The capacity audience at the Van Nelle Fabriek in Rotterdam heard from Dean of RSM Steef van de Velde how the concept of inclusiveness and a ‘we’ culture – which some politicians have recently interpreted narrowly as walls, borders and becoming less open – can actually improve the productivity and opportunities of success for all kinds of organisations.
‘Focus on listening’
More than 400 members of the business and business school community listened to Professor Dirk van Dierendonck’s five key principles for changing the culture of HR and leadership ‘from me to we’:
- Happiness results in performance.
- Motivating through empowerment.
- Leading with humility.
- People need people.
- Building on respect.
The higher up the hierarchy in an organisation they are, the more leaders should focus on listening, he advised.
‘It’s impossible in a day’
Guest speaker was Stefano Rosso, CEO of the fashion manufacturing and distribution company OTB Group, the parent company of the fashion brands Diesel, Maison Margiela, Marni, Viktor & Rolf, Staff International and Brave Kid. He told the audience that the family-owned and -run Group is in the process of succession as his father, Group founder Renzo Rosso, nears retirement. Stefano’s role is to turn his father’s revolutionary entrepreneurial thinking into a ‘constant evolution’ in preparation for the future, and observed that it’s impossible to transform a ‘me’ model into a ‘we’ model in a day.
The pace of the day then changed, with a choice of eight interactive break-out sessions conducted by RSM faculty, asking participants to actively explore aspects of moving towards the culture of ‘we’ for businesses.
- Business Achievement Award: Christine Lim (International Full-time MBA 2010).
- Entrepreneurial Spirit Award: Roos de Wit-Goedhart (Executive MBA 2009, MSc BA Business Society Management 2003 and Bedrijfswetenschappen doctoraal BSM, 2003).
- Social Impact Award: Debby van der Schuit (MSc International Management/CEMS 2010).
‘What is your purpose?’
Dutch cabaret performer, satirist and writer Freek de Jonge launched the final plenary session of the day. His absurd and anecdotal style threw new light on the issues of getting from ‘me’ to ‘we’. It requires basic trust and intrinsic discipline he said, and he performed an animated anecdote about helping a drunk marine pilot steer a ship carrying chemical waste to illustrate building trust, concentration and focus.
“Organisations exist to do something you can’t do alone,” said Daan van Knippenberg, professor of organisational behaviour at RSM, and final speaker of the day. The key to effective leadership is uniting people towards a purpose but it must be based on values. Companies that cannot clearly formulate, define or articulate that purpose face a challenge to convincingly communicate what they are doing and why they are doing it.
To find out more about the presentations, read the full report or explore photographs and videos of presentations and break-out sessions at the 2016 RSM Leadership Summit, see our Leadership Summit webpage.
Prof. Daan van Knippenberg will lead a two-day executive education programme on values-based leadership in December.