Category Archives: Business

Visionary Leadership in a Turbulent World: Thriving in a VUCA Context – Top Reviews on our Book!

Visionary Leadership in a Turbulent World: Thriving in a VUCA Context  – Top Reviews on our Book!

VUCA Tower copy

In a VUCA world, one of the key skill sets and mindsets is that of collaboration. The power and strength of collaboration is modeled in the forming and completion of the book you see on this image. Nine authors from different parts of the world agree to collaborate on this project, each leveraging their area of strength and expertise, while clearly and carefully synergizing their contribution with the overall theme of the book. The process, though, was not easy. We continually faced VUCA as we attempted to pull this incredible book together for you, the reader. Our esteemed publisher, Emerald Publications just released this fantastic effort and we would like to invite you to share our success.

Please check out the great reviews on “Visionary Leadership in a Turbulent World: Thriving in the New VUCA Context”. This book is available directly from us as well as Emerald Publications, Amazon and other major online book retailers.

Top Reviews on our Book!
‘In today’s world, if a company does not take into consideration the fast changing and tumultuous environment we operate in, it is impossible to outperform itself. In order to be successful, the leader of an organization of the 21st century has to act and think differently. This book gives great insight as to what the new thinking and actions can be whilst providing the context to apply them. Furthermore, the diversity of thought of the various authors makes it a varied and interesting read.’

– Hugues Jacquemin, CEO and General Manager, Ticino, Switzerland, Mining and Metals with High-Performance Materials

VUCA resets the way we think about leadership and how it is practiced. This collection explores the implications of VUCA from a variety of conceptual perspectives and the actions needed to facilitate effective leadership.’ – Rob Goffee, Emeritus Professor of Organisational Behaviour, London Business School

‘The subject matter is very topical and important, and I believe humanity has been here before, repeatedly over many generations. The unknown future always seems so uncertain based on the known (if not totally understood) past. I believe that leadership is eternally generational and human nature is generationally consistent. I would recommend this book to leaders for its depth and plausibility of research insight and practical theory.’ – Brian Bruce, Murray & Roberts CEO: 2000 – 2011; Deputy Chairperson of Council at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2016

‘A superb read containing practical and provocative insights to remove fears related to significant business shifts. Adapt, connect and collaborate to remain relevant and create impact.’
– Corinne Heijn, Founder & President United Success

‘The context of the 21st Century is an effect of an amalgam of influences (such as globalization, social media, and 24-7 news cycles) that is increasingly being described with the shorthand term, VUCA – volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. This context affects everything and has profound implications for leaders and their leadership. How does one go about leading when
the center never holds, where control is impossible, and where assurance of direction is a pipe dream? The authors’ writings that constitute “Visionary Leadership in a Turbulent World” provide excellent frameworks for thinking about leadership in fresh ways–ways that will allow readers to fashion their own approaches in response to the reality of VUCA. I heartily recommend this book to managers, students, and scholars to aid them in their leadership journeys.’– 
Mark E. Mendenhall, J. Burton Frierson Chair of Excellence in Business Leadership University of Tennessee, Chattanooga

Would you like to get in touch with the authors? 

Chief editor and chapter author, Rob Elkington:  
Managing editor and chapter author, Madeleine vd Steege: 
Editor and chapter author, Judy Glick-Smith:
Editor and chapter author, Jennifer Moss-Breen: 
Author, Noel Pearce:
Author, Bettina von Stamm:
Author, Fred Krawkuck:
Author, Suzanne Martin:
Author: Elizabeth Tuleja:
Order now and get & delivery within a week

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Patrick shows us how to future proof a business 🌈


How to future proof your business

Do you have to hit rock bottom to redesign your business or can you be proactive?

Madeleine recently interviewed Patrick van der Pijl, (author of “How to design a Better Business“) on why it is important to consider using unorthodox design principals to prepare for the future.

M: Why it is so important companies consider using design principles and criteria to future proof their business?  

P: Design principles take you away from the comfortable, predictable, safe and effortless linear way of doing business. Sticking to how you have always done business in today’s world, unfortunately, can lead to certain death.

However, when companies apply design and co-creation principals, they go out, talk to staff, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders to create the future, hence creating sustainable businesses.

A prerequisite however to designing that new business, is the company has to see the need to change. Unfortunately, many companies only embrace a new business model when they are bleeding and truly in pain.
SME’s are particularly vulnerable to this. They do not have vast resources nor do they usually get a lot of help from outside their companies and consequently hold on to old business models too long.

When these entrepreneurs are not interested in using tools like the business model canvas, or they don’t have a clear vision or strategy, it becomes mission impossible to convince them to take action.  They don’t recognise that in order to be successful they need to change.

“SME’ s” that want to change can use design principles to make a huge shift.

An example of this is the SME who has been making cylinders for locks and keys for over 50 years who realised they were on the brink of extinction as everything was going digital.
They had no online presence and the business was not profitable. They saw the need to change but had no idea how. A toolbox to redesign the business model, as well as process support in such a case is invaluable.
Surprisingly, are those who see the need to change yet consciously decide NOT to change, happy with the remaining limited lifetime of their business.
Curious to see how you can further future proof your business? click on the links below to order your own copy of the book or visit his website in order to learn more about his business.

Order Patrick’s book 
Nederlands versie
English version

Patrick shows us how to future proof a business 🌈

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Posted by on March 17, 2017 in Business


Why leaders like us should make CRM a way of life & not a product you buy

Why leaders like us should make CRM a way of life & not a product you buy
Let's explore our digital options... CRM, SEO, RSS, LOLThe most frequent (and also the most irritating) question our associate David Fagan get’s asked is “Which CRM product should we buy?”. We approached David for advice since an appropriate level of digital maturity is a key to a thriving SME (and big business) in the 21-century.

‘My answer is always the same’, says David:
Successful CRM is all about creating and implementing a business strategy to:

  • GET new customers
  • KEEP existing customers
  • GROW existing customers

CRM is a philosophy, a way of thinking, a way of life – not a product you can buy. What frustrates me most is that my point of view is not new.

My ideas on exploiting technology for business advantage began to form after taking part in an MIT research programme back in the 1980s. The findings of the whole research programme were published in the book “The corporation of the 1990s: Information technology and organizational transformation” (which was edited by Michael S. Scott Morton)1.

Technology has evolved dramatically since this book was published, yet organisations and people are still making the same mistakes now as they were in the 1980s…
The key finding from this research is that successful business normally results from a good business strategy that is also:

  • properly supported by the organisational structure,
  • enabled by management processes,
  • and executed by individuals in clearly defined roles.

Technology only assists the organisational structure, management processes, and people (roles/individuals).

Looking at the recent successes of companies like Uber and Airbnb this research is still valid.

Uber and Airbnb are successful because they focus absolutely on delivering what their consumers want and need. They do this via business strategies that are disruptive (in their market sectors) and make possible a paradigm shift in the value propositions they can offer.

Supporting their business strategies, their organisational structures, management processes, and people are all optimised and aligned on achieving their business objectives.

Uber and Airbnb use technology that anybody can buy. Technology that many companies (including their competitors) are already using. They use apps. Many companies (including their competitors) use apps!

So the technology Uber and Airbnb have is not key to their success – it’s how they use their technology that makes them successful.

So when it comes to CRM, how you use technology is actually far more important than the technology itself.

CRM is a philosophy, a way of thinking, a way of life – not a product you can buy.

(Mads here) David’s point above is that CRM has to be embedded in your purpose and strategy, supported by the structure and processes in your business and enabled by dedicated resources and clear roles and responsibilities.
We all want to

  • GET new customers!
  • KEEP existing customers!
  • GROW existing customers!

Next up – a case study to illustrate the point:)

Warmest regards
Source: 1 “The corporation of the 1990s: Information technology and organizational transformation”.
This is the final report of a major research programme at the MIT Sloan School. The programme was initiated in 1984, under extensive corporate sponsorship, to explore the influence of Information Technology (IT) on the way in which organizations will be able to survive and prosper in the competitive environment of the 1990s and beyond. The book contains an introduction by Michael Scott Morton, and covers the following topics: the IT platform, IT and strategic management, IT and the new organization, IT and human dynamics, and IT impact on organization change and implementation.

Publisher: Oxford University Press,
ISBN-10: 0195063589, ISBN-13: 978-0195063585

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Posted by on December 5, 2016 in Business


How to Get Everyone on the Same Page

How to Get Everyone on the Same Page


Why does every organization need a vision statement?

A vision statement explains ‘what you aspire to reach’ as an organization and why that matters.

The purpose of a vision is to focus and inspire each person in the company in a meaningful way. Furthermore, the process and people you involve to craft your vision is also important! Research shows successful companies are true to the vision.

e.g Amazon

“Our vision is to be earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”


“At Philips, we strive to make the world healthier and more sustainable through innovation”

A Vision Health Check

Does everyone in your company know what the vision statement is?

Does your vision resonate personally with individuals? Is it inspiring??

Do people own and share the vision with others in simple language?

What do you do to keep this vision alive?

Does your vision immediately show in the way you

  • behave towards each other
  • the way you do business
  • the way your systems and operations run
  • how you meet customer needs?

Can people in the company relate their daily roles and responsibilities straight back to the vision?



If you don’t have a vision statement?

Commit to the importance of having a vision statement:

Plan the process

  • Decide who should be involved in designing the vision. It needs to be supported to work. If you want everyone to own it, it needs to be shared and co-created
  • Meet to design a vision – meeting off site, somewhere in nature will definitely help you think out of the box, inspire and keep the energy up

Answers these questions together:

  • Why do we exist? What is our ultimate purpose – this is your vision!
  • How do we ideally want to achieve our vision – this is the basis of the strategy that will help you achieve that vision
  • What specific products and services will achieve our vision

Make it work!

  • Reduce your vision statement to two or three lines that are inspirational, but simple. Make it comprehensive yet detailed
  • Decide how will you communicate the outcome, and to whom?
  • Consider how will you weave the new vision into the fabric of the company on an ongoing basis?
  • Coach your managers and staff to help everyone connect the vision to their team and individual roles. For example making it part of existing team meetings and other work processes already in place

When to Bring in the Big Guns!
At SYNQUITY, we are experts at helping you to craft a deep meaningful company vision, co-created and owned by everyone, connected to your teams and individual roles, communicated in the way you behave towards one another, transparent in the systems run and the way you meet customer needs.

How to Break Through Silo’s, Department Politics & Infighting

Die Gesellschaftspyramide

Silo’s, company politics and infighting are detrimental to the bottom line and to our customers. It is also painful for leaders, colleagues, and staff due to the destructive atmosphere it creates.

In a big crisis people often have the natural tendency to draw together, step up, help out, and show the sweeter side of our humanity.


Because a crisis has the effect of sliding the bigger picture into focus. That picture is – we are all in it together. We need each other to achieve company goals and personal growth. Ego’s dim and empathy wins. Issues that separated previously, no longer have relevance in quite the same way.

The truth is – that this is the most civilised, productive and best way of working. Everyone wins including the customer.

Teams overcome silo’s when individuals reconnect to the bigger goals that matter and observe the personal and team practices to support this. These goals provide us with a sense of meaning and joy in the work we do.

How can you work through silo’s, infighting, and politics? 

Sometimes organisations and people fear openness. The environment is seen as cut-throat and it is “each wo/man for her/himself.

Organisational cultures and structures create boundaries naturally. The more rigid, the more silos are likely to form between divisions, teams, and customers. People begin to accept the status quo unless the leaders step up!

Leaders, managers, and shop floor team leaders can change all this!

One solution to break down silos is to engage external cross-functional coaches like Synquity, with the expert skills and knowledge to help people break through politics, infighting, and silos more efficiently.

When leaders and teams utilise the safe space, insights and structure provided by cross-functional coaching, things can improve quickly. The energy drain caused by politics and silo’s is released and people enjoy working together again.

In cross -functional coaching teams gain insight into the workspaces, challenges and aspirations of colleagues in other teams. They discover opportunities, to co-create and innovate together, that they were blind to before. Teams learn to align and function better together as ‘one organisation’.

In cross-functional coaching, we also give teams the opportunity to get a 360° view of a customer’s needs, desires, fears and aspirations (‘A day in the life of the customer’).

Not everyone has had the opportunity or mindset for collaboration to work.

Keeping boundaries open ensures a flexible and stimulating environment where innovation and creativity can flow and stop silos from developing in the first place.

We have proven experience that as teams reconnect to the customer’s needs, connect to a sense of purpose, gain an opportunity and a willingness to engage in healthy, cross-functional collaboration and team practices, you, customers and the organisation really benefit.

Warmest regards Madeleine van der Steege
Director of Synquity



Learn Why This CEO’s Change Efforts Failed

I recently met with a CEO of a large corporation. He was demoralised and confused by the limited impact a 3-year culture change program had, in which they had invested EUR 300 000. Despite a substantial effort, it seemed it was a waste of money. However, there were many aspects at the beginning that they got right.

What did they do Right?

  • The change was initiated and supported at board level
  • During the change program, a clear vision and goals were developed, which fuelled a sense of urgency
  • Change management efforts (information about the change) targeted top level, middle management and pockets of people across the company
  • The change program provided staff with a menu of options such as workshops, team meetings or one on one coaching to help them embrace the changes
  • Changes were rolled out and supported over a substantial period of time
  • They celebrated and marked important milestones
  • The team leaders had an active role in facilitating change with their own teams

Yet, this organizational change failed?

  • The Chairman seemed to be fully on board at the outset, but quickly lost interest and it was visible to all
  • The Voices of Judgement (VoJ), Voices of Cynicism (VoC) and Voices of Fear (VoF) in the organization remained unchecked (see Otto Scharmer’s work)
  • The Chairman’s lack of support (his VoC) for the program was not raised with him this had a snowball effect
  • In the culture of this organization, it was customary to preserve harmony and stability at all costs. Therefore when concerns or issues were noted or raised, they were quickly minimized, shut down or ignored (VoF)
  • Senior managers could not really buy-in to the change since the chairman’s attitude undermined the program. It was therefore not ‘politically correct’ for managers to act as role models for change (VoF)
  • People in the organization, as well as the change leaders, defended the status quo and remained silent, and in denial of resistance (VoJ)
  • The organization lost the ‘critical mass’ which is needed to reach the tipping point for changing the old, dysfunctional, obsolete status quo (VoF)

Solution: Strategic Systems Coaching

In organisations like the one in this case, the executive leadership is the portal to change the rest of the organisation. If commitment and trust are lacking at the executive and management level, it will be difficult to develop leadership and achieve real organisational change. This commitment and trust is therefore vital, and systems coaching is one way to keep this on the agenda and not let it slide.

  • Strategic systems coaching means coaching an organisation’s leadership so that the organisation can change as a whole system. 
  • In systems coaching process, we apply various coaching processes to change management methodology. 
  • This is a highly effective way to facilitate change, connection and integration in organisational systems. 
  • We provide an opportunity for leaders to step back and look at the elements of their organisation and the relationships with and between these elements, and then to examine how these relationships and elements dynamically interact via feedback loops. 
  • Voices of Judgement, Voices of Cynicism and Voices of Fear are part of any organisational reinvention and coaching offers a safe forum to work through it.
  • Changing is not just about doing the right stuff, It rests on true commitment of the spirit and heart of the people to make the changes.
  • Along every step of the way, leadership influences the existing culture by either facing or ignoring the underlying convictions of (fear, judgement, and cynicism) that derail real change.

Our systems coaches help organisations to change as a whole system and make the journey smoother and more effective. 
I want our organizational change to be effective 

Madeleine van Der Steege

For more information or comments please contact me on


A Better Way to Measure your Organisations’ Performance

The days when companies survived off product and profits alone are gone. ‘Millennials have impacted the way purchasing behavior occurs and demand more from brands than just an adequate product. They expect brand values to align with their values, and their consumer habits are dictated by personal philosophy. In short: People buy from companies that have a conscious’ (source Jason Burnham). This becomes transparent to your customers when your values are embedded in a purpose and the organization operates as a whole which Chef Joan Rocca embodies in this video.

The biggest challenge of our time is the decoupling of business and economic growth from emissions and the overuse of natural resources according to Sitra.
Solutions include, for example, carbon-neutral business, the circular economy, and scaling out current best practices. There are many reasons why leaders of an organisation are paying urgent attention to the concept coined by John Elkington, as the triple bottom line (also known as the 3P’s: people, planet, profit) and measure performance based on their financial, social and environmental impact.

Dr. Bettina von Stamm mentions the following reasons why companies use the 3P’s:

  1. Concerns about prices and scarcity of food and raw materials
  2. Concerns about global warming and the conditions of our planet
  3. The realisation that some companies wield greater powers and have (potentially) more influence than national governments

A circular economy based on closed loops has been suggested as a way to maximise the value produced from natural resources while minimising environmental loading. Increasing well-being with a smaller carbon footprint also makes sense commercially, through savings and new business models. By monitoring companies’ value networks at a system level, for example, the nitrogen and phosphorus used in industry and agriculture would not escape into water systems.

Source quoted :

Not only do companies such as General Electric, Unilever, Proctor and Gamble, 3M use 3P metrics – it is also being adopted by private and medium sized companies. The following metrics were used by an engineering company according to Slaper and Hall


  • Amount of taxes paid


  • Average hours of training/employee
  • From welfare to career retention
  • Charitable contributions


  • Safety incident rate
  • Lost/restricted workday rate
  • Sales dollars per kilowatt-hours
  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • Use of post-consumer and industrial recycled material
  • Water consumption
  • Amount of waste to landfill

 What are The Challenges of CEO’s and Snr. Managers?
 Tell us what you think!

We’d love to get your feedback

Give Feedback

This snap survey is part of the International Community Platform’s 2016 research program Uncovering & nurturing growth opportunities. Your input will help us to improve the working environment for international employers and employees. We are collaborating in this survey with Synquity, a local team of international experts dedicated to enhancing leadership confidence on all levels. Thank you for your invaluable input!

Thanks for reading!

Madeleine van der Steege:

Contact me on or check out


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Posted by on June 2, 2016 in Business

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