Sweatworking is the new networking

For the first time since 1995, we invented a trend BEFORE Fast Company picked it up. That calls for Champagne!

For the record: Fastcompany is my alltime favorite magazine and source of inspiration and this is what they published about Sweatworking. So now even FastCompany understands the value of Hercules Trophy. #proud

A Mother’s Day Reflection – Roots & Wings

Happy Mother’s Day Mum! Didn’t find the time to blog lately. Way too busy with Special Olympics 2014 and the expansion of Hercules Trophy around the globe.

However, I found this nice blog post about Special Olympics on Mothers day. Check it out!

Today we remember mothers who inspire, love, sacrifice, devote and never stop looking after us no matter our age or ability. Glen Finland, mother of Special Olympics athlete David Finland, shares some reflections on motherhood. Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms and moms-to-be! More…

So that was the secret mission

Those who follow me on Twitter know that for weeks now I’ve been preparing for a new and exciting mission.

The Special Olympics Summer Games 2014 are coming to Antwerp and I will take the role of CMO (Chief Marcom Officer). In the next days and weeks I will create a dream team of professionals who will work on this exciting mission for the next 3 years. As I will remain President and CEO of Hercules Trophy I will divide me time between both challenges.

Why I’m so excited? How many reasons do you need? For me, the video below was crucial to understand I want to be part of Special Olympics.

Special Olympics

In 2007, Special Olympics Belgium with the assistance of McKinsey and company developed a bid document to bring the games to Belgium. They succeeded. In September 2014 the Special Olympics Europe-Eurasia Games will come to Belgium for 9 days. Special Olympics specifically target athletes with a intellectual disabilities. Antwerp, one of the 22 Olympic cities, will host the event for 2,000 athletes and their delegations from 57 countries. More than 4,000 volunteers will help to make the multi-sport event unique and unseen.

The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.

  • “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”, that’s the Special Olympics athlete oath.
  • “Everyone can be a hero”, says Herculix.
  • All sports for all people. This is surely a phrase that people will consider foolishly utopian. That prospect troubles me not at all. I have pondered and studied it at length, and know that it is correct and possible.”, said Pierre de Coubertin.
  • “Sport has the power to unite people in a way that little else does.” That’s what Nelson Mandela taught us. At Hercules Trophy, we use this statement to make people understand the value of sports for teambuilding.

Understand why I’m so excited about this?

I hope we can make you all fans of Special Olympics in the years to come.

Fans of Special Olympics


You can find the press release here.

Individual sport vs team sport

Dubai MarathonMarathons, 20 miles, 10 miles, 1 mile,  Ekiden, mountainbike races, climbing mountains on a bicycle, triathlons, golfevents… I just love it when people participate in sporty challenges for individuals!!!

Going to sportevents, cheering for your teams, inviting customers in business seats: again, great stuff!

I love endorphins. I love people who try to stay healthy. I love people who train for a sport event. I love people who love sports. I love companies who see the value of wellbeing for their employees!

BUT. Sometimes you see fancy marketers trying to sell these events as “team building”. Please guys, give me a break and stop doing that because you are overpromising and under delivering. Team dynamics is much more than a bunch of individuals performing well in sports or watching sports together. Stick to your core business and that is: organising sport events for sporty individuals or for people who are interested in sports. And you are doing a great job by the way.

If you really want to start building a team,  this requires at least 5 people achieve something together.

No, not the 5 best runners of your company you selected and trained to win a race

No, not the 11 people you selected to form a football team for your company

No, not the top notch CxO’s who play golf with customers

…but 5 people who work with each other on a daily basis, all have their strengths and weaknesses, and are in the teambuilding activity together with a chance to win something because they are an awesome team.

Not everybody loves sport in a way all these individual athletes do (the world would be a boring place wouldn’t it?), but sport has the power to unite people in a way that little else does! You feel the important difference? If you really want to organise a sporty teambuilding, EVERYBODY should be able to participate and everybody should be able to win!

You don’t have to believe me, as I’m only in the teamsport industry for 12 years Glimlach.

By the way, I think team building is not the best word for it. Improving team dynamics is probably a better one. I like even more “Improving Wellbeing of Teams”, but for a lot of people that’s still a bit difficult to grasp.

Look at how the famous Six Sigma describes team building, but I think it’s originally coming from Tuckman. Read the text and try to find the individual athlete in there…

There are five typical stages in the team building process. Each team passes through these stages as they start and proceed through the project. The various phases of the team building process are as follows: Forming, Storming,Norming,Performing and Adjourning.

The first stage in the team building process is called the Forming stage. In this stage the team comes together and begins to formulate roles and responsibilities. The team leader is identified and he/she starts directing the team and assigning responsibilities to other team members. Most team members at this stage are generally enthusiastic and motivated by a desire to be accepted within the team. The leader employs a directive style of management which includes – delegating responsibility within the team, providing a structure to the team, and determining processes needed for the smooth functioning of the team. Towards the end of this phase the team achieves a commitment to the project and an acceptance towards a common purpose.

The second phase in the team building process is called the Storming stage. As suggested by the name itself, in this stage conflicts start to arise within the team. It is responsibility of the team leader to coach and conciliate the team. Team members often struggle over responsibilities and control within the project. The leader employs a coaching style of management which is reflected through facilitating change, managing conflict, and mediating understanding between different parties. Towards the end of this phase, team members learn to voice disagreement openly and constructively while staying focused on common objectives and areas of agreement.

The third stage in the team building process is called the Norming Stage. In this stage, relationships gel and the team develops a unified commitment towards the project goal. The team leader promotes the team and participates actively in the team activities. Team members look up to the leader to clarify their understanding as some leadership roles begin to shift within the lower rungs of the group. The leader employs a participatory style of management through facilitating change, working to build consensus, and overseeing quality control. Towards the end of this phase, team members accept individual responsibilities and work out agreements about team procedures.

The next stage in the team building process is called the Performing stage. In this stage, team members manage complex tasks and work toward the common goals of the project. The team leader supervises and lets the team lead the project on more or less an automated mode. This is the most productive stage for the project team. The leader employs a supervisory style of management through overseeing progress, rewarding achievement, and supervising process. When the project has been successfully completed or when the end is in sight, the team moves into the final stage.

The last stage of team building is called the Adjourning stage. In this stage, the project is winding down and the goals are within reach. The team leader provides feedback to the team. During this stage, team members are dealing with their impending separation from the team. The leader employs a supportive style of management by giving feedback, celebrating accomplishments, and providing closure.

You will notice that each stage of team, the team leader needs to adopt a different style of leadership. It is therefore important for a leader to understand these stages and identify the current stage that a team is undergoing. The success of the team depends on how well the leader can guide them through these phases.

I wish you all a Herculean Day!

Invest in development of people

CFO:”What happens if we invest in training and developing for our people and they leave the company?

CEO:”What happens if we don’t, and they stay?

CFO:”Is investment in the area of training and development linked to the bottom line within the business?

…you get the picture right? In my corporate life, these situations came across rather often. Worked for an amazing people oriented company – Telindus- and felt the difference in every atom of my body.


I think sending the CFO on a development program would be a first wise thing to do in this situation! If you think these discussions don’t exist anymore, good for you and you’re probably part of a great company, but make no mistake: those rational guys are still out there! 🙂

Just take the recession as an example. During that very interesting period, there were only two types of companies: the once that kept on investing in people (maybe a bit more focussed and skipping the programs without return) and the once that saw people as a huge cost. As I’m in the team-experience-business, I could clearly see the difference on a day-to-day basis. We had fans in tears because their manager didn’t want to spend 170 EUR per person to improve teamwork…

And what happens now? The War on Talent is back in a lot of sectors! Who’s leaving the company? The ones with the most talent who were seen as a cost. Would you blame them?

But then…everybody knows this right?

Met two lovely people for an interview in the FIT magazine today and when you explain people how much the business world can learn from the sports world, they immediately grasp it.

“Do you want to participate in the Olympics or would you prefer to have your company in an amateur league?”

“The Olympics! Yeah!”

“Do you want to win? Go for Gold? Do your people know that? Do they wake up every morning with the Olympic dream?”

“Do they have the talent? Do you help them develop that talent?”

“So what are you all doing today, right now, to reach the Olympic minimum in a few years and the Olympics in 4 years from now? Or is that something to worry about later? Or will “The Others” do that for you?”

“Do people know that you can not accomplish anything by yourself? That awesome teams are the only way of achieving outstanding results? That you need amazing networks of customers and suppliers to help you achieve your goal?”

“What happens if you get injured (like a recession) during the preparations? Do you fight or do you give up and blame The Others?”

But then…everybody knows these typical statements right?

Or do you need a blog like mine to remind you from time to time? 🙂

Have a Herculean day and let’s go for Gold!


Awesome teams

You must know my personal mantra by now:

  1. Believe in your dream and Focus on the process of achieving it
  2. Work and nurture awesome Teams focussing on that dream
  3. Create a strong Network that helps you achieve your dream

That’s all there is to it. And this mantra goes for business and pleasure.

I was lucky to work in awesome and probably the worst teams ever during me career and life. I couldn’t agree more with how Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton describe the secret behind great teams:

  1. Wow: awesome teams commit to a standard of world-class performance
  2. No surprises: all members are accountable for openness and honest debate, and each knows what to expect from others
  3. Cheer: members support, recognise, appreciate, and cheer others on to victory.

The “only” thing a leader of the pack has to do is to:

  1. Have an eye for the talent that is needed in the team and find that talent
  2. Translate dreams to goals for everyone
  3. Facilitate rule setting by creating a collective code of conduct that works for that team
  4. Promote a culture of appreciation

It’s as easy as that!

Isn’t it weird that there are still executives out there who don’t see the value of great teams? Who don’t think of customers or suppliers as being part of the team? I probably think this is weird because I’m in the team-business every minute of the day. Maybe this Arabic version on Al Hurra TV of Hercules Trophy in the UAE helps to convince them:

The Orange Revolution

The Orange RevolutionHow come I only know about the book since yesterday? Must be losing my touch! Thank you Mall of The Emirates. Anyway: required reading for all people leaders! Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton did an exceptional job!

It’s Orange (a coincidence that the best intercompany team competition in the world is orange?)…it’s about the true driver of a thriving organisation’s exceptional success. Their research shows that breakthrough success is guided by a particular breed of high-performing teams that generate own momentum. An engaged group of colleagues in the trenches, working passionately together to pursue a shared vision.

Only 20 percent of teams are working anywhere near this optimal capacity. They base their statements on a groundbreaking 350,000 person study by The Best Companies Group.

It contains remarkable stories about teams and contains a powerful step-by-step guide to taking your team to the breakthrough level, igniting the passion and vision to bring about an Orange Revolution!

During the past 15 years I experienced the difference between bad, good and great teams. I relate to nearly everything they say. So read it, now, and make the world a better place through awesome teams!