Diensten

Biggest challenge, Biggest dream.

We start with a clean sheet and your biggest challenge or biggest dream as a starting point. Often what needs to happen for either overlaps. We translate vision and strategy into inspired action. In order to get to tangible results we  also look at what's not immediately visible.

After our engagement you can move into motion with:

  • - Strategic Clarity
  • - Team alignment
  • - Accountability
  • - Creative space

To get everybody behind your strategy?

Ta make things happen, check out our Strategy x Culture program....  

To carve out time to think and pulse new ideas check out our Sounding Board Program...

To drive performance and make a positive impact check out our Board Advisory Services 

We focus around three areas of work, but hey we’re experienced business leaders and happy to think outside of the box in other areas so give us a shout and we’ll see if we can help. 

 

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Our latest blogs

Making Sense

Wij zijn.... The Board Whisperers

It dawned upon us that all we have been doing adds up to this step… We are The Board Whisperers! As Board Whisperers, we easily blend in. We work with founders, executive teams and boards to zoom in and out, to stretch the boundaries of what’s possible to create new opportunities. We help leaders to connect heart and mind and strategies to get executed. We find joy in complexity, harness creativity and are purposefully patient to get people on board. We help organisations create psychological safety and freedom to act. Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook and/or Instagram or contact us meet up for ☕. Warm regards, Sonja Wekema & Daphne Laan

Making Sense. Nieuwe perspectieven in boardrooms.

There is a great lack of diversity of perspectives in organisations. This is visible at tables where decisions are made, of which an important one is in the boardroom. In this article, we reflect on our experiences of more than 20 years of working and leading in mainly tech(nical) organisations. We have worked with MTs of large organisations in various sectors; in meetings we were often the only women. We have translated our experiences into insights to bring a broader perspective to the table. What is going on? There is work to be done in boardrooms. Top management holds the key to the code of organisational culture. To crack the code, new perspectives are needed. The unsaid is slowly coming out of the shadows, confidants and organisational culture experts are overloaded with questions: What can we do to create a safe working climate? Why doesn’t information about new initiatives (positive) and breaches of behaviour (negative) reach us? How do we ensure that the perspectives of the minority and subordinates also receive our attention? How do we do this? The answer: tackle groupthink. Research shows that encouraging diversity of thought reduces groupthink. When maintaining agreement and unanimity is more important to a group than critical consideration of the facts, it leads to poorer decision-making. In addition, it allows organisations to do a reality check before deciding to start new activities or stop existing ones. There are organisations where this is well organised, but for the majority of organisations there is work to be done. In the past two decades, we have noticed quite a bit. In the early days, we mainly enjoyed working as ‘one of the guys’. Later in our careers, when we were in leadership positions ourselves, it became clear that we could bring more to the table than the masculine values that many organisations rely on. When we stood up for our values and our personal story, our impact increased exponentially. And it was not only us who had this reflection. In various conversations we had, it seems that this applies to both women and men. We seem to conform – consciously or unconsciously – to the prevailing norm. Historically, men have set the (business) standard. What if we were to look at it from a broader perspective? Future-proof employment What we have noticed is that people do want to change, but that they often feel held back by the system, their manager or themselves. The risk of doing nothing about this as an organisation is great; in a labour market where employees have the upper hand, it is very important to take social responsibility and to remain relevant as an attractive and future-proof employer. A few questions: 1. Do you keep your own staff motivated? McKinsey conducted research into the reasons why people leave their jobs in covid times. Number one according to employees: lack of appreciation. More than half of those questioned felt insufficiently seen by their organisation or manager. 2. Are you personally motivated to be genuinely open to diverse talent? It is crucial that management sees the power of diversity of perspectives and appreciates it visibly and audibly. Creating diversity, also in thinking, means consciously hiring and giving opportunities to people who are not the same, instead of unconsciously hiring people who think and act like you. 3. Are you able to attract young talent? The expectations of people in their twenties and thirties do not match how things work in organisations. They want a good life-work balance and to work for organisations they are proud of. Diversity in thinking results in a greater availability of different perspectives and unique insights. It creates opportunities for innovation, entrepreneurship and unexpected collaborations. Why is this important? In order for managers to keep up with the rapidly changing context that organisations, employees and customers face, it is essential to work together to understand the complexity. To be able to do that, diversity is needed. Diversity of backgrounds, expertise and life experience. We need it, now more than ever. In order to do this, space is needed. And that can only happen when the old school hierarchical management makes way for a different, more inclusive approach. With attention for different perspectives, feelings and space for vulnerability. Various studies validate the value of diversity. If a board wants to think out of the box, it is essential to also have board members or a voice at the table of those who are not insiders. The key lies in the hands of the board. Pass the key on to someone else so that diversity of perspectives can be encouraged. In this way, innovative visions can find a place in the boardroom and send an important signal to the entire organisation. A healthy ecosystem To invite new perspectives, it is necessary to create a psychologically safe, supportive environment. To speak with ecology: you can only start when there is a healthy, fertile soil. In nature, a healthy soil is a precondition for flowers and plants to grow and flourish. The same applies to people in organisations. In order to create and maintain a good soil, an important role is reserved for managers. Firstly, in the role of leader as role model. Leaders who are not afraid to bring their head, heart and soul into the organisation and who bring clarity and vulnerability by living it. Second, in the role of standard-bearer of the importance of diversity. By seeking out, inviting and appreciating the different perspectives themselves in a visible or audible way. When this kind of leader is at the helm, you see that people regain confidence, open up, dream. That is the basis for wanting to work together on a bright future. When this works well, we speak of a healthy ecosystem. A system in which people, teams, organisations and customers cooperate and influence each other. In an ecosystem, there is a dependency on multiple actors; as soon as one of them disappears, there are two options: another actor in the system takes over the function or it dies. Translating this to organisations, it becomes clear that mutual understanding, space for dialogue and the need to focus are important to maintain the health of the ecosystem (Carboni et al, 2021). Change starts with sharing your own story Through our experience with various directors, teams and our own careers, we have seen that creating space for other perspectives can only happen when a director first makes space within himself. In order to understand others, it is first of all important to understand yourself. Why do you think what you think? What (limiting) beliefs have you developed through the various experiences in your life? Have you actually had any relevant experiences? Why do you behave the way you do? Once you understand a little more about your own behavioural preferences and personality, you will be able to communicate with others more effectively and empathetically. By doing this, you will most likely experience a dip in your self-confidence at first, but it will grow again over time and you will be able to really stand up for your story. To what extent can you use your life lessons as a basis for your own leadership? Do you dare to really look into the mirror and see yourself as a total human being, with all that this entails? And do you dare to use what you encounter to tell your story? Dare to invite new perspectives Inviting and embracing different perspectives starts with creating a safe environment to step off the beaten track. Where it is okay to try new things and to fail and where openness is appreciated. But also by balancing feminine and masculine qualities, so that both men and women learn to use their feminine values in addition to their masculine ones. Doing and being, thinking and feeling, freedom and trust, with a connection between head and heart. Because if you dare to follow your heart, doors will open in places and moments that cannot be predicted (rationally). You learn to really see the world and to rediscover it in a playful way. With a new way of looking, a new way of thinking arises. The courage to be open to the unexpected provides room for other perspectives. An invitation to dialogue We see this blog post as an invitation to enter into dialogue. There are many people in the Netherlands who have been working on this theme for a long time, but do not have enough of a platform. There is much more to be said about it and we believe that all valuable perspectives together form a bigger picture. 📣 CALL to ACTION: Since the summer of 2021 we have been writing a book with the working title: “Imagine all the people”. We are exploring principles and tools to bring everyone’s perspective to the table. How do we break the pattern that some people’s voices are heard more than others? We would like to discuss this theme. If you would like to contribute your perspective, feel free to share it. We will have a broad discussion. Instead of saying: our door is open, we want to lower the threshold. Please leave your contact details and we will gladly visit you (virtually) with a mirror (and a cake). The Problem with Saying “My Door Is Always Open” Megan Reitz and John Higginns, 2017, HBR No team is an Island. How Leaders Shape Networked Ecosystems For Team Success.  Inga Carboni, Rob Cross, and Amy C. Edmondson, 2021, Berkeley ‘Great Attrition’ or ‘Great Attraction’? The choice is yours, Sept 2021, McKinsey Quarterly

Make it happen!

We founded The Board Whisperers as we deeply felt that organisations can benefit from looking with multiple lenses simultaneously. In our corporate experience, we often found that one of the lenses through which leaders look is strategy, discussed while preparing a business plan, the strategic plan, the direction and the goals. Another lens, often looked through in other parts of the organisation, is culture, often dissociated from what the company or its board tries to achieve though. As if it we look at two separate worlds. We like to take it a step further. For is, culture is looking beyond the visible and tangible elements. It is equally important to assess what is on the table as it is to look under the carpet. There are often underlying patterns preventing people to reach their goals. When leaders are willing to be transparent about what’s on the table and look at patterns and at what’s under the carpet, space is created for new opportunities to arise. Strategy x Culture Strategy offers a formal logic for the company’s goals and orients people around them. Strategy sets the direction and focus, elaborates on the business plan and formal environment for employees to understand the organisation’s goals. Culture helps accomplishing goals by encompassing them in the organisation’s shared values and beliefs. These need to go hand in hand. As you likely know, Peter Drucker once said “culture eats strategy for breakfast”, meaning that the culture of a company determines its success, regardless how effective the strategy may be. He pointed out the importance of the human factor in any company. No matter how detailed and solid a strategy is, if the people executing it don’t nurture the appropriate culture, projects will fail. We like to take a more holistic approach. Culture in an organisation is the way people ‘do things’. Unwritten rules exert influence on the behaviour of the employees and only by navigating actual business challenges real life and real time, a leader will get a sense of this ‘culture in action’. It is crucial for leaders to stay in touch with reality, since, when something sounds too good to be true on paper, most of the times it is. Only when presented with the good, the bad and the ugly, leaders will FEEL what it means instead of just THINK what it might mean. Also, the way people deal with accountability, make decisions and take actions should be taken into account while observing a culture. Only then, it is possible to see beyond the visible elements and understand the ways in which people interact. Bottom line: it is super important to assess what is on the table and under the carpet. What’s on the table? What’s on the table entails all relevant information, provided from different angles to enable leaders to make sound decisions. This can be views and opinions from different levels in the organisation, relevant stakeholders, including the knowns and unknowns. Often, we as humans tend to overcomplicate things, but most of the time, the answers are already available in the organisation. If only we would take time to zoom out…. and listen to the different perspectives available. When leaders are transparent about what’s on the table and the different pieces of the puzzle are taken along, the best way forward will shape itself. By sharing a plan before it has fully materialized, leaders can tap into collective wisdom. Often, when people are confronted with a question, they need to know what their options or choices are to bounce their ideas of. That does not always mean that the presented options are best fit to execute on. People will feel whether it aligns with what they believe is needed. Maybe there are alternatives that are not taken into account yet. When the feedback or alternatives are incorporated into the options, better options might arise and the chosen direction will gain support in the organisation. What’s under the carpet? In various organisations that we have worked with, we noticed that there are often underlying, invisible patterns preventing people to reach their goals. When leaders are willing and have the energy to look at these and want to understand what’s under the carpet, space is created to invite new perspectives and with it, new opportunities. In these situations, solutions often present themselves, as long as leaders are open for it. When we speak with boards or leadership teams about bringing in new perspectives to the table, we never intend it to be ‘just’ a conversation piece. For us, this is an intervention as it always has implications for how teams and leaders see each other and interact going forward. By addressing the unseen, initiatives will gain traction by removing blockers that will appear as part of the process. By helping them reveal which interactions are helpful or not, the root causes of these behaviours will become clear and subsequently a new and better equilibrium will be able to emerge. A holistic approach From a leadership style point of view, leaders will need to merge masculine (result driven, rational and goal oriented) behaviour with more feminine aspects of getting things done (creativitiy, intuition, sensing, connection, sensitivity, supportivenes). All this to shed light on the information under the carpet and get it on to the table. From a contextual point of view, it is necessary that to have a good bedding for new initiatives to flourish. To explore whether this is the case, questions that we ask are e.g.: Are the right people involved making the necessary connections? What remains unsaid? or What is whispering and waiting to be heard? Improving the health of an organisation asks for genuine commitment and involvement. Boards or top teams will need to set the example. As Patrick Lencioni states (4 pillars of high performing cultures): “The single biggest factor determining whether an organization is going to get healthier — or not — is the genuine commitment and active involvement of the persons in charge.” Making things happen With strategy and culture hand in hand, the remaining element is execution. As Dr. Patti Fletcher, describes in Forbes: “Many business thinkers believe that culture and strategy are two sides of the same coin. They are not. They are part of the same side of the coin. So, in that case: what’s on the other side then? Execution. Execution brings culture and strategy to life” When you put strategy and culture on the same side of the coin, you have to reimagine your cultural constructs, meaning, how culture is experienced by people and how they really behave.” - When we considered what drives ‘making things happen’, we arrived at an equation which takes along strategy, culture, including the tangible and intangible elements. Looking at culture means exploring beyond the obvious, visible elements. It is equally important to assess what is on the table as it is to look under the carpet. Underlying patterns often prevent people to reach their goals. Leaders who are willing to look at these patterns and at what’s under the carpet, create space for new opportunities to arise. Our equation for making things happen: Inspired Execution = Strategy x Culture x (what’s on the table ÷ what’s under the carpet) If we deconstruct the equation: Strategy: Strategy offers a formal logic for the company’s goals and orients people around them. We think leaders should incorporate collective wisdom in their organisation. Culture: Culture expresses goals through values and beliefs and guides activity through shared assumptions and group norms. Take time to see how people go about doing in their work. What is actually happening on the grounds? What’s on the table: Is about being transparent about what is at stake: plusses, minuses, the bold, the beautiful, the bad and the ugly. What’s under the carpet: Sense the unsaid/unseen/unheard, unwritten rules, he or she who we not speak about or listen to… By offering space to express how culture is experienced by people and to reimagine what good looks like, teams will be empowered to take inspired action. There is a sound bedding for initiatives to flourish, the culture supports the bigger picture and where blockers are removed, flow returns! This is what we arrived at so far. Do share your own thoughts, ideas and additions as we are expanding on this theme. Suggestions for further reads: It is not culture vs strategy anymore, culture is strategy, Forbes The Leader’s Guide to Corporate Culture, HBR The 4 pillars of high performing culures, The Growth Faculty About The Board Whisperers: We help founders, boards and executive teams thrive by transforming their most pressing challenges or vision into inspiring action. By creating space for new perspectives, we stretch the boundaries of the possible to let new opportunities arise.

Making Sense. Our equation for making things happen.

Our equation for making things happen. We founded The Board Whisperers as we deeply felt that organisations can benefit from looking with multiple lenses simultaneously. In our corporate experience, we often found that one of the lenses through which leaders look is strategy, discussed while preparing a business plan, the strategic plan, the direction and the goals. Another lens, often looked through in other parts of the organisation, is culture, often dissociated from what the company or its board tries to achieve though. As if it we look at two separate worlds. We like to take it a step further. For is, culture is looking beyond the visible and tangible elements. It is equally important to assess what is on the table as it is to look under the carpet. There are often underlying patterns preventing people to reach their goals. When leaders are willing to be transparent about what’s on the table and look at patterns and at what’s under the carpet, space is created for new opportunities to arise. Strategy x Culture Strategy offers a formal logic for the company’s goals and orients people around them. Strategy sets the direction and focus, elaborates on the business plan and formal environment for employees to understand the organisation’s goals. Culture helps accomplishing goals by encompassing them in the organisation’s shared values and beliefs. These need to go hand in hand. As you likely know, Peter Drucker once said “culture eats strategy for breakfast”, meaning that the culture of a company determines its success, regardless how effective the strategy may be. He pointed out the importance of the human factor in any company. No matter how detailed and solid a strategy is, if the people executing it don’t nurture the appropriate culture, projects will fail. We like to take a more holistic approach. Culture in an organisation is the way people ‘do things’. Unwritten rules exert influence on the behaviour of the employees and only by navigating actual business challenges real life and real time, a leader will get a sense of this ‘culture in action’. It is crucial for leaders to stay in touch with reality, since, when something sounds too good to be true on paper, most of the times it is. Only when presented with the good, the bad and the ugly, leaders will FEEL what it means instead of just THINK what it might mean. Also, the way people deal with accountability, make decisions and take actions should be taken into account while observing a culture. Only then, it is possible to see beyond the visible elements and understand the ways in which people interact. Bottom line: it is super important to assess what is on the table and under the carpet. The Board Whisperers. What’s on the table? What’s on the table entails all relevant information, provided from different angles to enable leaders to make sound decisions. This can be views and opinions from different levels in the organisation, relevant stakeholders, including the knowns and unknowns. Often, we as humans tend to overcomplicate things, but most of the time, the answers are already available in the organisation. If only we would take time to zoom out…. and listen to the different perspectives available. When leaders are transparent about what’s on the table and the different pieces of the puzzle are taken along, the best way forward will shape itself. By sharing a plan before it has fully materialized, leaders can tap into collective wisdom. Often, when people are confronted with a question, they need to know what their options or choices are to bounce their ideas of. That does not always mean that the presented options are best fit to execute on. People will feel whether it aligns with what they believe is needed. Maybe there are alternatives that are not taken into account yet. When the feedback or alternatives are incorporated into the options, better options might arise and the chosen direction will gain support in the organisation. What’s under the carpet? In various organisations that we have worked with, we noticed that there are often underlying, invisible patterns preventing people to reach their goals. When leaders are willing and have the energy to look at these and want to understand what’s under the carpet, space is created to invite new perspectives and with it, new opportunities. In these situations, solutions often present themselves, as long as leaders are open for it. When we speak with boards or leadership teams about bringing in new perspectives to the table, we never intend it to be ‘just’ a conversation piece. For us, this is an intervention as it always has implications for how teams and leaders see each other and interact going forward. By addressing the unseen, initiatives will gain traction by removing blockers that will appear as part of the process. By helping them reveal which interactions are helpful or not, the root causes of these behaviours will become clear and subsequently a new and better equilibrium will be able to emerge. A holistic approach From a leadership style point of view, leaders will need to merge masculine (result driven, rational and goal oriented) behaviour with more feminine aspects of getting things done (creativitiy, intuition, sensing, connection, sensitivity, supportivenes). All this to shed light on the information under the carpet and get it on to the table. From a contextual point of view, it is necessary that to have a good bedding for new initiatives to flourish. To explore whether this is the case, questions that we ask are e.g.: Are the right people involved making the necessary connections? What remains unsaid? or What is whispering and waiting to be heard? Improving the health of an organisation asks for genuine commitment and involvement. Boards or top teams will need to set the example. As Patrick Lencioni states (4 pillars of high performing cultures): “The single biggest factor determining whether an organization is going to get healthier — or not — is the genuine commitment and active involvement of the persons in charge.” Making things happen With strategy and culture hand in hand, the remaining element is execution. As Dr. Patti Fletcher, describes in Forbes: “Many business thinkers believe that culture and strategy are two sides of the same coin. They are not. They are part of the same side of the coin. So, in that case: what’s on the other side then? Execution. Execution brings culture and strategy to life” When you put strategy and culture on the same side of the coin, you have to reimagine your cultural constructs, meaning, how culture is experienced by people and how they really behave.” - When we considered what drives ‘making things happen’, we arrived at an equation which takes along strategy, culture, including the tangible and intangible elements. Looking at culture means exploring beyond the obvious, visible elements. It is equally important to assess what is on the table as it is to look under the carpet. Underlying patterns often prevent people to reach their goals. Leaders who are willing to look at these patterns and at what’s under the carpet, create space for new opportunities to arise. Our equation for making things happen: Inspired Execution = Strategy x Culture x (what’s on the table ÷ what’s under the carpet) If we deconstruct the equation: Strategy: Strategy offers a formal logic for the company’s goals and orients people around them. We think leaders should incorporate collective wisdom in their organisation. Culture: Culture expresses goals through values and beliefs and guides activity through shared assumptions and group norms. Take time to see how people go about doing in their work. What is actually happening on the grounds? What’s on the table: Is about being transparent about what is at stake: plusses, minuses, the bold, the beautiful, the bad and the ugly. What’s under the carpet: Sense the unsaid/unseen/unheard, unwritten rules, he or she who we not speak about or listen to… By offering space to express how culture is experienced by people and to reimagine what good looks like, teams will be empowered to take inspired action. There is a sound bedding for initiatives to flourish, the culture supports the bigger picture and where blockers are removed, flow returns! This is what we arrived at so far. Do share your own thoughts, ideas and additions as we are expanding on this theme. Suggestions for further reads: It is not culture vs strategy anymore, culture is strategy, Forbes The Leader’s Guide to Corporate Culture, HBR The 4 pillars of high performing culures, The Growth Faculty About The Board Whisperers: We help founders, boards and executive teams thrive by transforming their most pressing challenges or vision into inspiring action. By creating space for new perspectives, we stretch the boundaries of the possible to let new opportunities arise.

Making Sense. The art of listening.

Making Sense. The art of listening. For more than twenty years, we have worked with various companies. In this article, we share our observations on the unwritten rules in organisations. Rules that have been adopted by everyone over the years, without anyone really instilling them or writing them down. Unwritten rules ensure that everything runs smoothly and that there is order and balance. But is that really the case? What is happening underneath the surface? And how can you find out? To understand what is really going on, one needs to listen. We all know that for listening you use your ears, but also other senses transmit signals that might be important. Listening is a fundamental element of effective communication. It is: hearing and observing with attention. What does someone tell you in a verbal or non-verbal manner? And what is being said by not saying anything at all? Listening to the unsaid For the unsaid, the same goes as for unwritten rules. It only surfaces during observation and when questions are asked. Answers to these questions give a peek beneath the surface. Every individual has a different perspective. Without jointly discussing this, because it is not a daily topic of conversation, it is not always clear how another person looks at the world. Or the behaviour within an organisation, a team or the atmosphere or something completely different. Who knows? Is the balance that is in place actually pleasant for everyone? And what exactly is it that is not being said or should not be said? In short: paying attention to what goes on below the waterline is essential. In addition, it is not always obvious for people to speak out. Why is it so difficult to speak up? In a safe culture, people will speak up relatively easily. But if there is a lack of openness or trust, people might ask themselves: What are the risks if I lay all the cards on the table? How will I be perceived by my colleagues, team members or manager? What is the possible impact on my career? People who are new to a company generally have an unerring sense of the atmosphere. In team sessions with new employees, we regularly ask the question “What do you notice about the culture of this organisation?”. Managers who take part are often surprised at how clearly newcomers can put their observations into words. What you should ask yourself as a leader? For a leader it is key to know how people feel in an organisation. One can do this by regularly connecting with people, out of a sincere interest. Before doing that, it is important to start with yourself first. Ask yourself : What is my intention in having this conversation and do I have the time for it? If you do, you can start the conversation with a simple but heartfelt: ‘How are you?’ Then be quiet, even if it takes five minutes for the other person to answer. Give people time to think. Their answer may surprise you. As a follow-up question you could use: Do you feel heard?, What do you need?, Do you feel supported when you speak up?. The trick is not to shoot these questions down like a cross-examination, but to really take the time for the answer, to summarise what you (think you) have heard and to keep asking. That is true listening and only then, you will hear what is really going on. Listening is a skill Nobody said that listening was easy. It takes energy, personal interest and a genuine desire to take the first step as a manager to — in many cases — demonstrate new behaviour. Daphne Laan Daphne Laan: When I help executive teams increase their impact, I listen to what is being said between the lines and look for patterns. When several people share the same thing, there is something at the core that wants to be solved. The solution may be to recognise this, stop doing something or start with something new to achieve a more effective approach. Often people say: “We started working together in a new way very naturally.” The fact that people feel heard makes a world of difference. Creating space through silence Unfortunately, many people avoid silence or talk a lot to counter it. By observing silence, you can create space to really hear yourself, the other person and your environment. When you ask a question, the other person needs time to think, to listen to his or her own answer, before speaking up. How often does it happen that someone asks a question, finds that the answer is too long in coming and fills the silence themselves? Daring to be silent and keeping quiet is an art. And for that reason silence is sometimes a very good answer. Sonja Wekema Sonja Wekema: I work with Mark on a regular basis. Mark has a habit of apologising for having an opinion. I am doing it again’, he says. I am usually quick to reassure Mark. After all, if he didn’t judge, it would be dangerous. Oh yes,’ he says, ‘when I see a lion I have to get out of the way. Mark now knows that our brains are programmed for survival. When I ask him what his judgement is based on, he often comes up with a rational story. If I remain silent for a while or ask him more questions, the tone of the conversation soon changes. Then we are where we need to be. Mark: “I know what you’re doing…. Now you’re holding that mirror up to me again! Share vulnerability and others will follow Creating trust starts with showing and sharing vulnerability. What do you find difficult, what are you struggling with, are you open to feedback? As soon as the other person understands that, as a manager, you too have doubts, trust will grow. And the other person feels they are being taken seriously. This is the moment when the real stories come out. Stories that help increase mutual understanding. Stories that in many cases contain crucial information, which you can then act on. Stories that can help you improve your company and ultimately make your people happier. As an executive, by being open yourself and sharing your honest story, you can contribute to an open culture, where people feel heard and dare to speak out. When you share your story, you invite others to do the same. When there is nothing behind the fear We have experienced that there is actually nothing behind the fear of trying something differently and stepping up in being honest about what you stand for When you overcome a small fear, it gives you the courage to take the next step. By experiencing this and openly discussing your discomfort, you open the door to a safe culture. You create a place where people dare to say what is on their mind, a place where they are seen and where they are heard. True listening does not happen by itself. It requires attention and energy. And genuine interest. If you really want to understand what is going on below the waterline and take time for the real conversation, you make room for the other. Be surprised by the power of silence and listen.

The year a plan comes together

February 23, 2024 How it started: Noordwijk 2020 10am in the morning, we are in a hotel room in Noordwijk, our writing base for the day. We are working on our graduation article for a Master in Executive Coaching. The article will be finished today. 10:45 We share about what drives us, what our vision is.... During the conversation we look at each other in surprise again and again - do you have that too? We discover that we were both born in 1976, the year of the dragon and feel an enormous drive to make a difference and drive transitions. We left our jobs at global companies behind us and took a leap of faith. We immediately set up a BV/ Ltd. to get started with our plans. We both have two children contributing to our drive for impact. They don't realize it, but they are our most important advisors. At the end of that day we engage a designer to create a logo. The Board Whisperers was born. And the article? That was left aside for a while… We decide to put our values on paper. Without knowing it from each other, we discover that 5 of the 7 values that we each choose individually from 70 options overlap: freedom, connection, expression, creativity, play and joy! That will be the bedrock of our company. What starts as a wild idea in a hotel room turns serious. We truly believe that we can help management teams, founders and executives to view their world in a different way, allowing them to flourish with their teams, ecosystems and stakeholders. We start with a blank sheet and work together with our first customers. The red thread? Translating vision and strategy into inspired action, especially by looking under the carpet. We uncover themes, based on curiosity and create space for what wants to arise. We connect ratio- intuition, visible - invisible and above all people. We discover that making the new possible is what drives us most. We create space for magic to arise. Listening to everyone's voice – allowing everyone to take their own action! We meet new people when we are “on tour”, from Presidents Summit to Web Summit. Everyone has a different perspective and energy to make an impact together. 𝟮𝟬𝟮𝟰: How does it come together? 🐉 Expansion of The Board Whisperers with a network of whisperers 🐉 Focus on making the new possible and accelerating transitions 🐉 Online & hybrid learning to re-imagine what good looks like We will introduce our network next! The Board Whisperers