or values. The Art of Exchange,
eye on how you communicate. Let’s take a closer look.
or effective communication, can thus be formulated as: make content and attitude a conscious part of your communication,
Beginning with observation (see), this cycle is a simplified
and invite others to do the same: then you’ll be equipped to
view of what takes subconscious place in our minds. It’s like a
engage in a constructive dialogue.
communication autopilot. And as with other autopilots, this one is very useful too, but there are situations when it might
Going through the (e)motions in our minds
get you into trouble that could have been avoided if you had 133
The implication is that many of the confrontations we have
been more aware of it and grabbed the steering wheel.
in meetings, boardrooms, teams, around the copy machine or wherever, are fought on content although the actual
The cycle has various stages
issue could very well be in the field of attitude. If you have
1. Observation is what you see, hear, read, perceive all
embarrassed your colleague in the weekly management
through the day. Literally what you observe around you.
meeting because he had made a stupid mistake in his
2. Interpretation, what do you think about the things that
calculations, he will most likely not vote for your wonderful
you observe, your opinion, perspective. This is where
proposal the week after. He might be all for your idea with his
your view of the world, your version of reality enters
mind, yet will reject it with his heart. In general, we are not
the bigger picture. All the things you have experienced,
aware of such patterns in our mental system. So what we need
thought, said, heard et cetera, determine that personal
is a way of expressing ourselves that combines content and
perspective of yours. Other people probably have their
attitude, without offending or threatening the other party,
very own personal perspective and version of reality,
and without diluting our message.
which they hold to be just as valuable and true as yours,
To serve up some more food for thought, let’s have a look
if not more so. Put differently: the past colors our view of
at these mechanisms using a model we call the Cycle of
the present. Just be aware of that.
Fig.7: Cycle of Perception
3. F eeling. Now the fun begins, because this is where
in a way that is logical and consistent to us, because we just
emotions are added to our interpretations, to our
went through the consecutive steps. Unfortunately (again,
experiential learning. Within a fraction of a second, our
depending on how you look at it) most of our fellow human
interpretation presents us with emotions that influence
beings can only see our faces, and not what goes on inside our
the further process.
heads. So the only thing they will perceive is the end-result of
4. N ext we determine what our (re)action will be. We can
the loop. And because they have no idea of the intermediate
choose. Fed by our interpretations and feelings we will
steps, this can lead to misunderstanding, anxiety, rejection,
make up our mind as to what we will do or say. Stimulus
anger and aggression.
and response. This is a crucial phase, one where we differ from all other creatures on earth: we have the ability to
Art with a capital ‘E’
pause between the stimulus and the ensuing moment of
So the Art of Exchange lies in paying attention to both content
response. We can first think about which response we
and attitude, as well as using the algorithm of the Cycle of
are going to choose. This is valid for the fundamental
Perception. The aim is a constructive dialog instead of having
choices we make in our lives as well as for the day-to-day
a debate, argument or discussion (in the classical sense of the
interaction we engage in. It is good to realize we don’t
word: to split, break up, divide). And by mentioning the steps
have to act on impulse, on the spur of the moment,
you take during the cycle, you enable your counterpart(s) to
instantaneously, but that we can take the time to reflect
follow your line of thought, inviting the other to connect, and
and then choose the course of action that best fits our
stay in that mode. (>fig.8)
Therefore, contrary to the way most of us have been brought
5. A nd then we finally express ourselves. In words or actions.
up, there will be no winner or loser. This way of communicating is important since in our experience it’s enabling sustainable change.
To make things even more interesting, this sequence, these steps, occur thousands of times a day and in fractions of
New process maps or up to date quality manuals are not
seconds. Something happens and wham, we react. We react
sufficient. Of course they help, but the only way to achieve
Fig.8: Ladder of Perception
1. start with the observable data your statement is based on 2. add meaning to this data 3. state how you feel about things 4. draw your conclusion: make a suggestion
sustainable change is to establish a culture in which you can actively address and discuss the do’s and don’ts of the required changes.
Recap Problems in organizations and failing change programs can often be ascribed to miscommunication. At the same time a different way of communicating is the basic prerequisite for successful change. In our (organizational) culture we are not used to, or comfortable with, just simply speaking our minds if we feel a discussion or meeting is not going well. We tend to hide and cover such feelings by suggesting another meeting structure or proposing to adjust the agenda (and stick to it this time!). And again we comfortably flee in the realm of content, instead of facing the attitude. On top of this, most of the time we shoot from the hip instead of reflecting on the process of stimulus and response. If we would only be fractionally more aware of these two mechanisms – content & attitude, stimulus & response – and the fact that our mental structure is more dominant than we think, our interaction would significantly improve. Nd thn lts hp nd pr tht xchng rll wll tk plc!* *) And then let’s hope and pray that exchange really will take place!
â€œIt is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to changeâ€? Charles Robert Darwin (1809 - 1882)
GOING RIGHT TO THE SOURCE 141
The men from Rotanova reveal their secrets in an exclusive interview Of course, if you have six interviewees subjected to in-depth questions on such trivial matters as the future state of the world and the process of change, then it is only fair that you yourself step up to the plate and come up with some answers. Letâ€™s hear what Fontein and KĂ¤ller have to say about what they help organizations do: change and improve.
Paul and Erwin: what do you see as the necessity for organizations today to change, and what, if anything, has changed in that respect over the last 10 years?
ease with which as an organization you are able to improve
The sense of urgency has increased. Organizations were forced
their clients are going through. But in essence, that is reactive:
to adapt to economic cycles and adjust to changing markets,
something happens in the marketplace or with a customer, and
customer requirements and employee needs. Currently it’s
that is the impetus for us to change in order to accommodate
about anticipating a constantly changing environment and
the marketplace or client. What we promote is improving the
preparing for tomorrow. We expect this trend will continue.
ability to change, or, as Martin Pabon worded it, improving
142 Especially if you consider we are only at the beginning of a
your ability to improve. In a perfect world that would mean
new technology era and the shift of the economic epicenter
that everybody on whatever level is constantly reflecting on
from West to East.
themselves and their work activities: in which ways could I
and adapt. That’s one step further. What we see these days is that companies are genuinely aware of the fact that they have to change along with the changes markets, consumers and
make it easier, better, safer, more fun! That requires not only
OK. What does that mean for the 10 years ahead of us?
ability, but guts as well. Having the guts, daring to reflect on
Today, people are considered to be our most valuable asset.
yourself and the way you function. Being critical, zooming
At least, that’s what they – managers – say. Tomorrow, read
in, chewing on things, ruminate, scrutinizing, examining,
the year 2022, we expect the capacity to change to be the most
inspecting. That is more than just taking a closer look:
valuable asset. Organizations that are changing instead of
this is about deeper observation, weighing and perceiving.
able to change if needs be, will have a competitive advantage.
Companies should be extremely aware of which phase of
They are more or less liquid organizations moving with the
their lifecycle they’re in, in order to be able to preempt the
tide, level or stream, having the capabilities to proactively
next phase before it bites them in the bum. “O boy, we’re
position themselves according to what’s required, without any
not a pioneering bunch anymore, we’ve matured: maybe we
interference, program or project. Change as a USP. In the future
should begin to adapt to being mature.” A smart company is
the issue won’t be so much to be changing continuously, but
aware of the phase they’re in and anticipate the next phase:
that you are continuously honing your ability to change, the
they perform market research, measure indicators, quantify.
Now that’s what we call a liquid organization: don’t react, but
requires a good dose of natural ability, and that’s something
pre-act. Another characteristic of a liquid organization is the
you can’t pick up with an MBA. As the saying goes, even if you
fact that when circumstances require it, someone else than
learn the tricks, that doesn’t mean you have mastered the art.
the general manager is allowed to be leading. If circumstances misses or mister finance gets and takes that lead. In a liquid
Which developments do you think we’ll be seeing in corporate land in general?
team, this time you may be following, next time you could be
Organizations will increasingly continue to focus on core
at the helm. Professionals need to be able to take a step back if
activities, the things they are good at.
needed, instead of claiming their position at all cost. They need
If the focus is for instance on technology, they will go partnering
to be able to accept that others move into leading positions
with a branding or marketing network organization, or look for 143
based on the competencies required to be successful as a team,
opportunities to outsource the non-core activities. The need for
instead of playing out the classic structure based on job title. In
flexibility will increase as liquid organizations will become the
line with the liquid organization is the increasing importance
answer. They are able to recognize what’s required and move
of management style flexibility. It is not about you taking the
the appropriate professionals forward while the other team-
right decisions, but facilitating that decisions are made in the
members are willing to be supportive and even be servant to
right way. The times are over that you were the boss because
the new priorities. Accepting that your colleague ‘below you
you knew everything: there’s just simply too much information
in the line’ is now in the frontline and that you are part of
out there, and there are others better at certain tasks than you
the auxiliary troops. Knowing that you could be the one ahead
are. There no longer is a monopoly on information, and with
of the troops tomorrow. These organizations will easily switch
that, you can no longer derive automatic power or authority
gear from operational, to project, to financial, and so on.
require finance to be the leading focus of our strategy, then
like in the olden days, when bosses knew what was good for you and you accepted that because they knew more than you.
One of the enablers to get there, is standardization. When you
Or that’s what they had you believe. Management has become
are able to standardize 80% of your processes, managing them
a field of discipline in its own right, an art in the old sense
will only take 20% of your time. That means you have 80% of
of the word, a profession, a craft. And being a good manager
your remaining time to spend on innovation, improvement,
“You can’t force people to change: “go on, be flexible, now!” It ain’t gonna work”
a hundred year old principle invented by Vilfredo Pareto from
Will that culture then meet the demands posed by the circumstances?
Italy. And then there is the topic of innovation. During the
The current generation youngsters is averse to hierarchy. Yet
past ten years, innovation was associated with technological
companies like Shell and BP are still a great starting place for
developments and new discoveries. We are already seeing
any young professional and trainee. That’s where you lay the
a slight shift towards what’s called social innovation. New
foundation for your career. On the part of those companies, it
concepts, ideas and organizations that meet social needs of all
requires them to facilitate what Jan Post calls Generation Z:
kinds – from working conditions and education to community
make sure they get to do their work the way they enjoy doing
development and health, will become more important. The ease
it. You’d be surprised for instance to see how many companies
with which you can immediately start a new business today,
still have one dedicated cubicle with one dedicated computer 145
without investments in buildings, offices, furniture, servers,
that allows you to have external Internet access. So if you want
et cetera, – all you need is a laptop or tablet, and Internet
to check your Facebook, Twitter or the like, you have to get
connectivity – will stimulate these types of developments even
in line at the dedicated cubicle during your lunch break. But
today’s generations multitask their work and private activities,
exceptions and, last but not least, coaching your team. This is
they switch from one to the next in one breath. That’s also the
How would you describe today’s corporate culture, and which developments do you observe?
way they watch TV: they don’t zap linearly from channel 1 to
The culture of today is still mainly about planning and control.
parallel on different channels at the same time. They have a
Most organizations, especially the bigger ones, are machine
sense for knowing when a storyline is such that they can safely
bureaucracies as many companies still seem to have their roots
switch to another program and come back at the right time as
in the industrial age. Hierarchy, task specialization, functional
the storyline develops further. And at work, they zap between
structures with (staff) departments and, above all, stringent
SAP, Facebook, Excel, Twitter and LinkedIn just as easily. They
rules! And despite all the CRM (software) implementations,
may even need that sort of ‘distraction’ to be able to perform
internal orientation instead of external customer focus still
at their best. So we say, give them full external Internet access,
let them zap all they want, because it won’t be detrimental
channel 2 et cetera, but they watch three of four programs in
to their productivity, on the contrary. They will only commit
disappeared, were taken over, disassembled, and either went,
if a company has a vision. They primarily look for a place
or are still going through extreme difficulties.
to be. A place to work comes second. Apple, for instance, is Think different. They make this come true with user friendly
What do you consider to be the ‘hard’ side of change, and what are the catches here?
and well-designed products. Yet what they make are still
We distinguish strategy and structure as the two ‘hard’ factors
commodities: computers, phones, mp3 players. In essence
for organizational change.
not very special or differentiating, but lots of people still love
Defining a strategy and a structure is relatively easy. The
them. Or take Google’s success formula: powerful customer-
difficulty is that we tend to impose them, and yep: as to be
mission driven. The base for its success is an appealing belief:
146 focused technology with an eye towards
expected, they either won’t work, or don’t
making money and an inspiring working
bring about what was intended. Any (new)
environment. These are today’s attractive companies. Innovation only flourishes in those places where people really want to be: no hierarchy, no rules, no complex structures and certainly no rigidity. This could also be a competitive advantage with respect to Chinese organizations, as long as Western
Attention Please! Achievements in the past are no guarantee for future results
societies are prepared to invest in education
strategy should be in line with, in fact the logical result of shared values and beliefs. If this is not the case, then forget it: people just won’t buy it. An imposed structure feels like an off-the peg suit that you need to wear regardless of whether it fits. The best structure is the one chosen by a department or team members
and (personal) development. In controlled and hierarchical
looking for a framework within which they will be able to do a
cultures there is little or no room for out of the box thinking.
good job: tailor made and slim-fit!
But even today’s success stories won’t survive if change doesn’t
In addition, we tend to overestimate the influence of a
get internalized, becomes part of their nature, engrained in
structure. It is not about the structure, but about the value
a company’s DNA, its genes and culture. Remember: two-
we add for our customers, and that should be the main driver.
thirds of the in search of excellence companies of old have by now
On the other hand, mapping a process and determining in
what network you operate, or untying an organization into
control freaks eager to highlight their people management
autonomous cells, will certainly help provide a clear picture of
skills in their résumés. The successful companies of tomorrow
what your position is, could or should be, in the value chain.
need to be organized in such a way that it is fun to work there, in the broadest sense of the word. Pay isn’t necessarily
In the future, which demands will be made by and of employees?
the decisive factor for professionals in middle and higher
As of 2020, Generation Z will enter the shop floor, cubicles,
employees a clear career path as part of keeping people
meeting rooms and virtual companies worldwide. How will you
interested and binding them to the organization. Training
manage employees who can’t be motivated, only inspired? This
and grooming people, although in reality, in a many cases
is a generation online, always and everywhere. They don’t shop
you’re training and grooming people for their next employer. 147
for products, but are on a search for inspiration. To them, social
So there’s also an employer out there who’s training and
media aren’t a nifty new development, but a primary need.
grooming someone for you. Your added value as a manager is
This generation of agile young dolphins, as Jan Post called them,
connecting people, keeping them interested and binding them
believes in what they want. They travel the world for leisure,
to your organization, for as long as that lasts. With technique,
living and jobs, go for sustainable and green companies, and
technology alone, with systems and the like, you won’t win
demand on-line entertainment and temptation. And don’t
the war. Manager, thou shalt be found on the shop floor, not
forget that they grew up with the sense that they are part
behind thy laptop.
positions any longer. As Jos Kuijpers said, it is about offering
of multiple networks, even their family is one: they will be and not process-oriented.
What do you consider to be the ‘soft’ side of change, and what are the catches here?
These are pretty convincing arguments for anyone who wants
In our view, culture and leadership are the soft aspects of
to be successful in the near future, to set up flat, process based,
change. But please don’t make the mistake to take ‘soft’
transparent, flexible, mission driven network organizations
here in the marshmallow sense: culture and leadership can
managed by authentic leaders that fit the demands of their
be pretty rough territory! With culture we mean the written
time. We highly doubt that there will be any place left for
and particularly unwritten rules of engagement within
unpleasantly surprised to find organizations are disconnected
â€œManager, thou shalt be found on the shop floor, not behind thy laptopâ€?
a group. They determine whether you feel ‘at home’ or
strategy, how are you going to communicate it, what are the
merely ‘a stranger passing by’. Culture creates the place to
consequences for your culture and management style, and
be, creates the community. It is not easy to influence this
how will you organize that. And so on.
aspect of organization, yet it is of vital importance to build a positive culture, and absolutely essential when aiming for
Another example to demonstrate that you must take the
sustainable change. For a while, engaging in culture change
bigger picture into account. A client wanted to give teams
was a hype. Now culture – the unwritten do’s and don’ts – is
more responsibility, and reward them with team bonuses. Yet
extremely important, Ferry Rondeel made that perfectly clear.
the collective labor agreement they fell under, didn’t allow for
However, if you don’t commit to fundamental choices and
team bonuses. Then you see that structure impedes the change
their consequences, then you really aren’t changing anything
you’re after. It is all about the consequences of your choice(s), 149
cultural. An illustration of this is the time we were working for
we have said that before, but we feel we can’t repeat it enough.
a municipality. They had decided to improve their service to
And culture is of vital importance within the spectrum. The
local entrepreneurs by reducing the number of counters and
‘hard’ side of change and improvement is usually not that
windows to a single one: one-stop shopping was to be the new
much of a problem: new forms, a new system or structure,
principle. Everybody involved happy, you would think. It was
reminders to people that in January we expect this from
up to us to come up with a training manual. Of course that’s
them, in February that, in March the next thing, and you’ll be
what we did, but we also stressed the need to adapt to a new
evaluated at the end of the year. No big deal. But it’s the ‘soft’
way of managing this department, as well as adopting a new
side that proves to be a bottleneck: what is the actual impact
way of working. Read: change the existing culture. Because the
of the things we want to implement, is it possible at all at
people who had been working here for years, had been trained,
this time to implement what we want, seeing the culture and
managed, evaluated and rewarded based on a certain mindset
values and do’s and don’ts we currently have? That’s where the
and best practices, were all of a sudden required to become
challenges lie and the pitfalls hide. You can’t force people to
more entrepreneurial and autonomous by following a course.
change: “go on, be flexible, now!” It ain’t gonna work.
Now, even though it isn’t easy, it isn’t impossible either, if you
The challenge here is how you create a corporate identity that
accept the consequences of the choice you make: what is your
positively challenges people to become part of the ballgame.
You need to create ownership through professionalism and
to (make people) connect, transparency, and being a good
shared values that inspire and create loyalty. Make them core
listener. Yep, these are your soft, empathic skills, not hard
values and your focus! But how sustainable is this? Heroic
wired tricks of the trade.
phraseology is easy, but you need more than empty words to reach the goal line: so how do you organize your actions
The other side is what we would call ‘personal leadership’:
and processes to give your words substance and make them
how do you act and behave as an individual? What drives you
come true? What is the winning play, to stay in the ballgame
and how do you interact with your environment? What are
metaphor? During periods of crisis we see how rapidly human
the choices and commitments you make, and how do they fit
capital goes from most valuable asset to highest cost driver.
in with the corporate strategy? What’s your role in the team,
150 – Uh, who mentioned core values again…?
(how) are you shaping personal development?
And leadership should facilitate it: you need a quarterback organization: the boss, front man. He or she comes in two
What is the role of leadership in a change process, as you see it?
flavors: leader, or manager. Visionary, or addicted to planning
The leader, quarterback or guide, should bring professionalism
and control. Acting out of mutual respect and trust as a base
and added value. He or she should be able to make people
for collaboration, or dictating orders.
connect and collaborate. And to do so, a lot of enthusiasm is
with two sides here. Side one symbolizes the hierarchy in the
required to get the organizational energy flowing. Key here We need to be aware of the fact that soon a generation will
is the emphasis on helping people to transform and guiding
be entering our organizations that is not particularly fond of
the processes. Facilitate the way decisions are taken and
hierarchy. They believe in their own strength and (net)works.
executed. We went into the ‘soft’ side of leadership above. But
They will join your team on the basis of shared values and
from time to time, when needed: be the Boss! You just need to
corporate identity. Loyalty based upon professionalism instead
know when to be boss and when to be guide, or quarterback.
of management positions. This generation doesn’t want to
Personal leadership in this perspective is more the ability to
be led, but guided, and their guide needs to have a different
activate and motivate yourself (intrinsic motivation!) during
set of skills as compared to today’s leaders, such as the ability
the change process. Self-knowledge and authenticity are called
for here. Only if you display these, people will tend to accept
for example. If you see the changes we have witnessed over
the past decade, that is huge. We can hardly imagine how it’s going to be ten years from now. Managers in their mid-thirties
Which demands will be made of future managers?
today, are going to be in for a real challenge technologically
We think we will see a shift from managing uncertainty
speaking. When it comes to the majority of companies, in 2022
towards managing temporality. Managers have to be more able
we expect them to be basically doing what they have been
to work in varying teams, using different leadership styles. It is
doing, based on old thinking when it comes to culture and
all about connecting people through time and space. Being the
profitability. Although some of them will attempt cosmetic
guide, quarterback, facilitator. Direct feedback and interaction,
changes, it will still be old wine in new bottles. When the
using a broad pallet of communication skills, will become
market is down, you can always cut cost by getting rid of yet 151
more important. In addition, for managers, possessing social
another department. But asking yourself the fundamental
skills will become more dominant than having specialized
questions, like “how come that we keep making choices that
(technical) knowledge. “I have a dream” instead of “I have a
keep not working, why?”, that seems to remain off the radar
plan” is going to attract potential employees, and managers
for most companies and managers.
need to express this. The all-knowing manager will be history.
The current question of “how do I change” will become “how
It’s simply not possible (and not needed) anymore to funnel
will we sustain and improve our ability to change.” It’s about
information. Everyone has access to it!
static versus dynamic, rigid versus organic. Reactive versus
Steven van Agt painted the picture: there increasingly will be
proactive, fixed versus liquid. Change management will
less stability as we know it today. At the same time there will
become management (again): change as integrated part of the
be a growing call for authenticity when it comes to leadership
toolbox, not item 13 on the to do list. The need for management
on all levels, plus the realization that it will be more and more
teams with a mix of different competencies challenging each
impossible to know everything: managers will be generalists.
other will increase, even become a must. Van der Hoeven (ex
The managers of tomorrow, like never before, need to know
CEO at Ahold) recently admitted that a major reason for their
where to get additional information, and be able to make
failure, about ten years ago, was caused by having too many
others succeed and exceed themselves. And look at technology
similar types in the board.
What are the key factors that make a change project successful? Of course it isn’t up to us to say ‘support by Rotanova’, yet we have never shied away from the truth either. Anyway. In change programs, people having fundamental knowledge about the transition process as well as group culture, will become increasingly more important. Successful change, transformation, requires a continuous focus on handing over, distributing this knowledge throughout the
152 teams involved in this process. And as soon as there is change in progress, let the Wheel of Change speak, make fundamental choices and stick to the consequences in all facets. Consider the impact on your strategy. Which kind of leadership is required. Which is the optimal culture for us to perform these changes in. Next choose the best way to build your structure. And make sure that people are informed and involved in all aspects of the transition. Create an environment where people are willing and able to work and communicate in a constructive way: change should be fun, not scary, nor a threat. To support this, it helps if you show the employees involved the new opportunities this transition brings (what’s in it for me). New tasks, new responsibilities, new jobs, even if that means going outside the company. Have Human Resources play a (pro)
“If you learn the tricks, that doesn’t mean you’ve mastered the art”
active role in this. Give employees responsibility for their own
Forget the spreadsheets with wonderful ideas, the new systems
place to work and place to be: it is, after all, their jobs they
and structures and forms: if the communication culture in a
will be shaping towards a, hopefully, better future. For that to
company doesn’t change, change and improvement won’t
even be possible, being able to communicate, being allowed
happen, will not last, will not take root. Because what you’re
to communicate, and having the guts to communicate, that’s
after is new behavior, and if that isn’t taking place, you should
what it is about. Wasn’t it Eduard Molkenboer who pointed
be calling each other on it, helping the other to examine why
out he found communication to be the hardest of all aspects
he does or doesn’t do certain things, and negotiate how things
in an improvement trajectory, or even in general? What he
could be improved. That’s the art of exchange, and the hardest
illustrated is that communication is to generic a blanket term.
art to master. And in doing so, don’t let the unconscious
It is about exchange of information, and checking to ensure
below the surface patterns be overruled and overshadowed 153
‘they’ understood what you were trying to relate. In a change
by merely talking about procedures and so-called facts. Before
and improvement process there are many and various patterns
you know it, the meeting calls for an action list to draw up an
going on between people, especially unconsciously. So the only
action list with which the action list can be executed. That is
way to get a grip on things is through transparent, open and
not part of the road towards sustainable change, transition,
constructive dialogue, by getting things out in the open and on
transformation. Having said that, if anyone ever does find
the table. When you manage to do that, then you’ll be able to
themselves in a meeting where the proposal is made to come
see what’s going on and integrate communication skills into
up with an action list to draw up an action list with which the
your improvement strategy.
action list can be executed: using the skills from the chapter on communications in this book, just raise your hand and suggest
And even if your people know how to communicate construc-
that it’s time to make a phone call.*
tively, it remains to be seen if they really begin to call each other on what they see and address the other in that open and transparent, constructive manner. Just see how many friendships, marriages, clubs and organizations get into trouble because of a lack of constructive social communication skills.
*) And let them ask for either Paul or Erwin.
Erwin Käller Academics Eindhoven University of Technology, MSc in Industrial Engineering Date of birth June 10th, 1959 Place of birth Nijmegen, The Netherlands Life motto Live today. Strive towards being able to live tomorrow the way you are living today Name
154 Have you become who or what you wanted to be? I don’t believe in an ultimate state: I’m learning every day, meeting interesting people and enjoying the journey. Where I have gotten to so far, is not bad at all. Life changing experience Not any in particular, but being consciousness of the fact that a mental picture of the end result really helps in getting you there: what you achieve is a matter of what you believe! Source(s) of inspiration People showing the ability to put things into perspective – there is always another side to every story, a different view, opposite direction, new angle, there is no single truth that fits all – and pointing that out with humor! Balance in life is a balancing act, but that’s how it works.
Paul Fontein Academics Royal Military Academy; Economics and Logistics Date of birth August 23th, 1961 Place of birth Grubbenvorst, The Netherlands Life motto Just do it! life is too short to drink poor wines or structurally do things you donâ€™t like Name
Have you become who or what you wanted to be?
That is a tricky one, because it implies that I once knew who or what I wanted to become, while that changed over time. But there is one thing I always wanted to achieve I guess, and I succeeded in that: I live a blissful life. Life changing experience When I was working for Frans Maas, we conducted a program to reduce healthrelated absenteeism. But it was so much more, and for me personally this was the start of a long and interesting journey, including learning Transcendental Meditation, and close encounters with life (my children) and death (my parents). Source(s) of inspiration That would be the people I have been working with and relating to. And of course books that I came across, such as The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche, The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho, and Steven Coveyâ€™s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
james g. barnes scott adams
stephen covey chris argyris
jim collins stefanie geevers
wil derkse robert fritz 156
daniel d. ofman robert kaplan & david norton
spyros markridas, robin hogarth & anil gaba
nena oâ€™neill & george oâ€™neill
robert e. quinn
The book 'ROTANOVA X CHANGES' is dedicated to everyone involved in change processes, aspiring to bring their organization to the next level,...
Published on Mar 20, 2012
The book 'ROTANOVA X CHANGES' is dedicated to everyone involved in change processes, aspiring to bring their organization to the next level,...