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!


Sevens Heaven

Dear diary. 2 years ago, on a flight to South Africa, my adorable wife and businesspartner told me we should start Hercules Trophy in Dubai. Why? Because! We did the math and a few months later, we met with Hazel from Biz Group in Dubai and signed a deal to organise the first Hercules Trophy outside Europe in the UAE. And here we are promoting our awesome event all over the press, on Facebook, on the radio and on the famous Rugby Sevens! February 10th 2011 will be packed with corporate teams and that this is only the beginning!!!

Dear diary, we feel great in the UAE. It’s a region with a vision. Sure they have their issues. Haven’t we all? As 7Days describes it in sport terms: “The UAE is making a bold bid to become the sporting center of the world. From a few brave souls putting in tackles on sandy pitches back in the 70’s to a world-record crowd of 50.000.”

Dear diary, I know you thought we were dreaming. You are right: we were! But we were also executing, focussing, staying positive, believing we could achieve anything with the support of the Hercules fans and awesome partners. The worst economical crisis the world ever didn’t make it any easier. But we are still enjoying the process.

Dear diary, 2011 is going to be awesome! This is only the beginning of a lot of new dreams.

Before I forget: England was crowned Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens champions


Attraction, Engagement, Economic Battle Fatigue: new HR trends 2011

Interesting presentations during the Hudson Lighthouse seminar. Rather negative movie on their website, but it tells you a lot. Wasn’t able to go to the seminar, but read the article in Vacature and read the presentations afterwards. Since we met so many customers and experts the past months who all say the same, I can only confirm the following trends for 2011:

  • The 3rd War for Talent is starting: are you a great employer to work for? Are employees willing to defend your colors?
  • Lots of employees feel very bad after a crisis (Economic Battle Fatigue): the morale needs to be improved rapidly. “Sport has the power to unite people in a way that little else does” (N. Mandela)
  • Employee Happiness = fun + flow + meaning (I call it “Emotional Resonance”). “If you can laugh together, you can work together” (R. Orben)

The leadership of an organisation has to create a community in which pleasure & meaning are combined to create a sense of belonging” (inspired by Manfred Kets De Vries)

Ivan De Witte, CEO of Hudson, gave some examples from the sports world and talked about investing in people.

What can I say? Hope to see you all at one of the next Hercules Trophies! We combine fun, sport and business. Check out our white paper.


East meets West

Found some time to blog a little. The past months were similar to the months before: extremely tough but very very exciting. It’s been ages since I took a day of holiday, but I deeply enjoy the process of start-ups and get tons of energy from it. We’ve got the best team in the world, the most loyal fans and an awesome concept. It’s only a matter of time before we organise the biggest Networked Teambuilding Competition in the world. Dreaming of 6000 teams per year in 2015! A first World Trophy in 2013 in Dubai would be nice too! If you can sell something in Belgium, you can sell it anywhere in the world 🙂

Travelled a lot. Dubai, Dubai, New York, Dubai again. Feels like I was awake 24 hours a day. Only met with positive people who believe in our dream.

Dubai is doing great for their first Trophy on February 10th. Lots of media coverage and 50 teams already. I strongly believe in our partnerships with BBG, SABCO, FitnessFirst and The Sevens.

This week we launched Hercules Trophy France in Montpellier. May 14th is D-Day!

Looks like the first Trophy in New York will be within 18 months from now. We found the perfect spot in Manhattan!

Receiving good vibes from South Africa and the Far East. Hoping to hold the first Trophies there end of 2011.

On September 10th we did the first Hercules Trophy in The Netherlands. Great start! After the event customers even formed a group of “advocates” because they loved it so much. Too bad some teams declined last minute, but Irene, our girl in Holland, wants to be bigger than Belgium in 3 years from now! I’m sure she will be. The next one is set for May 28th 2011.

Last week I enjoyed the Celebration of Entrepreneurship in Dubai. Only had half a day because of a full press-program, but I really enjoyed it. The Middle East is the place to be! Some quotes I would like to share with you:

  • if you plan for everything, you won’t be lucky
  • focus on the process, not the goal
  • if you want to work with people, make sure you have a Worldview-match
  • skipping from your values is not worth it

And while I’m quoting, one of my favorites lately: never argue with a fool, people might think you are one.


O yes, in the meanwhile we started a cooperative company around Hercules Trophy International! I’m really excited about that one. More news later.

Take a look at the video below. I was deeply touched by a lady who presented it at Celebration of Entrepreneurship.


Olympic Business Champions

Our Dutch team passed me an interesting link(Dutch) to an investigation done by Hay Group. Over 5.500 employees from Germany, France, UK and the Benelux were interviewed. Their conclusion: massive employee migrations (59%!) will hit the market! That’s a big difference compared to last year. The recession caused a lot of frustration.

I talk to hundreds of business people from different sectors regularly and I can only confirm that what I hear matches the investigation and matches my believes:

  • People in great teams make the difference
  • Talent is only an Olympic minimum. Everybody has some kind of talent.
  • What creates real Olympic Business Champions:
    • Motivated people
    • Focused teams
    • Great networks

I have worked for one corporate company with an awesome people culture: Telindus. I’ve experienced the difference between a good company and a great company. And the difference is huge! A few years ago Telindus was bought by Belgacom, and the “kick ass culture” disappeared in a few months time. Amazing no? Was it the building? Was it the strategy? Was it the products? No: it was the people.

At Hercules Trophy, our crew is crucial. It’s fantastic to see how they look forward to the event and enjoy the party after a day of hard work. It’s great to see how they connect with the fans, how they have fun, how they promote the event and how proud they are to be part of the crew. And they should be! I’m not saying that every crew member is on the same level, but the great ones lead the way and the bad ones are eliminated automatically. I’m convinced that any company can create this kind of atmosphere.

During customer contacts, I can easily sense which companies are doing great and which ones are probably facing problems. Typical negative indicators:

  • “I don’t see the value of teambuilding”
  • “150EUR per person all-in is expensive for a networked teambuilding.”
  • “Why should I connect on an emotional level with my customers and suppliers?”
  • “People don’t want to do anything for my company during the weekend”
  • “People don’t want to do sports with other team members”
  • “People don’t want to come to a party with their colleagues”

I can only advice company owners, managers and employees to do something about it. Start with yourself. Start to lead by example. Every day is a new day to change. It requires a lot of leadership and humor, but the results are amazing if you manage to do it right.