Creating new future

Creating new future, Travel agency, 30 people in Brussels.

  • CEO and CFO are fired (breach of shareholder’s trust)
  • New CEO is appointed but the team in Brussels refuses to accept it and threatens with a split
  • A split-off would mean the end of the office


  • Atmosphere is very hostile to change.
  • CEO and CFO have “agitated” the people against the shareholder and had already started organising a split-off in secret.
  • New CEO is very professional, has been working in the group for a long time but in a different travel segment. Employees are reluctant to accept him because he allegedly has no experience in their luxury segment. In fact, they would like to run the office themselves.
  • Employees have drawn up a document with their requirements for the recruitment of a new CEO. Many requirements are unrealistic.


  • Proposal: not a “frontal” attack but involving employees in the “new” project, building the travel agency of the future.
  • As a result, gradually gaining the confidence of the employees in the new CEO.
  • At the same time, using the expertise and talents of employees to take the business to an even higher level of customer loyalty.
  • Harvard methodology used to determine the company’s vision and mission together with employees.
  • Based on this, draw up a strategic plan for 3 years.
  • Involve all employees in the implementation of the plan.


  • Created a very strong shared vision and mission, which employees and shareholder support 100%
  • Trust in the CEO has grown.
  • Willingness to work on the future can be seen in the daily improvements (work organisation, follow-up of customers, etc.).
  • Shareholder agrees to give employees shares.
  • A crisis has been avoided.
  • Survival is assured.
  • Implementation of the strategic plan: using SEAM for this as well is currently being considered.

Improving overall performance

Improving overall performance, Temp agency, Belgium, 600 employees.

  • In a declining market (economic crisis) staying profitable by making maximal use of the internal potential of the company.
  • Involving employees in this as a driver of creativity and added value.
  • Proving to the group that the Belgian subsidiary is able to evolve, even in a difficult market.
  • This will allow future investments to flow from the group to Belgium in order to strengthen the position of the company.


CEO came into contact with socio-economic (SEAM) approach at another company where he was an independent director.

Horizontal and vertical diagnostics provide the following analysis:

1.High potential for hidden economic performance

2.Structural trouble spots between Sales and Support services that are paralysing

3.HQ employees lack commitment

4.Management is not really managing the employees

5.Training courses are of good quality but are not being used

6.Available tools and software could be used much more efficiently

7.Much enthusiasm among employees to participate in changes if management evolves


  • Approach in steps
    Step 1: 2 business units + HQ
    Step 2: the 2 other business units
    Step 3: Agencies.
  • Calculation of the economic potential of energy optimisation
  • Action plans by and for employees to tackle energy loss step-by-step
  • SEAM tool used to activate the implementation of the strategy to all staff through priority action plans at all levels
  • Provided training on management tools to better manage employees
  • Training of internal “operators” to perpetuate the SEAM approach within the company


  • Year 1 after the approach: company grows 8% (profit) while the market performs -2%, higher sales thanks to better and closer collaboration between teams and employees
  • Hidden costs (energy loss) converted into economic added value: € 4.9 million
  • Approach has led to a new organisational structure to better manage BUs
  • Renewal in the management of the BUs has brought a breath of fresh air
  • Company now has a management approach for continuously adapting to market evolutions
  • Decision to further leverage SEAM to develop future potential

Improving plant performance

Improving plant performance, international production unit,
1500 people.

  • Increasing quality problems having a negative impact on productivity and delivery agreements.
  • Difficult to mobilise people to do something about it because the union is blocking everything: status quo is the only option for them.
  • Occupational accident rate is too high.
  • Factory was taken over a year earlier.
  • New management needs to bring in a breath of fresh air because the conversion costs are too high and there is too little flexibility.
  • If not, the future of the factory is at stake.


Listening sessions based on volunteers (union imposed). More than 250 people.

10 specific critical issues emerged from sessions.

1.Lack of credibility and trust of supervisors

2.Lack of willingness to listen to the staff on the part of the management

3.Fragmented responsibilities on the lines

4.Inadequate production planning

5.Holiday planning scheduled in a way that leads to production loss

6.Insufficient application of safety regulations

7.Poor communication across the production lines

8.Need for a new mode of consultation with the unions (paralysis)

9.Better “mobilisation” of employees on the machines to improve quality

10.Problem with some persons


  • Choice to present full report, unedited and in detail, to the entire plant (transparency) through group sessions.
  • Executive Team coached to implement the 3-year strategy and involving every level down to the operational staff
  • Action taken to not only tackle the problems top-down, but also bottom-up by involving and showing appreciation for the supervisors and employees.
  • Plan drawn up to gain the trust of trade unions step by step through a transparent policy and to make them aware of the importance of changes to ensure the future of the factory through a “didactic approach”..


  • Cascade for the implementation of the strategy has been introduced.
  • Communication of the content from the listening sessions has worked as a catharsis. Employees have finally been able to make their complaints public.
  • The approach of the unions was critically examined by employees who are open to improvements (future).
  • 10 areas have been addressed with concrete proposals and actions (3-year step-by-step plan)
  • Personal problems among Executive Team members have been fixed.
  • Quality has improved, will be continued.
  • Relationship with unions is less tense.

Greater transparency ensures a better climate in the factory. Employees are more involved in the change processes. Major trouble spots in the work organisation have finally been thoroughly addressed.

Increasing productivity SME

Increasing productivity SME, 12 employees.

Stress generated by difficult working conditions (open landscape) causes a backlog in files, demotivation, complaints from customers

  • The office is unstable, good employees are leaving.
  • High costs of new hires.
  • Office is not ready to evolve.
  • Danger of losing customers.
  • Negative spiral


  • Average time lost due to inability to concentrate is calculated at 2 hours/day/6 employees. 2,760 hours on an annual basis (= 1.6 FTE)
  • Disruption caused not only by open landscape but also a notary who is constantly coming in and interrupting employees.
  • File backlog for 2 employees is also linked to poor knowledge of the software. Additional loss of time of 8 hours per month/person
  • No dialogue to vent personal concerns, this is not part of the “culture” of the office.
  • Managing Director not aware of the difficulties and frustrations of employees.


    • Socio-Economic Approach to Management (SEAM) for SMEs.
      Structured “focus time” for all employees introduced by the colleagues themselves.
    • Employees can work undisturbed for several blocks of 3 hours a week.
    • Colleagues also make clear agreements of rights and obligations for using focus time
    • Introduction of daily structured check-in moments for discussion of files and personal matters, in consultation with employees.
    • Managing Director no longer interrupts.
    • Communication and feedback are stimulated
    • Training “in house” by the best software expert


      • Measurement after 8 months
      • 70% lost time has been regained (1,932 hours/year = 1.1 FTE).
      • General stress is gone, employees feel a noticeable improvement in their working conditions and job satisfaction.The notary experiences the positive aspects of the dialogue.
      • Difficult files are now also handled during focus time, fewer errors and faster processing (customer satisfaction).
      • There is more attention for the quality of the files and a more anticipatory approach is taken.

      Employees are now involved in defining problems and solutions.
      Work is being done in a more structured way, which makes things calmer at the office