“The future of HR lies in understanding group mentality and influencing methodologies and foregoing the endless focus on individuals”

The blog features leadership insights from leading CEOs / CHROs on effective leadership and how their leadership styles helped to shape the organization culture and executive performance in mitigating the ever changing challenges in the business environment. This episode features Mr. Egbert Schram – Group Chief Executive Officer of Hofstede Insights in conversation with Riaz Hassen – CEO of Colombo Leadership Academy

Egbert’s specialty lies in using a data-driven approach to culture, enabling executive-level discussion and decision making. His background as a forester, educated at Wageningen University helps him to keep discussions simple and down to earth, combining short term tactical thinking and long term strategic thinking.

Egbert is a frequent sparring partner at top executive levels, helping to put numbers to people operations (the value of culture) and has spoken among others at CNBC Africa about the impact culture has on economical development of countries, the international project management institute about the importance of diversity and a mix of other keynote events.

Some of the projects he has been involved include customers and partners such as Noor Bank, Mars, GE Healthcare, Manipal-Cigna, Manipal Health Group, Bayer Nordics, Huhtamaki, Futurice, Mediacom, WPP, P&G, Stanton Chase, Microsoft, BCG, several oil and gas organizations and a variety of governmental and supra governmental institutions.

Egbert also functions as a member of the executive advisory board at Amcham Finland and as the chairman of the international chapter of the Finnish HR Federation.

Riaz Hassen – What is the future of HR and where do you see the challenges and changes happening?

Egbert – The future of HR lies in understanding group mentality and influencing methodologies, building conscious cultural frameworks within an organization and forgo the endless focus on individuals. “An individual does not make an organization. A group of individuals does. So manage the group.” This is necessary because of an overload of “prompts”. So much is happening all the time, everywhere, that leaders simply do not have the time to manage individuals nor does HR. So the future for HR lies in understanding how, where and when culture creates blocks which prevent strategy execution. 

Riaz Hassen – What are the key learnings you have taken from the recent crisis in the area of talent management and employee engagement?

Egbert –

A. Focus on the group, not the individual

B. Focus on team loyalty, not individual loyalty

C. Don´t focus on “Happiness” as that is a dopamine which becomes a goal in itself. Organizations do not exist to make employees happy. They exist to make customers happy and as a consequence employees will feel content and proud in having been able to make that happen. 

Riaz Hassen What style of leadership will help to create a high performance organization culture?

Egbert – Consultative leadership in non crisis times and paternalistic leadership in rocky times. Paternalistic because it provides a sense of calmness and steadiness – providing a “safe haven” in times of turbulence. It creates predictability.  

Riaz Hassen – What defines a Great Manager and what are the key competencies required to be one?

Egbert – The ability to collect better minds around themselves who balance the manager´s own strengths and weaknesses. The ability to build loyalty to what the organization stands for, not necessarily for the manager itself. Key competences are:

A. A key sense of self (reflection skills)

B. An ability to stimulate connection building among others

C: A positive attitude, even in rocky times.  

D. The ability to live with paradoxes

Riaz Hassen – What are the best practices in your organization that defines your employer brand?

Egbert –

A. Constructive criticism – we shoot on every idea, to really evaluate if it is business critical and worthwhile of time investment.

B. Don´t take yourself too seriously, take life with a grain of salt, yet also take it seriously. In other words, be able to live with paradoxes. 

C. When you make a decision, go for it. All in, don´t hold back. If it does not work out as planned, you have learned something which enables a better decision another time. 

D. Continuous learning, everybody spends time learning something new each week. We have regular team meetings and virtual cafe´s where people share knowledge. Knowledge gained is knowledge shared. 

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Riaz Hassen is the founder CEO and Managing Director of Colombo Leadership Academy and has served in board positions in diversified conglomerates and has over 30 years of experience in providing leadership and driving business growth. He is an experienced Executive & Leadership Development Coach, A Leadership Effectiveness & Culture Assessor certified by the Leadership Circle USA. Culture & Diversity Ambassador by Hofstede Insights. Riaz is equipped with vast experience in Executive, Leadership and Transformation Coaching domains. Riaz is also an advocate of crafting Employer Branding strategies developing Employer Value Propositions and Diversity & Inclusion ventures.

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