The House of Democracy and Rule of Law has been given a strong foundation
The occasion was unpleasant, but as a result, ProDemos has now taken a huge step towards professionalisation. With the help of Boer & Croon, the organisation is now a forerunner with their integrity policy.
What a particular assignment! How did you proceed?
Elske: This was a hugely enjoyable assignment. Harry and I formed a strong team, and we complemented each other well in experience, competencies and personality.´ This is confirmed by Harry: 'I once developed a leadership model, and if you project that model onto our collaboration, you can see that it meets this. With our complementary capabilities, the first step has already been taken.
The second step was joint observation and analysis. You have to orient yourself well before proceeding with such a task. We spent a lot of time and attention on that. We looked closely at what was going on, read the reports and conducted in-depth interviews. On this basis, we were able to analyse the situation and develop a vision that we could test against McKinsey's 7S model. We then linked that to the systematics of the improvement plan. Very important was communication. We had frequent contact with the client, but also with the employees. This was necessary not only to get a good picture of the internal situation, but also to gain support for the process and the conclusions of our research.'
Such an organisation has been through a lot. So how does it react to yet another external agency coming to look in the kitchen?
Harry: 'Well, there was some hesitation in the beginning. We overcame that pretty quickly by going into things with an open mind and making the staff feel we take their views seriously. We also made it clear that at this stage, we were not looking for mistakes but for points of departure to strengthen together. So not judgmental, but constructive.'
'Those group interviews with five to seven participants each also helped with that,' says Elske. 'Every group was represented: supervisory board, management, Works Council, the supervisors and the staff. We paid a lot of attention to the composition of those groups: male, female, long-serving or not. This gave us a representative representation of the organisation. And we were aware of possible peer pressure, so we always said: if you want to let us know anything else, call or e-mail us. Those interviews went well. People were sent the questions in advance so they could prepare. After that, Harry took the lead. '
'That went very naturally,' Harry adds. 'We complement each other well. Elske is analytically strong, precise and structured. And I have a bit more experience. Afterwards, we compared the answers to the questions to see whether the groups had big differences. That turned out not to be the case. In the end, we were able to give a positive report.'
Elske: 'They were under increased scrutiny by the Lower House and had to report regularly. That put enormous pressure on the organisation. Our report was ultimately also a reason for lifting that heightened supervision. The organisation was also grateful for our report. That's nice. Of course, we acted objectively and professionally, but it would be nice if you could issue a favourable report.
Boer & Croon has a lot of experience with transformations. Do you expect to do this kind of evaluation more often?
Elske: 'Our Public Solution is asked for this more often. Indeed, precisely because of our experience with transformations. We could also see that ProDemos has become highly professionalised. The occasion was unpleasant, but they have now taken a huge professionalisation step.' Harry concludes: 'You could say they are now a forerunner with their integrity policy. From a bad situation, this has been completely turned around. That is great to see and valuable to have contributed to it together from Boer & Croon.'
Executive Interim Manager & Boardroom Consultant