Blog Archive

As a leader and entrepreneur, you go through different stages when growing ‘your enterprise’, while learning some valuable lessons along the way. Here are some of my lessons learned that may guide you through your own journey.

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At the end of this year, I will step down as CEO of Delaware Consulting BeLux. I will remain an active partner of Delaware Consulting, though. And I am anxious to find different ways to remain valuable for our company. For many people, this seems a weird decision. So why does this happen?

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There is a huge misunderstanding in the way most people treat vulnerability. More specifically, there is a problem with how people show their own vulnerability. While many believe this is seen as a sign of weakness, I consider a balanced demonstration of strengths and weaknesses an indication of self-knowledge, self-confidence and true value.

To prospects

Often I see people looking for shelter behind their laptop, or, even worse, behind their own back when giving presentations to prospective customers. They are looking at their screen or at the whiteboard most of the time, grasping hold on the content of their slides. Next to clearly showing their uncertainty, they miss out important, non-verbal feedback from their audience.

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We recently announced the hiring of our 1000th employee. This is a good time to look back on the past as well as to look into the future. Growth of the overall economy is stalled these days. Is aiming for growth of your own business still a good thing?

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Next Monday, many new graduates will – after having spent almost their entire life at school – start their professional career in a multitude of companies and organizations. At Delaware Consulting, we are getting ready to welcome 50 graduates.

Growth or consolidation?

Although we had planned to make 2014 a year of consolidation, increased customer demand has made us decide to step up the hiring process again. Most customers continue to specifically ask for experienced profiles. At Delaware Consulting, however, we have a tradition to also hire young people, fresh from school.

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I am a firm believer in the self-fulfilling prophecy. If you believe hard enough in something to happen and you act accordingly, there is a fair chance that it will come true. I have seen it work, as well to the negative as to the positive side. That is also why we at Delaware Consulting are currently conducting a new strategy exercise. We are restating our own prophecy of where we should stand as a company five years from now.

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Traditional hierarchy

Do you work in an environment where your boss tells you what to do and you simply have to execute? If so, you most probably like working according to function descriptions, clearly stating what you are supposed to do and maybe even how to do it. Indeed, some people find it easy to work in clear and strong hierarchies, regarding obedience as a virtue.

I definitely do not like this kind of organizations. It may be a good model for companies focusing on maximizing output, while minimizing input. I am sure though that most businesses working like this, do not even come close to tapping their full potential. This is especially true in the service industry and in highly innovative environments.

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How it started

It all happened some 15 years ago. 3 years earlier, we started to develop business with SAP in the SME space at Delaware. This initiative was really becoming a success story. I had a wide range of responsibilities and was allowed to do whatever I deemed necessary to move things forward. I was leading our small team of 15 SAP consultants, was involved in the hiring progress to further expand that team, was managing several projects and still took up the role as an SAP logistics consultant.On the private side, I was happily married and we already had 2 nice children. We had moved to our own, new house and we were landscaping our garden. So everything was going well! 

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Did you ever notice how often people complain about things not being perfect?  I always listen to what they say. Then, I ask them to look at the situation from a different angle. If you do so constructively, you will notice that imperfections are a gold mine of opportunities… if you want to see them.

Definition

According to Wikipedia, perfection is “a state of completeness and flawlessness”.  In my opinion this ignores several aspects. While things can be flawless and complete today, they can prove to be completely insufficient tomorrow. They can be perfect in a specific context, but completely misaligned in another. Something can be perfect while parts of it may perfectly be imperfect.

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End of this month, Delaware Consulting celebrates its 10th anniversary as an independent partnership. This is a perfect excuse to look back, before focusing on the horizon again.

DLW_MensenWoord


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