Would you consider becoming responsible for the ORMIT Group? It was the best question I ever got (during my work I mean), even though I didn’t have a clue at that time what ORMIT exactly did.
It was on a Friday morning, May 2001, when Ronald Kasteel CEO from Ordina decided to make some changes in the board of Ordina and the subsidiaries. At that moment I was one of the responsible directors for one of the 4 Ordina sectors. And before that I was one of the directors and owners of ELC, a software house with 400 employees. ELC was sold to Ordina and so that is how I became part of it (and earned the money I could later invest in ORMIT by the MBO).
Ronald thought that ORMIT would suit me well. “Can you decide before Monday?” he asked? I called some people and asked them what they knew about ORMIT and gave him a phone call back within half an hour. “Yes I will!!” I said. And I never regretted.
I love working with young and ambitious people, leadership development was what interested me during all my former jobs. During my time with Wang (office automation) I had been responsible for the European Leadership Development Program for almost 2 years. I liked the idea that ORMIT was an independent organization, I was enthusiastic about the fact that ORMIT had offices in both Belgium and the Netherlands, I liked the kind of well-known customers ORMIT had and… ORMIT didn’t do well at that time. So it was a major challenge to change that.
I wanted to make ORMIT the best organization, the nicest place to work and the most successful organization right from the start. And so I did. Of course with the help of all ORMIT’ers that work and have been working with us. And with the help of all examples all my former bosses have given me. Because of them I knew what I liked and I certainly knew what I didn’t appreciate.
Right from the beginning of my ORMIT time I was very convinced that behavior from leaders is more important than what they know or teach you. You can learn a lot and yes, you need to know what you are talking about, but the real difference leaders make is not correlated to their knowledge, or the leadership style they believe in, it is how they act, connect, motivate and inspire!
Last week one of our main customers in the Netherlands said it again: ORMIT’ers sell themselves! And that is true, as long as ORMIT’ers make the difference in their work, in their personal leadership, their behavior and their drive we will keep important customers!
So leadership behavior or personal leadership was the emphasis we brought into the development program. We thought from the start (my start) that we had to give the good example in leadership ourselves, practice what we preach! For us this meant listening carefully to all our stakeholders: our employees, our customers, our alumni, our suppliers. We asked all of them the same question: what do you think we do well and need to cherish and what do you think we can do better. In the beginning we received much feedback on the things we could improve and so we did. Subject by subject and step by step we improved ORMIT in our communication, our development plans, our vision upon leadership, our housing, our assessments and so on! We’ll continue to improve, even though we have a very good reputation already.
Right from the start I enjoyed my work for ORMIT and I still do. I believe in our concept, I love working with the ORMIT’ers as we call them. And the fact that we at last succeeded in the realization of a MBO in November 2010 was a jewel in the crown!
The economic situation is not good, but our financial results are okay. We believe that value for our stakeholders is not only about the money we earn, but also about being a great place to work, having happy employees through our development program and the collaboration with ORMIT. The result of all of this is that we have satisfied and loyal customers who give us more business as soon as their own business is doing better. I am a firm believer of that. I am positive about our future, I cannot wait for the “war for talent” to become more serious. That problem will grow. We are not the only specialists to say so, McKinsey said it again this year, the problem will be serious all over the world! And that problem causes a great challenge for all organizations to find talent, to develop talent and to cherish talent. And that is our core business, that is what we are the best at!
In the next few years we will become even better known as the specialist in leadership and talent development both for traineeships as well as for developing professionals and leaders working in organizations. Besides this increase in recognition we will grow ourselves. And we will enjoy our work, the people who work here, the quality of ORMIT. I am convinced of that!
For me the common theme of my life, my work and the vision of ORMIT is the art of living. My parents called me an expert in the art of living, we talked about that at home, I read about it, got enthusiastic about it. When I now look at the way ORMIT’ers develop, think about the decisions they have to make in their work, their lives, the two years with ORMIT is also art of living.
There is a lot more to tell about ORMIT and our vision upon talentism, we like to share our ideas!