Building Winning Corporate Cultures
Peter ten Hoopen consults in the fields of corporate culture and corporate personality - hence in leadership and communication. His background in journalism has taught him that if you want to get of the heart of things, you have to start asking the right questions. Such as: who actually is this company, what does it stand for? And dow does it function within its eco-system of shareholders, clients and suppliers, lawmakers and opinion makers? How effective is it in dealing with diversity? How open to innovation, how efficient at implementation? Does the public persona match the true identity? And if so, is it well communicated, both externally and internally?
His aim is to help clients build winning corporate cultures. Cultures where a well defined purpose is realized by an effectively organised group of people with a shared set of values and, ideally, collective passion. An organisation that derives its strength from its moral convictions, its transparancy and authenticity, and its cohesion from the cultivation of ownership and accountability.
As an executive coach Peter helps clients achieve inner harmony, the peaceful sense of power that comes from doing what comes to you naturally. He teaches leaders and managers dilemma reconciliation - a technical approach to solving dilemmas on a level beyond compromise, and achieve unlikely breakthroughs.
He helps ambitious organisations gear themselves up for breakthroughs, working with a short-track approach he calls 'Keep the Change' - a simple and low cost approach to change management that basically teaches clients how to do the whole change process themselves, using a set of web based surveys with follow-up workshops, formats of which are transfered to client staff in round one. The only round there need be. The concept calls for the consultant to be in and out in three months, after which the change path has been defined, and technology transfered.
Change is not as difficult as it is made out to be - not always anyway. When you are clear about the need, all it takes is to get everyone on board. The ocean sailor knows: you don't move fast trailing sea anchors behind your boat; a mass of unwilling, or unmotivated people. To get everyone involved, committed to the process, information must flow from the bottom to the top as easily as from the top to the bottom, in a balanced yin-yang.
Leaders who have the wisdom to achieve this are well rewarded, because nothing moves like the commitment of people for ideas that match their values and aspirations, taken into account by leadership as seriously as any material resource.
Respect is the bridge
All powerful organisations have somehow managed to reconcile their internal and external differences. Some do this consciously, some unconsciously, and therefore often less effectively.
Peter ten Hoopen helps clients deal effectively with their business issues by teaching them reconciliation. A technical process, much like building bridges, an ancient technique of the wise in all cultures, which in our days has been given fresh renown by Nelson Mandela, and, at roughly the same time, brought to the corporate world by Charles Hampden-Turner and Fons Trompenaars, with whom Peter is closely associated. The core of his approach is showing people the way to accept and ideally respect each other - in terms of culture, ability and aspiration. The word reconciliation derives from the Latin reconciliare, which means to make good again, repair. Indeed, that very often is what the process accomplishes, to repair the bridge. But equally often the process lays connections where there never was one - creating true and immediate value.
Bridges are found in all cultures, and they have the same symbolic meaning all over the world : making the unreachable reachable. For that reason, bridge builders have a tradition of finding broad support. They are universally seen as leaders in their communities, be they tribal, urban, suburban, or corporate. And upon close inspection all great leaders are shown to be reconcilers, builders of bridges. They achieve greatness not by getting what they want, but by developing a feeling for the energy of their organisations, and learning how to channel these effectively. Starting with a heightened awareness of their people's aspirations, their envisioned futures, to see how these could best be matched to the corporate purpose.
- Respect is the bridge that connects people, teams, organisations, countries.
- Bridges are about uniting people. They take us across natural frontiers, such as the the raging rivers of national culture, across the chasms of corporate culture that may appear in mergers and acquisitions, and across the lesser streams of every day living in a diverse organisation.
- Bridging instills inclusion, a mindset that connects people from different backgrounds.
Strong cultures are created from the ground up
The best way to create a winning corporate culture ('winning' as in 'coming out ahead' - and in the sense of 'charming', both) is to take stock of the energy economy of the organisation, analyze what bothers and what inspires, and in all openness develop a new culture jointly, a new personality involving everyone in the organisation who wants to be involved.
Much of Peter ten Hoopen's work is supported by web surveys, all proprietary, to chart what fires people in the organisation up, where energy drips away, where creativity is lost or could be gained, what roles people play in the creative process. Because several of the surveys have already been taken by thousands solid bench marks have been established. Surveys may be customized, based on questions developed together with the client, and backed up by interviews to get the broader perspective, and a feel for the emotional charge of the issues.
Peter ten Hoopen is a generalist with 30 years of experience in corporate environments, who has seen the inside of many organisations - commercial, non-profit and governmental - in many different countries, and through his work with a great variety of national and corporate cultures has developed a unique view on what makes organisations work, based on the conviction that in essence 80% of value creation in advanced societies involves the conversion of human energy, and that for that reason human energy is the key to effective organisation, and effective leadership.