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4 Defences for Leaders Riding the Speed of Change  

The 4 Defences of Leaders

Riding the Speed of Change

In this Issue: What are 4 Defences?
  1. How to Get Your Organization to Function as a Whole
  2. How to be a Great Board Member
  3. Why Embrace the Triple Bottom Line (people, planet, profit)
  4. How to Exercise Resilient Self Leadership

PLUS: The Challenges of CEO's vs. Snr. Managers?: Tell us what you think!

Welcome to our latest issue focusing on 4 Defences for Business Leaders in a geo-economy which can be highly unpredictable and hard to navigate. To improve the quality of your leadership, no matter where you are based, contact me on & view

#1 How to Get your Organization
to Function as a Whole: 
Aligned to the Vision

Enabling those in the organization to function as a whole is much like preparing an orchestra to deliver its best performance. Each member is engaged to demonstrate mastery and to inspire others. The communal performance rests on solid, specific preparation, during which people make errors. They should play the parts they are comfortable with and flow with the unknowns that come up in the performance.

Paying attention to how people and functions interconnect across the organization and getting the peer economy to collaborate are often challenging. Centering activities, such as the clarity of a unified overall goal or purpose (‘we are in the business of’), acts like gravity. Yet an overall integrated performance involves so much more. An organizational vision is a practical tool, not just an abstract concept. It provides meaning and purpose to the existence of the organization and everyone in it.

“When people know the purpose of an organization, they don’t need to check in or get permission to take the next step; they just create value.  When people know the purpose, they are not waiting to be told what to do. – Nilofer Merchant 2012

IF you, the leader, and your leadership team, and the rest of the organization are not aligned to the essential purpose, vision and values of the organization (and this happens surprisingly often in the field), a systems coach can assist you in the process by collectively connecting you to your essential leadership and organizational purpose, vision, core values and a pliable strategy.  These organizational roots need to be deeply embedded for an organization to thrive in, let alone withstand, 21st century turbulence.

But how do you get everyone connected and caring while pressure is so high? Using systems coaching to reintegrate an organization creates sustainable improvements without excessively compromising ongoing operations. Systems coaching is an important organizational and leadership development process that spans multiple organizational levels. It is based on the notion that, as leaders, you are interested in getting support, but still want to own your organizational development. We use clients’ objectives (e.g. new vision or culture change) to strategically launch a combination of coaching forms, sometimes concurrently, to help organizations function collectively as more connected, integrated systems. These include one-on-one, local-global, divisional leadership, team, cross-functional, customer and cross-organisational coaching etc.

Leaders and teams can then reconnect on every level through more effective feedback loops and by crystallizing customer value and figuring out how to deliver this in unison.

Client feedback on the impact of systems coaching?

We needed to strengthen our position in a highly competitive environment. To achieve this change, we looked for a company that would not only be able to help us define the direction, but also guide us in making it happen. We found an ideal partner in Synquity, with whom we worked very closely over a period of two years to incorporate changes we designed and which then enabled us to achieve a cultural change. I firmly believe that we as a company are now in a stronger place and better able to overcome the challenges facing us now and in the future. Ben Haneveld, CEO, NL.

Yes! I need to help my organization to function as a whole

#2 How to be a Great Board Member


  • The board is the employer of the Managing Director. As such you need to hold the MD accountable for a clear management structure, the management team's’ composition, the reward system in the organisation and its overall performance

  • Your role is also to protect (all) stakeholders against any poor management practices by senior management
  • As the Chairperson and board team you need to be strategically aligned to function effectively and unite around a clear group vision. A strong board team invests the time and effort to accomplish this together.
  • Ensure that the gap between board supervision and senior management is as small as possible. A high level of supervision reduces the risk that senior management is pursuing own interests at the group expense, or on the other hand, that the board makes decisions to the sheer detriment of the local operations

  • Be aware of the warning signals that flag an ‘opportunistic MD’ (e.g. one withholding financial figures or twisting results). You will be more susceptible to being taken advantage of as a board member, if you lack alignment with a regional operational entity, provide poor board leadership to the operational entity, or due to your own inexperience, a need to be liked and not taking action to validate your perceptions and opinions

  • Board members exercises leadership on behalf of stakeholders and shareholders, by;

  • demonstrating competence - preparing in advance based on board papers and your own initiative to dig deeper pertaining to the areas you are responsible for, using effective board management practices, exercising your role in board meetings
  • holding MD / senior management accountable,

  • providing strategic guidance,

  • gaining the respect of the MD

  • making realistic assessment of risks

  • maintaining independence from senior management

  • voicing criticism as well as clearly acknowledging achievements

  • always considering several sources of information and perspectives to base decisions on

  • exercising the individual courage to vote against resolutions when they signal risk factors

  • Excellent boards are composed of individually qualified board members that represent board diversity.

Reference: Hans de Hoog (De Toezichthouder, 2013)

Yes! We may need to improve our board practices and dynamics

#3 Applying the Triple Bottom Line (people, planet, profit)
to Evaluate our Performance 

Interview to UNDP Goodwill Ambassador Joan Roca

Joan Roca, UNDP's newest Goodwill Ambassador, works with the SDG Fund to promote sustainable production techniques. During a recent event in Thailand, Joan Roca explained how chefs can make a difference in reaching the Sustainable Development Goals.

The biggest challenge of our time is the decoupling of business and economic growth from emissions and the overuse of natural resources according to Sitra. Solutions include, for example, carbon-neutral business, the circular economy and scaling out current best practices. There are many reasons why leaders of organisation are paying urgent attention to the triple bottom line (people, planet, profit) to measure performance based on their financial, social and environmental impact says expert Dr Bettina von Stamm:

  • Concerns about prices and scarcity of food and raw materials
  • Concerns about global warming and the conditions of our planet
  • The realisation that some companies wield greater powers and have (potentially) more influence than national governments

image source :

Sustainable work (in the top-right square of the matrix in the infographic) takes place in developed and developing economies, but it can differ in scale, in the conditions of work, in the links to human development and in the implications for policy.

  • Termination: Some existing work will have to end, and the workers displaced will need to be accommodated in other occupations (bottom-left square of the matrix in the infographic).

  • Transformation: Some existing work will need to be transformed in order to be preserved through a combination of investment in adaptable new technologies and retraining or skill upgrading (top-left and bottom-right).

  • Creation: Some work will be largely novel, benefiting both sustainability and human development, but will emerge from outside the current set of occupations (top-right square of the matrix in the infographic)(Source :

A circular economy based on closed loops has been suggested as a way to maximise the value produced from natural resources while minimising environmental loading. Increasing well-being with a smaller carbon footprint also makes sense commercially, through savings and new business models. By monitoring companies' value networks at system level, for example, the nitrogen and phosphorus used in industry and agriculture would not escape into water systems either.
Source quoted :

Yes! We need to embrace the Triple Bottom Line (people, planet , profit)

#4 Resilient Self Leadership in Uncertain Times


Self leadership is taking control over the space and influence you have...  

  • Your life does not fit into neat boxes

  • Give up the illusion of control

  • Boundaries are disappearing and technologies are merging - evolve in your role whilst staying true to yourself

  • Increase your level of awareness and understanding - enjoy the lifelong learning, self monitoring and observing this implies

  • Respond to the changes and opportunities that emerge

  • Get to know what gives you a deep sense of purpose and live by it

  • Maintain your positivity by recognising you are responsible for yourself yet interconnected and part of the human condition

5 Mistakes that lower your influence
  • Ignoring other perspectives
  • Tell Sell Yell Syndrome
  • Addicted to being right
  • Disengage listening
  • Allowing emotions to affect listening
Source:Judith Glaser of The Creating We Institute:
Yes! I want to develop resilient self leadership

The Challenges of CEO's and Snr. Managers?
Tell us what you think!


We'd love to get your feedback


This brief survey is part of the International Community Platform’s 2016 research program Uncovering & nurturing growth opportunities. Your input will help us to understand current CEO and Senior Managers Challenges. We are collaborating in this survey with Synquity, a local team of international experts dedicated to the field of leadership development. Thank you for your invaluable input!


Give Feedback

An Example of True Grit

Perseverance and sustained interest in long-term goals

"The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be outworked, period. You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, you might be sexier than me, you might be all of those things--you got it on me in nine categories. But if we get on the treadmill together, there’s two things: You’re getting off first, or I’m going to die. It’s really that simple. . . ."- Oscar-nominated actor and Grammy award-winning musician Will Smith

Click : Check your grit on this PDF
This is a testimonial about grit, which Professor Duckworth uses to define as  "perseverance and sustained interest in long-term goals."

Closer to home, it is hard imaging anyone with more grit than the Bridge2Hope participants in our Friends of Webster voluntary shared leadership project on economic and personal empowerment, just a stone's throw away from us..  

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Coming Soon: GLI’s book Visionary Leadership in a VUCA World due for release in June 2016. Managing Editor: Madeleine van der Steege.

For Global and Culturally Diverse Leaders and Leadership, edited by Jean Lau Chin, Joseph E. Trimble and Joseph E. Garcia:

How the Communal Philosophies of Ubuntu in Africa and Confucius Thought in China Might Enrich Western Notions of Leadership: Rob Elkington and Elizabeth Tuleja.

For Grassroots Leadership & The Arts For Social Change, edited by Susan Erenrich, and Jon Wergin:
The Notion of Ubuntu and Emergent Leadership as Expressed Through the Arts in Apartheid South Africa: Rob Elkington, Jennifer Moss and John Volmink.

GLI also offers online university-accredited leadership certificates at


Courageous Conversations for Women - May 31st 2016

This workshop explores the vital elements of ‘courageous conversations’, faced by women who lead in today’s complex global environment. Working alongside other female leaders, we provide you with a powerful and provocative yet safe environment to guide and develop your understanding and skills in practical ways that will directly influence your leadership impact.  For further details contact Rianne van Reeuwijk on  +31 10 408 2004 or email her on, www.

Dr. Bettina von Stamm created the Innovation Leadership Forum to share and spread her passion for understanding and enabling innovation.


Trompenaars Hampden-Turner is a world class research-driven consulting firm that operates as a center of excellence from various locations around the world. We have unique ways to help people and organizations from different cultures and with diverse viewpoints work together. We help improve business performance in order for organizations to become more sustainable, its people more effective and its stakeholders more satisfied.

2016 HONG KONG UnitedSucces Annual Symposium

A 5 minute VIDEO following the lines of the programme in Hong Kong is waiting to be viewed on our YouTube Channel
Your 2016 Road Map - understanding the people element

May 19, Thursday Minneapolis 8am / 08:00 ; Cape Town 4pm / 16:00 ; Hong Kong/Shanghai 10pm / 22:00



Michélle Booysen (South Africa) - Michélle builds economies, one business at a time– she designs the plans for a solution and is a Master Tactition. In short, she loves being part of making a difference, in a team or as an individual.In this session you will learn to assess and plan the communicaton in and outside of your business in support of your goals.

You will gain insight into how what you say, and to whom, impacts on achieving your 2016 results.

unlimited attendance - with an opportunity to ask questions.

 You Too Can Create a Speech Worthy of a TED Talk

June 02, Thursday Toronto 9am / 09:00 ; Cape Town 3pm / 15:00 ; Hong Kong/Shanghai 9pm / 21:00



Diana Bishop (Canada) - Diana spent 20 years as a national and international TV News Correspondent, a position that took her around the world telling stories about some of the biggest newsmakers of the day from Nelson Mandela to Celine Dion.

In this session Diana will introduce you to the power of The TED Talk Model to help you package your intellectual property into a compelling and informative presentation about your business or area of expertise.

unlimited attendance - with an opportunity to ask questions.

Welcome to SYNQUITY's latest newsletter focusing on
4 Defences for Leaders Riding the Speed of Change!

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