Page 1


Er w i n K채 ller | Paul Font ein | J eroen Berkhout







Rotanova, Eindhoven (www.rotanova.nl)


Erwin Käller, Paul Fontein, Jeroen Berkhout


Jeroen Berkhout (j.berkhout@magnumopus.nl) and Reinier Poelhekke (www.yowza.nl)


Reinier Poelhekke


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. Š2012 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

11 XI

hands-on experiences

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.

12 XII

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 interviewer’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.


Engine Room






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 ‘message’ 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 Käller 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 – when applied correctly – 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.





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 don’t know: in that sense then is still now. The place where it would be important to know where I’ll be five years from now, isn’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. Let’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 it’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 it’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

by themselves.

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

personal lives.

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 there’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 isn’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, it’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 you’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.

Serving leadership

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, Proust’s À 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 people’s person, which eventually got him involved in the social aspects of management until his recent retirement. He doesn’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. Let’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.

“Entering a process of change without having anchor points leads to restless stampeding�


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

on it.

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.


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

Rotanova does.

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.

“More often than not you will hit upon a clay layer somewhere in your organization, which impedes the change process�


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

intrinsic loop.

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


“After a major reorganization, including lay-offs, then comes that first Monday, and the notion dawns on you: what now? That is the big question�

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 let’s again remind ourselves of the many faces of change.

Our Webster’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.



p ro







r me








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

Full circle

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

square one.

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’.


“Every chemical reaction has a transition state� Sir Derek Harold Richard Barton (1918 - 1998 - British organic chemist and 1969 Nobelprize laureate)

Transition In the beginning was a fundamental choice ‘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.’ 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.

of pastry!

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







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

Sustainable improvement

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

• Strategy

choose to work in a safe manner at all times: safety first!’.

• Structure

This will make the belt a part of a fundamental choice for zero

• Culture

accidents on the shop floor, appealing to the values and beliefs

• Leadership

that personal health and safety issues are very important. They help us define such things as what is missing in the

Organizational change

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

and beliefs?

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:

the change?

• 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 ‘blame yourself and

committed to using a flexible style as a first step.

allow others to have success’ mentality. It doesn’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.

of transition.

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 don’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


“Space: 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.� 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.


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 doesn’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
















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 KPI’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

to improve.

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.

Almost there


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)

Transformation 117

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.




the transition










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








phase, in effect realizing our change objectives? And, not at all unimportantly, how can we



ER OM T S make sure











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.











































Fasten your seatbelts, here goes. MA



Well, we say, let’s consult the wheel again.









OK, you say, how?







So there we have it: we need to facilitate a transformation.













So what do we do to









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

• Customer

Choose, design, learn, act and look are a useful fistful in identifying

• Processes

vulnerable points in the organization, helping you to

• Measurement

determine what needs to be ‘repaired’ (in particular how), and

• Management

define the sequence of steps towards transformation. Join us

• Employees

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

practical instruments.

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




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

your organization.

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











Obviously it is essential not just to put instruments in place, but









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 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








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


























the results.





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







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,

the way?

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



can work.







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


S T Rand management profiles. competences, Yinteraction styles








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






to themselves.


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

















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

and action.

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


“The single biggest problem in communication  is the illusion that it has taken place.� 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 don’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 let’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


going on.

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

wasn’t us.

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


course assumptions.

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!







“It 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 change� Charles Robert Darwin (1809 - 1882)


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. Let’s hear what Fontein and Käller 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


“Manager, thou shalt be found on the shop floor, not behind thy laptop�

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

your leadership.

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 don’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 Covey’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

frank hoes

Inspiring Xchanges

john kotter

nelson mandela

daniel d. ofman robert kaplan & david norton

spyros markridas, robin hogarth & anil gaba

nena o’neill & george o’neill

robert e. quinn

tom peters






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The book 'ROTANOVA X CHANGES' is dedicated to everyone involved in change processes, aspiring to bring their organization to the next level,...


The book 'ROTANOVA X CHANGES' is dedicated to everyone involved in change processes, aspiring to bring their organization to the next level,...

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