Hercules Academy

As fans kept on asking to help them improve corporate wellbeing the whole year long, we started looking for solutions. We discovered that the Corporate Wellbeing market is very fragmented with specialists only focussing on certain aspects of wellbeing. Some focus on body, others on mind, some on nutrition and some on social aspects, but nobody on the big picture.

So we decided to create our own holistic approach, based on the experience of true Olympians. Former Olympian Serge Haubourdin joined the club to become managing partner of the Hercules Academy. We tested the approach on a few major fans and on our own team. And it works! Find our brochure here and let me know if you want us to help you reach your Corporate Wellbeing targets for 2015.

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Why You Should Take Your Work Outdoors

Couldn’t agree more with the post of Lisa Evans. At Herculean we take our work outdoors all the time. Try it, it helps. Here’s an extract of her post:

Do you feel stifled by the four walls of your office or cubicle?

There’s a reason for that.

Trapping ourselves indoors has created what health experts call a “nature deficit disorder” — depression or anxiety resulting from too little time spend outside. Getting outdoors can do great things for your health. Reducing stress, lowering blood pressure and improving immune function are among nature’s health benefits. What’s more, incorporating elements of nature into your workday can also give your brain a boost, resulting in increased productivity, focus and creativity.

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Boss vs leader

bossversusleaderOn a daily basis I hear people complain about their direct “bosses” or bosses that influence their lives indirectly (bad politicians, lousy bankers, selfish managers…) . Don’t complain, don’t get depressed, act! Otherwise you have the characteristics of a boss too. We don’t need bosses and we should fight them with all the powers we have. Be a leader of the life you want and don’t let anybody tell you it can’t be done!

I’ve worked for bosses and with leaders. I recognize bosses in 5 milliseconds, and they feel that Smile The relationship with bosses were extremely short as I have a tendency to confront them into a “them or me”-situation. The leaders are friends for life. I can only advice you to challenge the bosses keeping your own strengths in mind. Don’t step into their ballgame, because they are great at it. They will try to scare you, but always remember they are more scared than you. They are very good at hiding it. Their worst nightmare is you discover their incompetence and that they will lose their power. That’s the last thing a leader thinks about. So don’t be scared of bosses, be scared of being unhappy for the rest of your days.

Should we be patient and let bosses become leaders? A few years ago I would have said yes. Back then I showed too much patience hoping some bosses would “become” leaders. Today, with all the experiences of the past entrepreneurial years, I would say no. I don’t think people can change from being narcissistic to altruistic, because that’s the core characteristic of a true leader. At least, I haven’t found examples yet.

So, let’s fight those bosses as they don’t deserve to lead you. You deserve a great leader to help you achieve your dream. It’s your job to find him or her. You deserve to lead your own life in the right direction. You have my mental support and the support of all Herculeans out there.

Have  Herculean one!

Employer Branding is the new black

Improving your Employer Branding is one of the key benefits of Hercules Trophy. Hercules Trophy is not just another teambuilding. It’s an inter-company team competition. Emotional connection, the first crucial phase to start building a team is only one of the many results of Hercules Trophy.

A strong employer brand = more highly engaged employees = better service to clients = more satisfied clients = more business and more referrals = bigger bottom line.

For the past 14 years I can easily say which companies have a strong employer brand and which haven’t. Just observe the teams at a Hercules Trophy and you’ll know. Some employees are proud to represent their brand, others really don’t want to go the extra mile. By the way, these things can change year after year.

I like the Performance-Happiness Matrix of Charles D. Kerms.

I also bumped into this very interesting blogpost by SocialTalent on the LinkedIn Talent Connect Conference of last month. What’s emerging over the last 12 months (no surprise here, really) is that the employer brand is equally as important to the hiring organisation as their consumer brand. “Employer branding is the new black”, said LinkedIn. When they analysed the goals and marketing spend of 3,028 companies from around the world, the evidence was clearly pointing to a shift in priorities and results-based marketing decisions in branding their companies for hiring, not just selling.

Your performance is only as good as your people. You need to attract the right ones, and then the brand develops from the inside out. Building the company’s reputation as a great place to work serves both your talent acquisition strategy and your client sales strategy.

In Belgium we have closed a partnership with Vacature|Référence to become Title Sponsor. Why? Because they totally get the Employer Branding power of Hercules Trophy. HR Magazine and Federgon are also proud partners. Our customers get it too. That’s why 200 teams subscribed in only 4 days time and we haven’t even started yet. Seen these brand new reference cases of Adecco, Deloitte or DHL?

Are we cute or what?

We just released the official after movie of Hercules Trophy 2012 in Belgium. Great to see all these happy faces. Soon we will launch the 2013 editions. I promise you: we’ll set the new Olympic record in our industry. You’ll be surprised!

Sports for all: it really works!

A few weeks ago we marked another lifetime event in our young Herculean lives: the inaugural Hercules Trophy in New York was a big hit! Another proof that sports for all really works! We are now in Europe, Middle East, Africa and the US in only 2 years time.

305002_423650324358204_978859210_n[2]Fans from all over the world sent us very sweet personal messages saying they were amazed we pulled this off in only a few months time in one of the most difficult markets in the world. Even my mum was proud for a second Smile

Did we work hard? Oh yes! Is it hard to organize a good Hercules Trophy? Yeps, extremely. Did we have serious setbacks? Daily! Were we challenged by the Gods? O yeah baby. Do we have an awesome team? Yes we have (and Koen Blanquart: you are a rockstar!). Did we have amazing fans believing in us? Yes we did!

I’m always happy to be in the USA for a week. Especially in New York. So much energy, such an entrepreneurial spirit, such hard working people, so extremely hard to reach them, but once you get a chance to talk to them: they open their hearts and love to help you with your dream and make it their dream! In a few months time we made some “new best friends for ever”.

New York is one of those markets where business leaders understand why team sport is such a brilliant metaphor for everything that happens on the corporate work floor. That sport unites people. That sport doesn’t care about who you are. That you can do a lot of good through sports. That it’s a great networking opportunity. That you should bring supporters and kids to join you in all the fun. That it’s an investment and not a cost. In Dubai and Johannesburg we get the same messages. Wonder what the British did to get that message across. That’s probably one of the reasons why London was Olympic host for 3 times already.

A lot of of European business leaders still struggle with these statements, although we host more than 500 Hercules teams a year. In Europe, most people discovered corporate sports for individuals, but corporate teamsport is not generally accepted yet. Some still think that running the Ekiden with a few people or climbing the Mont Ventoux with colleagues is a team thing. No guys, these are corporate sporting events but they are not about teamwork, they are about individual achievements. Once you’ve participated in one of the Hercules Trophies, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Wonder if we will take a break now? Who needs sleep when you are having fun? We are in full preparation mode for 2013. Our US Managing Director is here with us to discuss the future, this week we are in Dubai for the launch, Inge is in India in 2 weeks and I will be in Australia shortly. In the meantime we are working on mind-blowing new plans for Belgium and we’ll soon launch the South African edition. Hope to see you there.

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.