Case Study: Schuberg Philis
A company based on love
Beyond cupfighting summit
An atmosphere of anticipation and excitement... That is how the three-day ‘Beyond Cupfighting Summit’ began on 1 February, 2012. Schuberg Philis organ- ised the Summit for all its employees, customers, partners and other stake- holders. The venue: Passenger Terminal Amsterdam.
It was an intensive three days. Absorbed not only by well-known and exceptional speakers, over 200 people were busy with intent –conceptualizing, brain-storming, debating and discussing – engineering the company’s future.
Schuberg Philis is doing well. But that’s no reason to sit back on laurels. On the contrary, this Summit was all about the question: what’s next? The question was discussed in full, without limit or restriction. And the answers were not confined solely to the company. Schuberg Philis supplies its services to society and to the planet as a whole; so respect, responsibility and duty were all rightly part of the discussions and debate.
Thinking about the future purely in terms of sales, profits or market share is not what Schuberg Philis is about.The company feels responsible in discovering, considering and imple- menting new ways of applying talent and creativity for the betterment of society. Giving back. Caring for each other is not an empty promise at Schuberg Philis. It is about a true, vivid form of partner- ship, extending to all stakeholders – for better, for worse.
So, what were the results of the three- day Beyond Cupfighting Summit? Ideas in volume, sometimes far-reaching. The objective – to execute on those ideas.
The Summit result - Schuberg Philis is reinventing itself. Cupfighting is no longer good enough. We all need to think now about what is possible beyond cupfighting, what is possible tomorrow.
This booklet is the report of an inspirational phase in the Schuberg Philis journey to the future.
A company based on love
“It is exciting to work with a company that shows such commitment to the human factor. As an IT company employing collaborative teams to drive their organisation’s 100% culture, Schuberg Philis is unique to the world. It is also an act of great leadership to bring the whole ecosystem together in one room and design the future colla- boratively. Over three days, 200 people have congregated – not for speeches, preconceived ideas or prenegotiated plans – but to actually cooperate collectively on plans for the future of the company. What I have seen is a group that is capable of true dialogue, respecting everyone’s voice and opinion in an environment where all can benefit from common strengths.
Leadership is not hierarchical. It’s a privilege shared by everyone. This company has developed a third form of management: neither top down nor bottom up. It’s totality.
We often talk about the need for holistic thinking, but very rarely do companies really bring the whole system together. Schuberg Philis demonstrates that it is easy to do it. That is also the reason that Schuberg Philis is now a Harvard Busi- ness School case study. Schuberg Philis represents not only a quality revolution in the IT industry, but also the potential to build better families, a better society and a better planet.”
Amsterdam, 3 February 2012
Wednesday 1 February 2012
“It’s not the strongest of the species that survive nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.” Charles Darwin
“This really looks fabulous! Today, tomorrow and the day after we will, collec- tively, shape our own purpose and drive our future. The internet bubble had just burst, times were hard. In 2003, with our 100% ambi- tion we seemed to be the laughing stock of the industry. Competitors said: ‘you will never succeed, we have to see it first, and then we’ll believe it!’ But then KLM became our customer, and after positive feedback from KLM, Rabobank followed. We won additional house- hold names like ING and Eneco. Our success is specifically down to sharing the same beliefs. These beliefs include: work hard, play hard, but also the fact that our fami- lies share the same Schuberg Philis sensation. Growth has never been the sole ambition; it’s the result of the quality we deliver. Consequently, we can now look back on the best customer satisfaction results for six years in a row. We offer a rare combination of craftsmanship, an absolute focus on customers and a ‘not on my shift’ attitude. So, what’s next? We cannot allow ourselves to be easily satisfied. On the contrary, let’s formulate new audacious and courageous goals. Because if you aim at nothing, that is exactly what you will hit.”
Ilja Heitlager is an information officer and member of the steering group which prepared the Summit Beyond Cupfighting. He has worked for Schuberg Philis since 2008.
“Information officer is a role on its own. Internally, I am working on the appli- cation landscape, together with the Toolkit team. For instance, I was recently involved in the reporting infrastructure. Externally, with customers, I am involved in additional consultancy. For example, I collaborated with Eneco and the Schuberg Philis Eneco Team to get the architecture documentation in order. We thought that was important. The great thing is that, if we think something is needed to collaborate better with our customers – even though it is not necessarily in the contract – we still like to do it.”
“About three years ago, we met David Cooperrider and his Appreciative Inquiry method. I saw him at that time during a congress about Change Management. We discussed with Pim and Gerwin that he could play an important role for us as well. At Schuberg Philis, it is not about dwelling upon weak spots, but about the personal strengths you can contri- bute to the team. In that respect, we recognise ourselves in Appreciative Inquiry methodology.”
“We have a tradition of annual meetings to discuss the future of Schuberg Philis. Two years ago, we did this for the first time with everyone at Schuberg Philis and a delegation for the engineers. At that time we were still a bit cautious about having everyone in one room. This year, we really felt the need to include everyone. It is nice to see how we do something like that. When the decision has been made, we really are determined and quickly form multi- disciplinary team. First, Pim, Gerwin and Philip got to know David better. It is crucial that we first establish a personal connection with both our partners and customers.”
“Subsequently, David came to the Netherlands for the additional prepara- tions and we went through the entire process, a kind of mini-summit with a twenty-man team. We then created four subgroups, each one dealing with a theme: the goal of the Summit, prepara- tion of the Summit, stakeholders and the post-Summit. I was part of the latter group. For this Summit, the entire club was involved in developing and implementing ideas, facilitated by
the post-Summit team.”
“What I saw happening over these days really exceeded my expectations. Obviously, we know the high standards at Schuberg Philis, but every time you see them put into practice, it is fantastic to experience.”
“Of course, it is not just about three great days, but about real in-depth collabora- tion. After all, it is about our own future.”
Berger introduces David Cooperrider, professor of Social Entrepreneurship at Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University. Cooperrider is known for his ‘Appreciative Inquiry’ methodology. In short, this method focuses on the alignment of strengths within an organisation.
“It takes courage to organise a meeting like we have today, the whole Schuberg Philis organism in one room for strategic plan- ning.” He specialises in gathering large groups of people to think collectively about the future. “Today brings together internal and external stakeholders with few companies having enough courage to take this approach.”
Thinking along other lines
Cooperrider gives examples of people who dared to think along other lines to make a difference to their organisation:
Dee Hock, founder of Visa International credit cards. Dee spent a lot of time thinking about poor organisations. He concluded that organisations with many management layers, and a command and control structure, don’t work well – they kill the human spirit. According to Dee, organisations are
not machines but living ecosystems. Bureaucracy is the worst possible thing for organisations. The question is how we can build organisations that will grow efficiently and promote diversity. This takes a genetic code – an organisa- tional DNA – which allows you to say,
“I had a meaningful life because I was part of it.”
Jennifer Deckard, CEO of Fairmount Minerals. Head of a sand extraction company, Jennifer made her organisa- tion think about the world’s ten greatest problems. By harnessing the collective strength of the organisation, tangible solutions like the production of a sand/ water filter were found. This allowed the company to extend its field of operations across 44 countries.
Appreciative Inquiry always looks for the best, without simultaneously squandering focus on weaker spots. This is about the deepest search for robust points within a company. Or, in the words of management guru Peter Drucker: “the task of leadership is to create an alignment of strengths making the operation’s weaknesses irrelevant.”
Using Appreciative Inquiry, participants discussed:
-- Discovering our most profound beliefs, our DNA.
-- Searching for our next phase, with regards to:
- Industry > beyond satisfied customers.
- Company > beyond happy colleagues.
- Society > beyond good citizenship.
- Planet > beyond our toolkit.
Robert de Boer
Robert de Boer is Managing Director of Eneco Energy Trade. With 150 employees, the company focuses on trading, portfolio and asset management of gas, electricity, CO2 and other energy-related products. He has been a Schuberg Philis customer since 2006.
“In 2005, a new power plant was put into service. We had a long-term production contract for it, and the need for 24/7 IT support arose. For us, it is essential to have data accessible 24/7. It was something our former provider was not able to realise, so we started looking for a new partner and Schuberg Philis won the ‘beauty contest’ outright. I will never forget one of our first meetings. Schuberg Philis came along with the team they wanted to put on the job. In no time, the whole team had disappeared, talking intensely with our traders and analysts behind their computer screens.”
“The commitment to 100% goes a very long way. I remember when a small incident took place, too minor to really pay attention to. Nevertheless Gerwin came by to inform us in the MT. He insisted that we should apply the penalty clause. His rationale for this was: ‘however minor it seems, it simply is not allowed.’”
“Essentially, I am very satisfied, but there is still room for improvement. Occasionally, there is some discussion about what the 100% ambition should cover exactly. It’s absolutely clear this should be applied to the core of our business. For example, our deal capturing and risk management system. But when Word isn’t working for a day, I won’t lose any sleep over it. Another issue is the transparency of our cost model. Understanding the model is almost rocket science in itself. I am looking for even more flex- ibility and transparency. A final issue is the fact that we are in a hectic period, where we encounter all kinds of new things and risks. It is important for Schuberg Philis to get a good picture of those risks as well, in order to understand the impact on our busi- ness and their service. But, in spite of us complaining now and then, they always listen. Our relationship is essentially very good and transparent and with that I am particularly pleased. That is also the reason that I agreed (too easily?) to join Schuberg Philis in Alpe d’Huzes this year.”
Discovery Part 1
Questions of reflection
Cooperrider asks paired partici- pants to answer the following questions of reflection:
Share a story that illustrates when Schu- berg Philis people have best demon- strated “that special Schuberg Philis way”.
Share a story that illustrates Schuberg Philis’ special spirit as embodied within the company.
Share a story on Schuberg Philis’ strength in relation to business and society.
Some answers to these questions:
“In June 2005, we were working on our new website. Despite explicit advice from Schuberg Philis, we stubbornly made the new website live too quickly. With disastrous consequences ... our own fault! Still, Schuberg Philis helped us out. The thing that I remember most is that I never heard an ‘I told you so!’ By the way, I also really appreciate being invited to this Summit, particularly as we’re no longer a customer. The way Schuberg Philis supports people when needed made a great impression on me as well. That includes the way the Alpe d’Huzes project was set up to raise funds for the fight against cancer.”
“Technically, the large migration we performed for Rabo Mobile was one of the coolest things I ever did. It was an enormous challenge, but it allowed me to use all my creativity and I was given all the space I needed. And whenever you get stuck, it’s great to see how many colleagues – from all nooks and cran- nies – will help you out. Some nights you would be working with 10 people who weren’t even in your regular team. Here, you will never see anybody go home if things are not perfect. Sometimes this means working long hours – never a goal in itself – it’s the result we look for. And when it does happen, employees are generously compensated in time.”
“I only joined the club recently. However, it strikes me that we all think alike about many things. We all think it is cool to provide good solutions to issues; everyone supports the 100% ambition. When the shit hits the fan, people are ready to help instantly and voluntarily. That produces an amazing amount of energy.”
Answers to the question “Which values should be maintained?”:
Absolute customer focus
Being able to count on colleagues
Sharing knowledge and best practices
(Strict) recruitment policy
Sander Verloop is a Sales Manager and works for ING, MoneYou and ASR. He has worked at Schuberg Philis since 2006. “When I started working for Schuberg Philis in January 2006, I was impressed by the way they work. It really is different than working at other compa- nies. As an account manager or sales manager, you love to tell good stories. It’s really special to be able to tell good stories that are actually true. In reality, they sometimes sound ‘too good to be true’. We are rather discerning before entering into a contract with a customer. It is essential that there is a real match. That means we will say no when we don’t feel the love is mutual.”
“What appealed to me at this Summit was that we gave some real thought to questions like:
What was our drive in those days?
Do we still share the same principles?
How do we go from here?”
“I also like the fact that it is not about money, growth and profit. These are just the results of the way we work and not objectives in themselves. We are responsible collectively for the ‘company result’ in its broadest sense. That is the result of our combined effort and everyone shares in it.”
Guest Speaker, Raj Sisodia
Raj Sisodia currently works for Bentley University (amongst others). He is the founder of the Institute for Conscious Capitalism and author of the book “Firms of Endearment”.
“Let us start by comparing a caterpillar to a butterfly. The first focuses solely on consumption, while the latter is a being which provides light and beauty. We, as humans, have the same potential. Creating shareholder value is an ambition which only appeals at the lowest level. It certainly is not inspiring. It is time for us to focus on a higher level, especially now that capitalism is in a crisis. Admittedly, it also gave us a lot of good things during the past decades, but that doesn’t mean it is perfect. We now have a big crisis of confidence on our hands. So great, that companies are now trusted even less than politicians! Both Mother Nature and Father Greed have hit the wall at the same time. We are using more resources than the planet can provide. At our current consump- tion level, the United States would need five planets to sustain it, and Europe needs three. Too many people remain unconcerned. They say that fish are the last to discover water. In other words, so far, man has not thought about his consumptive behaviour, thinking he could take – with total impunity – what seemed in abundant availability. But in the meantime, the world has changed immensely, accelerated developments since 1989:
The fall of the Berlin wall, Tiananmen Square, the Exxon Valdez disaster, Ayatollah Khomeiny’s fatwa against Salman Rushdie, leading to the rise of religious fundamentalism.
Thanks to spectacular advances in medical science, people live longer. This leads to rethinking about the meaning and purpose of life.
The ‘discovery’ of the internet by Tim Berners Lee began the democratisation of information.
The increased intelligence of the human species (4% per decade, also known as the ‘Flynn effect’).
Better education, especially for women.
The disappearance of all sorts of slavery, like Apartheid.”
“As a result of these and similar develop- ments, we have experienced huge changes in a short period of time. Now, we have to stay ahead of the curve by doing business in a more conscious way. To quote Alfred Kofman, ‘a conscious business fosters peace and happiness in individuals, respect and solidarity in the community, and mission accomplish- ment in the organisation.’
Sisodia has several examples of the “conscious business” concept:
Whole Foods, a company that specialises in health food built on the belief that everything you eat directly influences your health.
Business meetings which are con- cluded with a round of compliments.
A shop in Austin, Texas, turned into chaos and bankruptcy after a flood. However, in a short time, an army of volunteers (neighbours and customers) turned up. Standing side by side, they all helped to get the shop up and running again. This demonstrates the enormous potential of the combina- tion of stakeholders, care and concern.
The CEO who reduced his income to $1; signed, “Love, Jean.”
Firms of Endearment
The last example raises the question: can you build a business on love? Just consider the famous phrase, “Thank God it’s Friday”. This is the best example of what people should not be thinking. The weekend as a conclusion of a working week, perhaps more significant for its boredom than anything else. Why not be able to say: “thank God it’s Sunday” or, even better, “thank God it’s Monday”?! Why do so many of us hate going to work, a place where many of us spend the majority of our lives? Of course it is important that people go happily to work. This is a place to evolve, to find challenges and collegiality. A place to return to on a Monday, even if we’ve just won the lottery. Not to tell our boss to “Go to hell”, but simply because we enjoy the work, the people, the envi- ronment, the challenge.
Sisodia calls the companies where this happens, Firms of Endearment. These companies are not chosen based on financial criteria. What is most striking at these companies is that they take good care of their staff and their suppliers and they do well on the stock exchange. In these Firms of Endearment, growth is the result, not the goal. Happiness cannot be pursued but is the result of a life of meaning and purpose. This involves working on things that matter, selfless love and learning through suffering. We can compare this to the medical world. “Can you imagine that we would think someone a good doctor who chooses the profession for money?” Sisodia wonders rhetorically.
Looking at business this way, as an inseparable part of society (the power of purpose beyond making money, the difference that you can make, recon- necting people with nature) allows us to embrace the so-called SPICEE model. This model creates the balance between all stakeholders: Society, Partners, Investors, Customers, Employees and Environment. This has meaning for conscious business leaders – empha- sising culture instead of strategy. And it pays off - better margins and lower legal, administrative and marketing costs.
To summarise: our planet, the world as we know it, is in danger. But the good news – although our resources are limited, our creativity has no border.
Daan de Goede
Daan de Goede is a Mission Critical Engineer, who specialises in networks. He has worked at Schuberg Philis since 2009 for Eneco, amongst others.
“Working at Schuberg Philis is fantastic because of the way we work with colleagues and how involved everyone is. I have noticed that delivering 100% is entirely possible if you give it 100% yourself. That doesn’t mean that you have to be completely over-worked the entire week. In my opinion, the key to our success is the character of the people working here. We all want to make a difference in our own way. When you’re technically very good but you fall short in other respects, this is not the place for you. That means – and I am sure I am not the only one saying this – that the importance of recruit- ment is enormous. So we deliberately include a lot of people in the process, both from management and other areas. I also found this to be a very flat organisation where we are all equal. This is another reason why I am very positive about this Summit, a fantastic initiative. You can be sure that the ideas it produces really will be executed. I feel listened to; and that’s a good feeling.”
Marco Gianotten is the founder and director of Giarte, an independent agency that specialises in measuring and improving customer satisfaction regarding in IT and outsourcing. Marco is a popular speaker and author on IT. His latest book is called “I Love my IT Department”.
“The world I work in is still, too often, built on piles of contracts and SLA’s with hundreds of performance indicators. I refer to all this paper as clotted distrust. ‘We’ as the sub-contracting industry are still thinking too much with the left half of our brain. The apparent contemporary idea is that thick layers of control and a lot of technical performance knobs and dials increase the chance of success. Of course, this is rubbish, because the starting point is that suppliers – and therefore people – deliberately want what’s wrong, so you have to have all these rules to keep them away from it. In 2012, a lot of large companies are very dependent on IT. So much so, that you now have to teach them to stop all this superfluous control. When the company’s continuity is at risk because of major incidents in the IT chain, it has now become a sport to prove you are not to blame. So you keep pointing at your own ‘green’ SLA. The blame game has become more important than the solution. Strangely enough this is an outside-in view. As a customer, you will really start to get desperate because of all this back-covering behaviour.”
“With the annual Outsourcing Performance study, Giarte measures satisfaction levels across a large number of sub-contracting contracts in the Netherlands. Marco Gianotten: “If you, like Schuberg Philis demonstrated, achieve a 100% recommendation score two years in a row (2010 and 2011), it means there is intensive customer collaboration to solve incidents as quickly as possible. Year after year, Schuberg Philis has shown substantial growth. Nevertheless, the cupfighting culture has never been watered down. Going from 20 to 200 people went really well. For me, that is an indication that loss of culture will not be a real issue in future growth. What I do consider a challenge, is the step change from quick solutions to constant prevention.”
“Really tough firemen can be addicted to extinguishing fires but less interested in prevention. A similar rush experienced in finding solutions to problems until way after midnight – often before the customer notices it - is a wonderful addiction. But in the future, as a customer, you want Schuberg Philis to organise the entire IT-chain in a way that reduces the chance of major disruptions to ‘almost zero’. And that will mean kicking the ‘rush’ habit in the DNA.”
Discovery Part 2
Discovering the resources in our community
All stakeholders were asked to think about peaks, things we should retain, regardless, and a picture of the future. The results – a mixed snapshot.
Bol.com: in very stressful situations with impossible deadlines, Hugo showed his best.
In crisis situations, there is never reproachment.
The way Eneco became our customer: in no time, the entire team disappeared in consultation.
Rabobank’s experience: how people started to help out, even though they weren’t even involved in the project.
The way people feel for colleagues who are facing a serious situation or illness.
The Vattenfall case, where 15 engineers stood up and said: “We’ll help you out.”
Things we should retain
Being close to customers
Serious about our own responsibility
100% customer satisfaction
Always deliver on our promises
Our will to solve problems
Real interest in customers
Quality of employees
Not always agreeing with customers
Attention to detail
A picture of the future
International expansion (NYC?)
Extending attention to healthcare
100% will be the European standard
Growth without losing identity
Arthur van Schendel
Arthur van Schendel is a Sales Manager and works for Vattenfall and Eneco. He has worked at Schuberg Philis since 2006.
“When I started here, I was thrown into the deep end during my first three months. But once you have settled in, this is a great company to work for. This is a highly challenging place. Not a month passes without you being able to point out something where you improved. It’s a never-ending experience. I also learned to put my own importance into perspec- tive here. At the same time, you notice how important you are every day. We are constantly challenging ourselves why do we do the things the way we do? And we are always on the lookout for ideas and solutions that are not available now, but will be later.”
“The selection process plays an important role when deciding which customers we want to team up with. We will never accept a customer solely because they will contribute to our sales. Instead, there has to be mutual added value. We must really like the customer and vice versa. That is why it is not just them making demands, we do the same. They should also have a need for improvement. A counteractive customer won’t work. Our customers usually share two characteristics.First, they are really looking for mission critical support, believing that IT is so important that the company will come to a standstill and business will be at risk when there is an IT malfunction. And second, they are customers who want to change rapidly themselves. That means industries which are very susceptible to change.”
“Once we have our eyes set on a suitable relationship, we pull out all the stops to shape this relationship. In this phase, the design phase, my role as a salesman is substantial. A lot of time is invested in it, especially in negotiations. Then, in the building phase, I transform more into a consultant. And finally, when acquaint- ance and orientation have evolved to the operational phase, I am checking constantly if agreements are being met. Not only our obligations, but also theirs.”
“Reflecting on my career, I changed jobs every seven years on average. But here, I don’t think it will be very likely. I am still learning and growing every day, both as a professional and as a person.”
Frank Verkerk is director of MoneYou, an ABN AMRO subsidiary involved in financial services. He has been a Schuberg Philis customer since 2008.
“We became a Schuberg Philis customer in 2008, when we were looking for a mission critical outsourcer who could guarantee that our website and the under- lying systems would always work. From day one we were able to work with a dedicated client team, which is always available. We never feel lost. On the contrary, our team feels more like a MoneYou team than a Schuberg Philis team!”
“I think it is a good thing that Schuberg Philis organises this brainstorm and that they involve their customers in it. They have a motive for that. Delivering 100% uptime is mostly a technical challenge. But in the near future, which is actually already here, successful collaboration is more than just thinking about technology and meeting contractual demands. We expect our partners to think about new business ideas with us. And it is also about ‘worry-free’, meaning I do not have to lie awake at night because of security issues. The added value of such a relation- ship also extends to issues like corporate social responsibility and sustainability. I simply cannot allow myself to do business with a data centre which consumes way too much energy.”
“Schuberg Philis should not restrict itself to the things they already do, but should continue to work on their advantage. At the same time, they should continue to use the resources that are already doing well. For me, those are the dedicated customer teams with absolute customer focus.”
Discovery Part 3
Strengths in our various stakeholder groups
This is how the various stakeholders feel about Schuberg Philis:
“Fantastic people. When they came by, I asked, ‘Where is the service manager?’ They told me, ‘We don’t have one, the team itself deals with that.’” “They take complete ownership and never point the finger at each other – let alone us – if something goes wrong.” “There is a danger when expectations are so high. It becomes increasingly difficult to exceed them.”
“Schuberg Philis is the only company delivering on their promises.” “Schuberg Philis is like comparing the Rolling Stones to the Jostiband.” “In times of crisis, they’re perfect.” “Problems just give them energy.” “Their technical knowledge and stress tolerance are unsurpassed.” “Realizing the 100% ambition is the main reason we extended the contract for another five years.” “They never insource rubbish.” “For us, the cup fighting mentality does not restrict itself to the engineers. It applies cross-function.” “It is our challenge to point out areas where we are able to help people and circulate the work, in order to make it even more delegatable.” “Our aim is to service our internal customers in the same way as our external customers.” “We only have a small team. But we still manage major projects like the recent implementation of a new ERP system.” “We are a team, not a department.” “Never stop until the customer is completely satisfied.”
“When you enter, you’ll see a completely different structure. This is real teamwork. When we visit a customer, we always take the executive team. Unlike other companies, we’ll never burden someone else with our own problems.” “When we receive a RFP, we will read it, throw it away and write our own story.” “Really proud to deliver the impossible.” “Customer happiness: falling mutually in love with the customer.” “It was a very fascinating decision, to say the least, to tell people we would not be involved in sales for a year, and instead focus completely on current customers and other important issues.” “The process? There is no process. We just send a mail saying, ‘We’re putting a team together, who wants to join?’ That’s the process!” “We have built a company on love.”
“We are very proud to facilitate the teams and provide the glue, the connection.” “Here, phones are never switched off, we’re always on.” “We all enjoy our work and we want that to continue.” “We are proud to belong to the Schuberg Philis family.” “Schuberg Philis provides a shining example – for other companies, the quality benchmark.” “When you enter the office, you experience a living, breathing, building and a welcoming and friendly atmosphere.” “I do not consider myself a supplier, more of a partner, perhaps even a friend.” “Even a Belgian like me, admits the catering is fantastic.” “We are the glue between the teams.” “I’d rather have a shitty discussion upfront than ‘I told you so’ later.” “We know the devil is in the detail, so prepare for the unexpected.”
“The craftsmanship is first-rate and must remain so – above all.” “Team spirit is crucial; if someone is not ok, there will always be someone to cover for them.”
“We sustain a common idea about and motivation of people.” “We do not compromise on the quality “We make decisions collectively.” “We can be ourselves; we don’t need to pretend we are better than we are.” “Being able to listen well is essential for this job.”
Dennis Silva in conclusion:
“Today was about the inspiration that provides us the fuel to design our purpose-driven future. I am excited by what I have seen happening here today and thrilled to continue on this path tomorrow.”
Desiree Dekker is the Manage- ment Assistant and has been working for Schuberg Philis for five years now.
“I think Schuberg Philis is a fantastic employer. They give me a lot of freedom and that is the kind of atmosphere in which I flourish. I also found it a great honour to be a member of the steering group that prepared this Summit. It contributes to team spirit; I feel I am much more than just a secretary.”
“It’s fascinating to look back and see how it took shape. At first, there was just this little plan when Ilja bumped into David Cooperrider. Subsequently, the concept of the project totally changed: the impossible became possible. And I am convinced it will deliver what we expect from it.”
“My contribution has been diverse: from planning meetings, maintaining contacts with David Cooperrider, to sending letters and booking hotel rooms. I also suggested using this booklet to give an account of this event.”
“I am a perfectionist by nature. But still, when I started here five years ago, striving for 100% was new to me. For example, last week I was in a party supplies shop to buy some items for this summit. I didn’t approve of the quality and instead of thinking ‘oh well, it’s okay’, I went to look for something better. The funny thing is that we don’t use the word ‘demanding’ very often. That word gives the impression that we are doing something because someone else told us to. But it’s not like that. We do what we do here primarily because we want to do it ourselves.”
“And finally this: What I especially like at Schuberg Philis is the way interest and care is expressed when there is something wrong. With problems that really matter, you can’t have better colleagues than ours.”
From dream to design
“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
Guest Speaker, Andrew Winston
Andrew Winston is CEO of Winston ECO-Strategies and a prominent speaker on sustainability.
“Climate change is extremely topical in the United States. Now that we are no longer (willing to be) completely dependent on oil, the issue has an impact on all of us. And these issues are huge. If a company handled its assets in the same way as we do the planet’s, the board would be in Jail. For instance, China only contributes 10% to the world’s GDP, but consumes almost half of all resources. There’s an irresponsible increase in the demand for raw mate- rials leading to rising prices and it’s misleading to act as if this is a tempo- rary problem – it’s a fundamental problem. It is physically impossible to continue this way. And radical innova- tion is needed - fortunately, we’re seeing more and more examples of it:
Parcel deliverer UPS decided to estab- lish a ‘no left turns’ policy. Whenever their delivery trucks are waiting for a left turn at a red light, a lot of valuable fuel is wasted. Intelligent GPS soft- ware enables them to reach their destinations while making a minimum of left turns. This saves 46 million kilometres and 11,400,000 litres of fuel per year.
The transport company Maersk wondered whether it was really neces- sary for their ships to travel at speed all the time. After consideration, ships now travel slower on many routes, producing substantial savings.
An IT company succeeded in substantially decreasing air-conditioning costs by simply opening a window whenever the outside temperature allowed it. We also have to wonder (most certainly at Schuberg Philis) if we really will need to utilise indi- vidual data centres so much in the (near) future, along with all the asso- ciated facilities and costs, particularly with the evolution of cloud computing.
Hygienic paper producer Kimberly Clark developed paper that no longer contains cardboard.
Caterpillar built a hybrid tractor which is 25% more efficient.
A US company asked itself whether it would not be better to share patents. The company decided to share patents which do not provide a competitive edge with other parties.
The Better Place company decided to look at cars in another way; not as an object, but as a service. A service which you only use when you need it, and which can be charged at specific locations.
Xerox thought about the ideal arrangement of office floors. They concluded that it’s not often opti- mised, with too many printers deployed and associated high costs. This raised a challenging question: Can we persuade our customers to purchase less of our products?
Producer of durable outdoor clothing Patagonia gives a lifetime guarantee. In their advertising, they say, ‘Don’t buy this jacket’.
Unilever CEO Paul Polman decided to stop talking to Wall Street and the analyst community. He no longer wanted to be influenced by stock rates while deciding on policy. Unilever now also advises its customers to shorten shower sessions in order to save on water and gas.”
Providing inspiration and getting inspired
“What is it all about? It’s about setting bold targets which go above and beyond. And about sharing successful results - and providing inspiration and being inspired. Success is not guaranteed, that’s not the problem – not aiming for it, is. Failing, successfully, can be very educational. Some examples:
Proctor & Gamble targets 100% renewable energy.
Walmart has set several ambitious targets without even knowing whether they are attainable.
Sony aims to achieve a zero footprint.
- 65% less emissions
- 500,000 new jobs
- £400 million to charity.”
Questions for Schuberg Philis
Questions for Schuberg Philis to consider are therefore:
What does cupfighting mean for the planet?
What does 100% uptime mean for the planet?
Can IT solve the world’s sustainability problems?
“So, if not us, then who? If not now, then when?”
Kevin Struis is a Schuberg Philis Mission Critical Engineer since 2009 and works for Achmea and Eneco.
“Besides the work I do for customers, I am also a member of the ‘Toolkit’ team. This is an independent team - the idea behind it being the centralisation of all the tools that have been developed. This makes it easier to share and repro- duce knowledge.”
“I worked at another outsourcing company for ten years. The main differ- ence I experience at Schuberg Philis is motivation. Here, you sense motivation in everyone. This is something you would normally only see with small start-ups. Actually, I had grown a bit tired of ICT. But since I started working here, I have not done the same thing twice. Here I can do anything I want, whether it is project management, architecture or developing new tools. Somehow it feels as if I have been working here for six years instead of two and a half. There has never been a dull moment.”
Jeffrey Okyere is a member of the Finance team. He has been working for Schuberg Philis since April 2011.
“Before this, I was working in secondment. Frankly, I was getting fed up with never truly being one of the guys. That is why I started to look for a job where I would get the space to demonstrate my added value. I first talked to Hans Tuppe twice, and finally had an interview with Pim Berger. During these talks, everything revolved around finding out whether I had the right DNA.”
“I was hired because of a combination of reasons. I had proven that I can adjust quickly, and I am mostly a long-term thinker. It is my passion to think today about what we want to achieve tomorrow. And I anticipate rather than react. We’ve just completed a very frantic period because of, amongst other things, the implementation of our new ERP system. But I have to say that it all worked out really well. At Schu- berg Philis, we aim very high. I find working with so many bright people exceptionally inspirational, an honour even. It motivates me to raise my game to a higher level and creates new challenges all the time. But you also have to stay focused - nothing you say will be taken for granted. They will always ask for your rationale. It is this purpose that inspires you to do things well.”
“What I really liked about this Summit is the collaborative attitude of management. They could also have said, ‘We will hire a strategist to determine the strategy’, but they didn’t. Our contribution is really appreciated. That is why this is not a feel good event, it’s really about something concrete. A lot of other companies should follow our example.”
Dreams and visions for the future
Our stakeholders think collectively about dreams and visions for the future – Schuberg Philis in five years’ time. Try to embrace creative ideas, be bold, dive into the unknown – embrace the heart, not the intellectual. This exercise produced the following presentations/ideas.
A small step for Schuberg Philis, but a giant leap for mankind
Schuberg Philis will focus on the IT aspects of the healthcare sector, including the problems surrounding the Electronic Patients Dossier (EPD) – giving doctors the chance to focus on patients again.
Press conference 2017 Wall Street Journal
Schuberg Philis presents a new management team consisting of a: CSO (Chief Sharing Officer), a CSBO (Chief Social Business Officer) and a CLO (Chief Love Officer).
Establishment of a Social Business Fund for solar energy, and an announcement that Schuberg Philis will now take care of Achmea’s energy management.
The CSO announces a new TV show, “The Brains of Holland’.
CLO: “We’re not only aiming for 100% satisfied customers, but also 100% happy customers.”
Schuberg Philis Academy
An academy that shares knowledge and cooperates with software vendors to improve their products and educate customers.
Making better use of spare capacity
How can we get rid of redundant resources and (re-)use such capacity better for our customers and the planet?
A five year leap, we
No longer work based on contract, but based on trust.
Train professionals in health care.
Are 100% open source and share everything with everyone.
Are a charity, instead of supporting one.
Have established the Schuberg Philis University.
Life energy dashboard
Schuberg Philis creates 0% waste. A life energy dashboard not only shows the amount of energy used by different systems, it also shows the energy cost per customer transaction.
Less, less, less
Schuberg Philis needs to think about an atmosphere of abundance but where resource is drained – we must strive for a reduced footprint in 2017 from 2012.
Data centre in the North Sea
Regarding financing and infrastructure, Schuberg Philis and its partners have the knowledge to realise it.
Open Schuberg Philis Academy
The interest in the wellbeing of Schuberg Philis’ employees extends beyond contract, to life after Schuberg Philis.
A footprint of benefit to society
To found a Schuberg Philis School as a centre of excellence, frequently delivering keynotes for symposia and covering a range of social issues.
Schuberg Philis mission critical cloud
An all green company that has reduced its waste to zero, and where security is no longer an issue with all relationships based on trust.
Schuberg Philis Cumulus
A cloud-based operation saving 80% energy.
The Schuberg Philis Dream
Rethinking what “winning” means.
Daring to share.
Creating an extended family.
Helping the healthcare sector.
Emission critical services
Schuberg Philis focuses on customers embracing the same range of ideas, with a heavy emphasis on energy savings.
An initiative focused on an artificial intelligence project with applications in healthcare, education and government.
Schuberg Philis Occupy Initiative
Let’s stop with the “me-me-culture” and let Corporate Social Responsi- bility drive all our actions, including the way we respond to RFPs.
Schuberg Philis Summer Camp
An initiative directed at the next generation’s inheritance of the Schuberg Philis culture.
Certification to clarify and confirm the source of our hardware: “this server was built by people who received fair wages in a commendable working environment.”
Paul Linse is an interior architect and founder of Studio Linse. He designed the restaurant, the kitchen and the meeting place in the office at Boeing Avenue.
“About four years ago, I came into contact with Schuberg Philis. I was asked to think about a meeting place that both welcomes and surprises. During the first meeting we felt a good connection. Schuberg Philis inspires me to go further by asking the right questions. My challenge was to create a room that connects people and encour- ages interaction. Also, by getting people away from their screens, they can make contact with each other in a physical sense.”
“I think this is getting increasingly impor- tant these days. I don’t think Schuberg Philis is a difficult customer. Sometimes there are issues but solving them usually leads to something better. Gerwin, my most regular contact, thinks I am a good listener and I feel the same about him. There is mutual respect and that is a must. If you take a good look at everything Schu- berg Philis does, I actually see simplicity as the main focus. With that starting point I aim for what I call ‘harmony in contrast’ in my designs. That is why the meeting place has become ‘multiple choice.’ One can relax (sit low), meet people (sit high), communicate (sit at a desk) and concen- trate (sit on your own). I think it is impor- tant that there is a concept behind such an idea. Experience plays a role in that, but without being recognisable as such. The next move we want to make is to work on new furniture. Understandably, all these characteristics will play a role again.”
Herald Jongen is a partner at Allen & Overy. He has been Schuberg Philis’ lawyer since the MBO. He specialises in IT and outsourcing contracts and in M&A.
“At the time I was a lawyer at a paper trader with a huge IT system. Schuberg Philis was trying to bring in an assignment after some really large suppliers failed on the project. Pim was negotiating the contract with me by phone. I heard someone (I think it was Willem Jan) frantically flipping through a law book in the back- ground. It was quite amusing. Schuberg Philis stood out because of their competence and the positive contact we had. So, that is how we met.”
“Shortly after the MBO, I was asked to sit in during negotiations and contract talks with customers. This enabled me to participate in landmark deals, like the one with Rabobank. As a lawyer, I always try to be part of the sales team. Studying their contracts, I initially thought they were nuts. Clauses sanctioning any deviation from 100% availability are impossible to realise for anyone. But I had to swallow those words very quickly.”
“Later, I was asked to join the Advisory Board, where I once said that the three men had boardroom capability and that they should visit large companies and talk with the Board of Directors, the CIO, etc. In the beginning, they were not sure about that themselves.”
“Over the last few days, we have heard a lot about Schuberg Philis’ strengths. The great thing is that they are all true. In that respect, the Schuberg Philis model is unique in the world. I also began to notice that they are really socially minded, that they have a true social attitude towards colleagues and the world that is beyond words. And finally, the organisation is really flat, there is no distance between teams - including the management team. The way I see it, everyone is extremely approachable, but nobody abuses it. As a customer, they don’t constantly bother you in the Boardroom. That would not work, of course.”
“My relationship with Schuberg Philis is reflected in friendship and trust. Now that we have got to know each other so well, we can read each other perfectly. So much so, that negotiations hardly need any preparation anymore.”
Strengths Based Teams
The marshmalllow challenge
David Cooperrider: “Surveys show that 80% of all employees think their talents are not being used in the right way. Negativity like this not only squan- ders a lot of talent, but may also lead to illness or worse. Therefore, it is impor- tant that companies focus on positive emotions.”
To practice collaboration and using each other’s strengths, we have the Marsh- mallow Challenge. This is a contest to create the tallest standalone palisade made from spaghetti and marshmallows.
The Marshmallow Challenge is an exercise which is often used to answer questions like: how do you co-operate, how do you use each other’s strengths to your advantage, and what is the ideal team formation? It is interesting to learn that business school students tend to perform poorly in this exercise, while nursery school kids do much better!
The difference is that the first group often focuses on the single best approach, while the kids work with prototypes. Somewhat reassuring is that engineers and designers usually do well, partly because they understand the advantages of working with (construction reinforcing) triangles. Business school students usually perform better the second time around, when they have learnt about the bene- fits of prototyping.
Fred Neubauer and Patrick de Zoete
“I have been working here for 11 years and am still surprised about the way we all strive for the further improvement of our company.”
“The unanimity I see here today is really touching. Engineers and non- engineers believe the same things – they are as one when it comes to understanding the ‘soul’ of the company.”
“We see colleagues take sabbaticals – and they just keep coming back.”
“We love you guys!”
Sjoerd Wildschut is a Customer Operation Manager and member of the customer teams for LeasePlanBank and ASR. He has been working for Schuberg Philis for five years.
“As a Customer Operation Manager, I am responsible for the service management stream. As such, I am the contact point for the customer. But don’t think that there are people in our teams who never have any contact with customers. A typical team consists of engineers, a sales manager, a member of the management team and a customer operation manager; everybody is customer facing.”
“We think constantly about the future of our company, but so far we have only really done it in smaller groups. That has its advan- tages, but the problem is that you never get a clear picture about the ideas of others. Schuberg Philis is a club of like-minded people, which simplifies decision-making. Moreover, we work with a consensus model. The opinions of one engineer are not neces- sarily more important than those of another engineer, or of recruiters, or the people in finance.”
“We always say that everyone is entitled to probation errors. But even after that, making mistakes is only human and it even happens to us sometimes. So, that is not the point. I remember a situation where we encountered a short period of downtime. The engineer who was responsible immediately sent out an email which said, ‘I need help now.’ Within 10 minutes, the entire team was assembled at his desk to help him out and solve the issue. What absolutely is a deadly sin, is making a mistake and trying to cover it up.”
“Obviously, it’s a very important function. You have a tough job at Schuberg Philis. So, you need to be the right person to handle your role in the best possible way. Candidates need to have both specific technical knowledge and the right attitude, which can be tough to achieve. Sometimes that’s why people simply don’t fit the job, but it’s usually noticed soon enough, because this person will not be happy.”
“For me personally, the most important thing is that you are working on something relevant as a team. Of course, the high customer satisfaction scores we receive time and again also help. And finally, the fact that I enjoy going to work every day.”
From design to deployment
Tex Gunning worked for Unilever for a long time, most recently in Asia, before becoming the CEO of Uitzendbureau Vedior. After their merger with Randstad, he was appointed to the Board of Directors of AkzoNobel. He is a passionate teacher, writer and speaker about the role of business in the community, and the need for common leadership to address the world’s biggest challenges.
Is growth a tenable concept?
“No, it certainly is not. We have to stop our obsession with growth. When I was born in 1950, there were two billion people on this planet. Within half a century, this increased by five billion. My generation has pillaged this planet in an unparalleled way. Instead of us continuing to empha- sise quantity, we have to switch to quality. Get rid of economic value. The pollution resulting from current production proc- esses does not show up on the company’s balance sheet, but it does on society’s. Instead, let’s be inspired by a country like Bhutan, where happiness is in the budget.”
How should companies change themselves then?
“By paying a lot more attention to quality. Measuring quality is well within our reach. It also applies to the way people feel at work. There is a simple set of twelve ques- tions to test this. It contains questions like, ‘Do you have a best friend at work?’ or, ‘How often were you given a compliment last week?’ Fortunately, I also see compa- nies who are really at the frontline, both searching for solutions to produce less waste and creating an atmosphere of solidarity. After all, the climate change threat is so big that we can only handle it collectively. Solidarity is therefore the key.”
Does this mean that we have to put a lot more effort into cultural change?
“To be honest, I never really liked the term ‘culture’. But I started to rethink this after meeting Chilean biologist and philoso-
pher Humberto Maturana. He told me that man, as a species, survived not only because of a large brain, but also because of living in co-existence with other people and with nature. This feeling of co-existence was coded in his genes. Still, it went wrong at some point, when 15,000 years ago a shepherd built a fence around his flock of sheep and said: ‘These are mine’. In doing so, he broke the code and from that moment on separation replaced co-existence. Culture is the language we pass on from one genera- tion to the next. So, we have to change our language.
Furthermore, leadership by example is important and, as the age old saying goes, ‘to improve the world, we start with ourselves.’ That is why at my home, we deliberately eat vegetarian meals two or three times a week. Not because we are true vegetarians, but because meat consumption is a huge problem world- wide. Besides methane emissions, it takes up a lot of land - land which cannot be used for other purposes such as biofuels production, for example. Characteristi- cally, a vegetarian in a Hummer has a smaller footprint than a meat eater in a Prius. The role of leadership is also to empower change, or stimulate people to take a look at themselves and examine their behaviour in another way. By doing so, they may see things differently.”
How are you able to put those ideas into practice at a paint manufacturer?
“When I got this job, we first asked ourselves: ‘what are we actually doing?’ Of course, we do not sell paint, but beautiful houses and attractive offices where people feel comfortable. We call this the transformative power of colour. The accompanying slogan is: adding colour to people’s lives. We said we would like to get involved with the local communities in the countries where we operate. So, along those lines, a team of volunteers looked for a Brazilian neighbourhood where we could train unemployed youngsters. And our team also got to work and brightened up the entire neighbourhood. As a result, we undertook a full makeover of one of Rio de Janeiro’s slums as well as a hospital in Singapore. It is all about fulfilment, not just on a meta-level, but in practice as well. It is simply all about enjoying what you do.”
But that sounds so obvious?
“Unfortunately, it is not. About 70% of Dutch employees hate going to work! A lot of people seem to think they have two lives – a private life and a working life – but that is, of course, nonsense. You spend more time with your colleagues each working day than with your loved ones. So, you may as well forget about a ‘two lives’ concept and start treating your colleagues the same way that you treat your family members. As a leader, it is important to achieve three things. First of all, a sense of community, a feeling of solidarity. Second is fulfilment. And the third is spirit, a certain energy that allows you to laugh and cry together.”
“After the acquisition by AkzoNobel, when ICI was integrated in the company, we sent everybody on a leadership journey as a kind of individual gift. Here, everyone’s life story was told - how did I become who I am? What recurring patterns do I notice in my life? Those life stories are shared with each other and they make something happen. It creates a sense of togetherness that leads to trust. It is also important that you are connected with yourself. When you are not, you cannot connect to others. Sharing life stories is the strongest exercise I have ever seen. And when you, as a leader, begin and don’t mind sharing your own weaknesses, the rest are soon to follow. It is a matter of courage, but that can be created and cultivated.”
Mieke Luitjes studied drama therapy and art history, and has been a corporate recruiter at Schuberg Philis for the last four years.
“We do not have a separate HR department here. My job as corporate recruiter is to find new candidates and (pre-) select them. In other words, the HR function is completely interwoven with other proc- esses. This results in everyone feeling involved in the wellbeing of others.”
“I personally talk to all new candidates. Generally speaking, from a hundred CVs, twenty people are invited. Usually, only one remains.”
“A lot of engineers seem to have the right attitude. But at the same time they do not have the correct technical skills to work here. For us, it is very tricky to find both in a candidate. I look for a lot of attributes in candidates. A good indicator for success is when someone has become frustrated in his old job, because he wants to grow but does not get the space needed for it - even when he did everything to get that space. In these cases, I look at what happens with a candidate when the conversation heats up, and at a lot of other things. It is all about getting a wide enough view on someone. And afterwards, we decide together. My focus is then on attitude, and with engi- neers the focus is on both attitude and technical skills. I think it is important for someone to have a correct image of himself, knowing what he can do, but also what he cannot do. We have a range of characteristics that we want to see in a mission critical engineer. So, after a technical interview we decide whether he goes to the ‘next round’. This, again, demonstrates our togetherness.”
“Our motto is always: when in doubt, don’t do it. Personally, I think it is important that if we don’t recruit someone, they still leave with a positive feeling. That is why we spend a lot of time in explaining and clarifying our decisions. Usually, a rejected candidate understands those and agrees with them.”
Opening reflections David Cooperrider
“This morning, on the third and final day of this Summit, the word ‘grateful’ occurred to me. A sense of gratitude to be able to work for a company which has introduced a third management style: neither top down nor bottom up, but holistic leadership, using each other’s strengths across the board. Let’s work from our hearts today, what do you want to invest the most energy in? It is design that makes our dreams visible. Or in the words of William McDonough, ‘Designing renders visible our hopes and dreams; it is the first signal of human intentions.’”
“Design enables us to realise dreams beyond imagination. Good designers entwine themselves in the customer’s mind. So, if the ship is sinking – do you put your trust in the Captain or in the ship’s designer?”
Conditions for a good design process:
Nobody is boss.
No titles are used.
Only one conversation at a time.
Encourage wild ideas.
Brainstorming is a religion.
Failure is not a bad thing and should be encouraged (> The Museum of Failed Ideas).
Go for quantity during the first phase, ‘If we don’t come up with at least 150 ideas in 30 minutes, it’s not a good brainstorm!’
As a group, the design studio defines the main categories:
Articulating the Schuberg Philis guiding principles: what is our DNA?
We don’t just want satisfied customers, but customers we love.
The Schuberg Philis Academy.
The mission critical cloud.
100% open source; sharing all we have.
Next level mission critical: saving lives/health care.
An ecosystem of purposeful companies.
Sharing our brainpower.
Spreading our DNA, bridging generation gaps, storytelling.
Radical resource efficiency, zero waste.
Strength based teams > methodology for configuration of best teams.
Cupfighting magnets > attracting and developing the right talents.
Keeping/designing the post-Summit momentum: getting it done.
Automation, automation, automation: toolkit roadmap.
Our powerful purpose.
During the brainstorm across 16 tables (following the rules for a successful brainstorm) whiteboards are being populated with hundreds of ideas and Post-it notes.
The mission: compress these ideas and bring them to life – after all, only when something comes alive, will it really appeal to one’s imagination and convince others.
Ted Troost, a friend of Philip Dries, considers himself to be a friend of the company. Troost became famous as Ruud Gullit’s haptono- mist – he claims it was the other way around.
“As a haptonomist, I deal with what I refer to as the ‘law and order of touch’. By a combination of feeling, touching and being touched, I teach people to get into contact with themselves (again). Usually, an emotion is connected to what you feel, like happiness or sadness. When those emotions interfere with your ability to function, you may end up in a chaotic discussion with yourself. It is then important to learn to recognise congenital beliefs and patterns and say goodbye to them. How does this work exactly? I don’t know that myself, but by touching people I can feel what is going on with them.”
“We now live in times where more attention to life’s softer side is allowed. Through Philip, I encoun- tered the essence of Schuberg Philis and I must admit that I am impressed. I was also very inter- ested in what Raj Sisodia said in his introduction. I went to see him afterwards and gave him a hug.”
Guest Speaker, Tex Gunning
As a member of the board at AkzoNobel, Tex Gunning is responsible for the paint division. As a friend of Schuberg Philis, he was invited to share his opinions about the big challenges the world is facing.
No existence without IT
“As a Schuberg Philis guest, I would like to start by saying there is no reason for an IT company to be modest about its role in the world. After all, without IT there would not have been a revolution in the Middle East. Companies like bol. com would not be able to exist if it weren’t for you guys. So, you should not look at yourself as a mere facilitator. On the contrary, you epitomise the revolution.”
“Nowadays, a lot of companies have in-house TV screens showing stock prices and fluctuations and, personally, I think this symbolises a completely wrong corporate outlook. I think our actions should be defined by the inter- ests of our children over and above the interests of the shareholders. It is our responsibility to think about how we want to leave this world for our children. So, let me share a few things with you this afternoon.”
“First of all, strategic change is not possible without cultural change. This century started with the collapse of the capitalist system and failure of manage- ment. How upsetting is it to hear Alan Greenspan, the former chairman of the FED, say, ‘I really believed that the leaders of Wall Street would make the right decisions’. How could you possibly expect executives, some of them earning $100 million or more, to make the right decisions?”
Role in society
“My generation, those born around 1950, has pillaged the planet in an unparal- leled way. Because of the combination of population growth, climate change, economic inequality and a raw materials crisis, we are heading for a Perfect Storm. Already we need 50% more food, water and energy than is currently available.”
“Companies must consider their role in society; they simply can no longer afford blinkered vision and see only the inter- ests of investors. So, we urgently need to synchronise our social, economic and environmental agendas.”
New fulfilment of co-existence
“‘Co-existence’ is a term that needs our full attention. I have learned a lot from the Chilean biologist Maturana. He explained that man has long lived in co-existence with other people and nature. Until, about 15,000 years ago, a shepherd decided to build a fence around his flock of sheep and said: “these sheep are mine.” This broke an unwritten the code, tradition, and accepted natural practice. It took away trust.”
“People (and animals) tend to copy and imitate experience. A fine example of this is the famous story of the apery, where an ape attempts to get to a banana. He climbs and is punished by a cold shower. This discourages other apes, and somehow the collective knowledge is passed onto new members of the group, apes that never witnessed the incident themselves. Somehow, they still manage to collate and store this information.”
Private and business: one life
“Another thing that I strongly oppose is the idea that people have two lives: a private life and a business life. This is one of the biggest misconceptions you can imagine. Compare the amount of time you spend at work and the time you spend with your family – correlate and calculate – simply make the most of work and relationships with colleagues.”
“We need considerate and caring leaders. Leaders who show courage and integrity. Leaders with wisdom. Leaders who provide substance, not just figuratively but literally: people who can make a significant difference – who arrive at work and take up the challenge. This contributes to solidarity, meaning and spirit. The more you serve, the more you receive. If you want a happy business, make sure your people are happy. To achieve it: new stories, new language, new frames, new beliefs, new relationships, new institutions and new conversations – the quality of the conversation will determine the relationship.”
“Finally, it is my belief that technology is in the best position to make this a better world. Seize that opportunity. Seize the day”
The Summit’s most important insight or learning point.
The event highlight(s).
The most important result.
The most important message.
What do I do now? What is my contribution?
Epilogue by Pim Berger
“A profound thank you to you all. We finally had the guts to do it. Energised by what happened here, we’ll also schedule a date for a new Summit. For my own education – too much to mention. But what sticks is Tex’s remark on having just one life and taking decisions with our kids top of mind. In that respect, perhaps we should give our kids a place in our office.
I have no shame in telling you that I was a bit tense about this Summit, simple worries about who would show up and who wouldn’t, that sort of detail. But now I know that I shouldn’t have worried at all – everything was executed here in the typical Schuberg Philis way of 100%. Once again, thank you all and let’s take what we have achieved over these three days to the next stage.”
Finishing open mike session
“I don’t excite easily, but I am hyper. This summit was really, really exciting. Hell, we can do just about anything. A deep thank you to everybody!”
“My initial hesitation whether this would really accomplish what we intended, is fully renounced. Why did I worry? We all have the same intention. I feel very committed. This was an excep- tional event.”
“What I have seen happening here is beyond my expectations. Thank you all!”
This summit was led by FLI's Strategic Advisor David L. Cooperrider. For more writings, reports, or information on this case example feel free to email David at firstname.lastname@example.org.