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One of the activities of the Dutch business bank Kempen is to advise and mediate in securities for institutional investors and corporations within several niches. In the daily work sales-trading and trading are key processes. To be able to manage the merger of these two different teams, which work in close cooperation, Allied Forces was brought in.

Predetermined: Particularly able and dedicated professionals work in sales and trading. Top of the class, so to say. Continuous trading goes on from 8 till 6 on the cutting edge.

At the same time client relations are managed. Not a simple task.

Managing Director Jetze Oosthoek: “We really wanted people to learn to understand each other better. To be able to take over each other’s jobs. To become one team. In order to get a clear picture of the team, Allied Forces mapped out personalities and questioned team members on written and unwritten rules, tensions and barriers for a great cooperation. The main need turned out to be clarity and trust.”

Oosthoek: “Self-reflection and team reflection are always needed for a merger. What are the dynamics between the older and the younger guard? Which direction are we all heading for? One Friday afternoon, after closing of the Stock Exchange, Allied Forces took us on a journey. Two full days of challenges.” On the one hand physically (abseiling with marines, sleeping in a military bunker), but especially mentally. “We evaluated a lot during those two days. In a productive way, like a high performing team. 100 percent commitment has been expressed. You look at yourself and each other differently in a foreign environment and you will see different qualities. You realise how much you need each other.”

After a couple of months Allied Forces came back to draw up the strategic plan: to link the acquired insights to strategy, goals and tasks for the team. Later on a cultural study was done. Interviews were held and we did a workshop to agree upon concrete behaviour:

How do we interact with each other? What do we find important in the interaction with each other and when do we point out issues? Finally we determined the chore values of our team together: connection, entrepreneurship and craftsmanship.

“If you keep doing what you always do,” Oosthoek states, “nothing will happen. You won’t even get out half the potential of the team. Traditional hierarchical thinking, is disastrous for innovation.

We work with very smart, passionate people, who will need to be able to make their views known. We now have a procedure for this, in which everyone has confidence. We know how to find each other quicker and much easier. This creates cross-fertilisation within the business. And that leads to direct results!”