How can we centralize and harmonize commercial back-office activities in eight countries with a new team?
Sander Willems, General Manager Business Center Europe: Two years later we had centralized all the countries and had laid a solid foundation for harmonization for the next few years. Despite the fact that we had achieved a lot in a short time, we realized that in order to develop to the next stage quickly and effectively we would have to do things differently.
Working hours were getting longer and longer and it was incredibly hard to get people to be enthusiastic about our planned improvements. At the same time we were irritated with each other and there were irritations between us and our stakeholders. As individuals in the Management Team we were good at working our own patch, but internally we were not an effective team with one voice.
Discussions were often endless
Every step forward was a struggle and as general manager it was costing me a lot of energy. And as an organization we had to make haste with the next stage. At first I was sceptical when my HR manager advised me to work with a consultant. What could someone like that actually contribute to the direction we, as an organization, had to take?
Nevertheless, the consultant from InContext won my trust: he understood the situation and we soon developed a sound and trusting working relationship. The combination of personal coaching with team development was very powerful and immediately showed visible results. The team saw my progress and I saw the team move forward. Both were strengthened. We shared our goals and ambitions and as a consequence our work together became more supple and effective. Our team now had a basis for strengthening the whole organization: one voice, more power."
At the moment the Management Team is working on re-connecting the whole organization and we’re achieving constantly improving results. We’re getting more and more positive feedback about the changes we are making both from inside and outside the organization. Everything is far calmer and at the same time productivity is increasing.
How we achieve this? We really discuss the hot potatoes now, we touch the essence of a problem, we’ve stopped avoiding each other and together we’ve created a platform to get things done quickly and effectively. We define creative solutions for our challenges, and this gets us improving faster. I, myself, am calmer and more balanced, whilst I get twice as much done with half the effort. The project pays for itself many times over.
"I see a lot of leaders dealing with changing environments and facing huge challenges for their organizations. A program like this is so much more than a team building exercise or leadership training. You see the results appearing before your very eyes. The challenges don’t get less, but you increase your ability to deal with them: you surf the wave that might otherwise have engulfed you.
I’ve seen many consultants come and go in the course of my career, but not one with the caliber of Thomas Benedict. The way this project was done has repaid the investment we made many times over. I experienced the consultant as a trusted partner; someone who really helped us ride the storm, and who stood by us to navigate the organization in the right direction"
“The way this project was done has repaid the investment we made many times over.”
Sander Willems – General Manager Business Center Europe, Philips Healthcare