The first step consists of describing the visible and the implicit elements at the heart of an organization’s culture by asking questions, mirroring and giving and receiving feedback. Your identity is not something you shape on your own but in relationship to others. If you want others to choose you – and you are interested in quality, too – you have to know your core values, be aware of existing patterns, understand the needs of your environment and the market, recognize trends, and choose who you do and do not want to be.

The long road to change starts when people get enthusiastic, can be themselves because the power of diversity has been recognized, and can inspire others. Only then can new bridges be built and solutions be found that reflect the heart of the organization. The aim is to invite people to work together and stimulate them to perform. For example, by arousing their interest with a story about the company that makes them want to participate rather than spectate.

‘I ask questions that shake things up a bit in order to determine what is and is not important. It’s important to listen to each other with an open mind and without passing judgement. The heart, the core of an organization is the strength of its brand. I summarize this core in an initial document in which I describe the company’s vision, mission, core values and the promises it makes. The document can be used to create a plan to communicate the positioning both internally and externally. I help clients select third parties and if requested I manage them or monitor whether the goals of the communication are being achieved and adapt the strategy if necessary.’

‘I’ve been working for a client as their internal advisor, external advisor, and a combination of both, for many years. I’m always interested in long-term relationships. I have flexible working hours and billing schemes. For some jobs, I quote a fixed hourly rate, an hourly rate with an ‘earn out’ formula, or a fixed fee for a specific assignment.’

‘My network in the southeast of the Netherlands can provide additional added value for companies in the region. I prefer to work with companies and initiatives on a national scale, and preferably even an international scale. I see diversity and cultural differences as the most valuable reflection of ourselves.’