Dr. Kai Dierke, Founder & Managing Director
In times when Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity (VUCA) are the realities of the current business environment, it is leadership over management that takes precedence. A leader with the right vision, clarity and self-awareness acts as a positive agent of change and can help organisations navigate through difficult times. But the truth is that a holistic and next-gen C-level leader is a rare breed. Not because most managers are incapable of leadership, but they are not fully trained to handle the challenges.
In such times, DierkeHouben Leadership Partners’ value proposition is pretty straightforward. The premier leadership development and coaching company helps C-suite executives and top talents of large and mid-sized organizations across industries to grow into Conscious Leaders. Why are their solutions designed exclusively for senior leaders? According to Dr. Kai Dierke and Dr. Anke Houben, both Founders and Managing Directors of the firm, it all starts at the top. “It’s the top leadership group that casts a shadow in the organisation, thus shaping the company’s collaboration culture,” says Dr. Dierke. Both leaders behind DierkeHouben have two decades of business and leadership coaching experience, with a focus on shaping C-level leaders of tomorrow who embody an ambitious professional will, personal humbleness, and a willingness to transform themselves as well as their teams and organisations to thrive in times of disruption.
However, to lead in an uncertain and chaotic world is easier said than done. It requires top-level managers to have a strong inner compass, which allows them to adapt quickly to rapidly changing contexts. DierkeHouben steers away from the classical understanding of linear management, which meant ‘doing things right’ and focuses on developing leadership that’s more tuned to ‘doing the right things.’ Their focus is to raise a team player over a typical heroic manager—the CEO of the future is a “Chief Enabling Officer” rather than a “Chief Executive Officer.” Extending on this thought, Houben states, “Outstanding leadership is not a ‘technical’ managerial capability. It is a highly ‘adaptive’ leadership capacity. It requires deep awareness of the personal, interpersonal and organisational dynamics in order to respond to what matters most.”
Through their coaching and leadership development programmes, DierkeHouben helps develop Conscious Leaders by focusing on five drivers of self-growth. First off is “Reality Zoom”, where managers are encouraged to confront feedback and reflect others’ perceptions. Next is “Self-Awareness,” where leaders learn to be conscious about self, own strengths, risk of strengths in overdrive, blind spots and underlying root causes. A concept called “True North” allows participants to reflect on one’s inner world, basic assumptions and connect to one’s individual purpose to build strength from within. Under “Reading the context” they learn to expand consciousness through “reflection in action”—understanding stakeholders, their perceptions and their assumptions. Lastly, is “Self-Growth”, which allows leaders to manage their sense of self as a growth project to stay in continuous reflection and development mode, backed by concrete actions. What’s significant is that since the C-suite faces challenges that are highly complex and diverse, DierkeHouben does not subscribe to a single method or a particular school of thought. Instead, they translate a broad portfolio of the latest leadership thinking into practical impact, which is customized for each client.
One of the main reasons why DierkeHouben stands out in the industry today is because of their unique operational approach called Blended Immersive Leadership Development. In times when most of their industry peers opt for pureplay digital learning solutions, Dierke and Houben believe that a blended and sustainable approach is the answer to holistic leadership development, especially at the top of organisations.
Dr. AnkeHouben, Founder & Managing Director
“To make leaders effective in a disruptive environment, leadership development must go beyond technical skill development to adaptive mindset transformation. Our client experience shows: an agile method won’t make the difference—it needs an agile mindset as well,” explains Houben. The Blended Immersive Leadership Development model comprises three core building blocks: in-depth Face2Face learning modules in a small group setting, high-intensity digital shared learning platforms, and individual coaching onsite and offsite in-between the modules.
To better understand DierkeHouben’s state-of-the-art offering, the case study of how one of the largest European IT services company spurred cultural transformation with DierkeHouben’s corporate leadership programmes is a befitting example. The challenge at hand was to create a unifying management team experience, uncover (un-) productive behaviour dynamics across the organisation and challenge Top 100 team members to reflect their contributions. As a solution, DierkeHouben designed a LEADERSHIP GROWTH CAMP for the client’s top 100 in cohorts of about 15 managers. The two major goals for this project were to (1) strengthen and align the Top 100 management team, to jointly reflect and adapt behaviours according to strategy and to collaborate more effectively; (2) develop the individual leader’s capabilities to enhance in-depth self-reflection and growth and to connect on a deeper personal level for trustful relationships. The programme was built in three phases based on client conditions. Phase I included diagnosing the leader’s strengths and growth areas based on existing in-house 360° feedback. Phase II included ‘reflecting and collaborating jointly’ in a 3-day offsite programme with a diversified, experiential learning environment. Phase III revolved around anchoring new behaviours in peer work by supporting the leaders in defining the personal development trajectory for personal growth. What sums up the success of the programme was the feedback from a participant who said, “This is the most effective culture-changing, personal leadership training I have ever experienced throughout my 17 years in this company.”
To make leaders effective in a disruptive environment, leadership development must go beyond technical skill development to adaptive mindset transformation
In spring 2020, DierkeHouben expands their LEADERSHIP GROWTH CAMP experience to an open-enrollment programme for senior leaders in Mallorca, called ENERGIZING LEADERSHIP. Moreover, DierkeHouben is targeting three core client groups through their leadership growth programmes in 2020, to be announced soon. This encompasses REFRESHING C-LEADERSHIP, a CEOs` mid-term programme; ANCHORING C-LEADERSHIP, for managers who have been in the C-suite position for one year; and ACCELERATING C-LEADERSHIP, a C-suite starter programme. These in-depth learning programmes will involve a Face2Face Learning Module with on-site coaching for three days, followed by learning and journaling on a digital learning platform with offsite coaching for three months and lastly a second Face2Face learning module with on-site coaching for three days.
Deeply invested in their mission, the company also partners with NGO Aiducation International, active in several African countries and the Philippines, to coach and grow conscious future leaders abroad through their unique EXLPORING LEADERSHIP programme. In all their endeavours, the company intends to keep their C-level client focus on Europe and is in the process of signing an exclusive partnership with one of the leading European Executive Search Firms. On an ending note, Dierke states, “Our focus is to always get better at what we do; getting bigger will naturally follow suit.”