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Everyone knows that you shouldn’t send your customers away empty-handed. Yet, there are still plenty of people who do just that, like recently at my garage. Here’s how to put an end to those who have a ‘not my job’ mentality.

During a maintenance service for my car, I wait in my garage. I pass the time with a cup of coffee and my laptop. Suddenly, the noise at the reception catches my attention. A one-year-old car has a defect that cannot be fixed, which visibly disappoints the owner. Then comes the customer service cliché: “Yes, sir. There’s nothing I can do about it either.”

A light-year difference in customer experience

Sentences like the one from the front desk employee make my hair stand on end. I understand that he can’t solve it himself, but why deflect the responsibility? He is the point of contact for the car owner. The owner’s problem should be his problem.

My dealer should be able to assist this customer. If they don’t have the expertise in-house, it’s usually possible to obtain it from elsewhere. In that case, it’s sufficient to say, “We apologize, we understand that it’s frustrating. I will find out how we can still resolve this and will contact you as soon as possible.” That doesn’t change the outcome, but it makes a world of difference in customer experience.

Yes sir, I can’t do anything about it either

Too many employees

Intense longing for a Toyota dealer

It fits the image I have of this Peugeot dealer. Front desk employees look away when I approach them. When I inquire after a long wait if the maintenance has been done, I see that the key has been ready for a while. It’s clear that I, the customer, am not a priority.

And that while the salesperson of my car was a paragon of customer friendliness! I had high expectations regarding the level of service. But now that they have me as a customer, they don’t seem to be as eager anymore. I yearn to return to my previous garage, a Toyota dealer.

The fruits of a cold culture

Such an employee who says ‘I can’t do anything about it’ and doesn’t seek alternatives is also called a snifo. These are employees who believe they are functioning as long as they do what is stated in their job description. They feel responsible for their task, but not for the organization as a whole.

I’m not exactly sure about my garage, but snifos can be the result of a cold culture. You see them in companies that interact with employees solely based on measurable criteria, such as poor KPIs. The work instructions take precedence instead of a professional attitude focused on helping customers as best as possible.

Professional dialogue

Snifos are easy to combat. This can be done by a manager through leading by example and engaging in a good professional dialogue. Discuss with employees the values the organization stands for and how you want to achieve a common goal. Always think from the perspective of customer values: how can I give my customers a good feeling?

Don’t evaluate employees based on the number of customer contacts, but encourage them to make as many customers happy as possible. Give colleagues the freedom to carry out their own work and assist customers with their own talents.

You won’t catch me showing snifo behavior easily. When advising clients, I always act as a representative of iPM Partners. If there’s nothing I can do myself, my colleagues can certainly assist you….

Our new e-book Learn To Build a Beter Organization Together provides insights into what iPM can offer your organization and the results our clients have achieved. We are excited to share our approach with you because we aim to inspire as many people as possible to improve their performance. Take you chance and start building!

It’s Monday morning. The chain meeting is scheduled again. As chain owner, you lead this meeting. The chain meetings have been going on for a while and the team is getting into a rhythm. The structure is in place and you follow the agreed agenda together. You also notice that the composition of the chain team is new and that team members still need to get used to each other. Like in sports, the team is not yet in sync and you are convinced that more can be achieved. How do you ensure that your team performs optimally?

In the blog post “Do you also steer at 3 levels?” you could read about how to structure meetings to stimulate collaboration in the chain. Steering at 3 levels also means there are leaders at these 3 levels, who have the opportunity to encourage their teams to deliver the best performance. It is important for leaders to align with the needs and maturity of the team and help them further to grow in their team development.

With our self-developed iPM program, we assist you and your teams in becoming aware of where they stand in their development.

Peter Geelen

With our self-developed iPM program, we help you and your teams become aware of where they are in their development and what it takes to grow a step further. This requires something of the team and its leader. Important here is that the leader adapts his or her leadership style to the stage of development in which the team is. We help leaders to become aware of this and provide the right tools to deal with it. After all, we all know the different types of leadership styles (coaching, directive, serving, …). But when do you use which style? Is it helpful to use a coaching leadership style when a team needs direction and frameworks. Or what happens when you use a directive leadership style with a team that is ready to fly by itself?

Roadmap to move forward together

It is about stimulating the desired behavior that brings us closer to our common ambitions. Where do we want to go together? And how do we help each other get there? The following 5 steps will help you further on the way.

  • Step 1. Start the conversation with your team about shared ambitions. The KPI tree that was prepared earlier provides direction for this.
  • Step 2. Name the growth you have made as a team and determine the next development step together. Discuss the mutual needs between team and leader.
  • Step 3. Match your leadership style to the stage the team is in and the shared ambition.
  • Step 4. Encourage the talents in the team that are necessary to continue growing together, and set clear boundaries within which they can also take initiative.
  • Step 5. Stimulate a learning environment in which experiments are allowed to take place and are also allowed to fail in order to learn with and from each other.

Teams can make or break performance. Teams at all levels ensure that customers are well served and organizational (and personal) ambitions are achieved. Teams that are connected to each other through the linking pin principles of iPM, thereby strengthening each other. This achieves a double effect in performance improvement.

The iPM implementation approach

In the coming weeks, we would like to take you through the questions and changes we encounter in practice during the implementation of iPM at our clients. Questions about the set-up and design of iPM, but also about the best implementation approach. Topics will include:

Introduction of iPM

  1. From planning & control to iPM
  2. Ready for take-off
  3. Setting the right targets
  4. Which customer chains does my organization have?
  5. Division of roles: hierarchy versus chain
  6. Tactics of the chain in focus
  7. Customer journey versus customer chains
  8. How to determine the right KPIs
  9. Getting your KPIs right in 10 days
  10. Consultation structure in iPM organization
  11. Effective performance dialogue and the usefulness of BRV
  12. Leader and team development
  13. Encouragement as a style to get more out of teams
  14. iPM in complex organizations
  15. Tips for implementation

Curious? Get in touch with us!

We outline what we often see in the traditionally driven organization and outline what that looks like when you apply iPM. Want to know more about healthy performance management? We lard that with situations and examples we find in practice. Contact us and we will help your organization move forward!

In 2021, we had the privilege of providing guidance to esteemed organizations in realizing their ambitions and aspirations. Empirical evidence has demonstrated the successful application of the iPM methodology across all sectors, ranging from private to public organizations. Notably, a significant proportion of these organizations have a societal mandate encompassing domains such as education, healthcare, social welfare, labor participation, and housing.

It is self-evident that perspective is important for organizations and employees. It begins from the moment you are born. It is often said that the youth is the future. For iPM Partners, this means that we not only focus on it in our work but also in our societal contribution. One of the organizations we have been supporting since its establishment in 2009 is Asian Kidz Support (AKS). This foundation aims to raise funds in the Netherlands to finance and support (small-scale) projects that improve the care and well-being of underprivileged children in Asia. We personally know the people behind the foundation and witness the personal time they dedicate to AKS to make it a success. Education is a key focus area for them.

This year, we also received a report on the allocation of our donations. Here’s a quote: “Successive outbreaks of COVID-19 in Vietnam have heavily impacted the local communities in the mountainous province of Dien Bien. In early March, hundreds of children did not return to school due to COVID-related poverty. 80% of the students who did not return to the classroom are girls, and at least 22% of these girls got married (child marriage) or became pregnant during the school closures. Additionally, girls in almost every age group are more likely to be forced into labor than boys. The impact of the pandemic is enormous, as child marriages and the premature termination of education play a crucial role in the vulnerability of girls to human trafficking. Education is the foundation to break this cycle.” Further along in the report, it describes what can be achieved through targeted projects and actions, with the “back to school” model being employed as an approach.

In order to involve as many girls as possible, we have decided to allocate the Christmas donation, which you were accustomed to receiving from us, for this purpose.

Peter Geelen

But what is needed to keep these girls in school and develop them to the desired level? These are challenges that we have also faced in the education system in the Netherlands, and successful efforts have been made in collaboration with educational institutions.

For iPM Partners, this is the reason why we will further invest in projects implemented by AKS in the coming years and actively support a group of young girls until they graduate. We not only provide the necessary resources but also contribute to the interventions that help these girls successfully obtain their diplomas. In order to involve as many girls as possible, we have decided to allocate the Christmas donation, which you were accustomed to receiving from us, for this purpose. We highly value our relationship with you and believe that by doing so, you are also participating in this wonderful initiative. We wish you happy holidays and a healthy 2022.

For more information about Asian Kidz Support:

Do you want to contribute more?

If you, as an organization or professional, also want to contribute to the care and improvement of underprivileged children, please provide your support by making a donation to the following account:

IBAN: NL33INGB0005195037
t.n.v. stichting Asian Kidz Support te Asten

With reference: action iPM Partners

A false start for newcomers really can’t happen anymore!

Finding suitable new colleagues is not easy these days. But those who expect the red carpet to be rolled out for newcomers may be in for a disappointment.

For a newcomer, there’s nothing more frustrating than a ‘false start.’ I know this from personal experience. Once, at a new employer, I had to wait three months for an access card and printing privileges. And when I finally received the end result, my name was also misspelled on it… So, for the next two years, I went through life as ‘Harm Oorschot.

Missing the mark

My false start dates back several years now. With the current staff shortage, one would expect the situation to be different now. And that new employees, once inside, are optimally supported. However, that is often not the case. There are still plenty of examples of false starts for newcomers. Employers miss the mark with access passes, login names, or workstations. There may be a lack of adequate work instructions, explanations from colleagues, or guidance. Especially in small and medium-sized organizations, onboarding programs are limited or non-existent. The causes for this vary. It could be due to lack of time or poor processes and agreements. Or it could be an attitude of “let’s throw them into the deep end and see who stays afloat.”

Research shows that 60 percent of probationary leavers cite poor onboarding as a reason for leaving early.

Peter Geleen – iPM Partners

A reason for leaving

The consequences of poor onboarding are predictable. It takes a long time for new employees to truly make a contribution, or they may never reach the desired level. It becomes even more troublesome when they leave during the probationary period, and the organization is back to square one. Research shows that 60 percent of those who leave during the probationary period cite the poor onboarding program as the reason for their premature departure. This is actually a strange phenomenon. Organizations boast about themselves in job advertisements and demand a lot from people. But as soon as the talent is inside, they don’t handle it properly. How motivating is that for the new employee? What impression does it create?

Flying start

A good organization doesn’t give its staff a false start but a flying start. Ensure that practical matters such as access pass, laptop, phone, and workstation are promptly and properly arranged. This requires forward thinking. What does your new employee need? And what documents does the organization need from them? Think about identity papers, a certificate of good conduct (VOG), or specific forms. Arrange this with the new employee before their first day of work. It can be done, for example, during the final interview where the contract is signed. Also, ensure that departments like IT anticipate the needs, such as setting up computer accounts. It’s odd if the organization asks the new colleague, “What do you need?” The organization should know that, for instance, based on a handover list from the departing colleague.

The infamous introductory round. Don’t do it!

In certain organizations, it is customary to “take a tour” with newcomers. This involves meeting as many colleagues as possible. However, this leads to an overload of faces and names. As a result, by the end of the first day, the newcomer has forgotten all the names. They no longer remember whom they met or have any idea of what each person does. This results in the dreadful question on the second day: “Have you already met person X from department Y?” These awkward moments can be avoided with a smart (standard) onboarding program. This program should ensure that the newcomer meets all the individuals they will be working with. This should be done step by step, following the order of the customer chain/customer processes in which the new employee will participate. Limit the number of meetings and reserve time to “recover” and catch up on reading.

Not only what and how, but also why!

Onboarding programs often focus purely on practical matters and procedures: the what and the how. However, the why aspect remains underemphasized, even though it is equally important. It is crucial for the newcomer to understand their role within the team or department. What are the company’s goals? Is it clear to the new employee what results are expected of them? Do they know who our customers are and what they expect from us? By involving the employee in these aspects at the beginning of their career, you ensure that their focus is sharp, and they perform with greater purpose.

Initiation into the working method

A royal welcome also includes an initiation into how the newcomer should work. It is important for the organization or team to have an idea of the best way to work. Good process descriptions, manuals, or work instructions are helpful. If the onboarding process is limited to shadowing a available colleague, there is a risk that the newcomer will learn only one way of working. This may not be the best and smartest way. Therefore, let the newcomer experience the entire process from start to finish with multiple colleagues, including the top performer. Also, walk through the entire process with the team. Allow for questions and input. Who knows, the newcomer’s fresh perspective may reveal opportunities for improvement.

Impact on the team

When designing an onboarding program, don’t forget to consider team aspects. Ensure that a newcomer gains insight into the team’s culture and communication, as well as its goals and responsibilities. Take into account the emotions within the team. The departing colleague may have been well-liked and is missed. It could also be that the new member is taking on a role that another team member had anticipated. Address such matters openly because unspoken expectations, frustrations, and opinions can harm team spirit and performance. Discuss the impact of the new team member openly from the start and revisit it later if needed.

Sparring partner

The initial period is a bumpy and winding road for newcomers, filled with ups and downs. It can be challenging for them to ask for help in such a situation. A newcomer may feel intimidated by colleagues with more experience and knowledge, or they may not want to bother colleagues in their busy jobs. Prevent the new employee from getting lost along the way. This can be achieved by assigning them a buddy. This mentor can assist with practical matters, but more importantly, they serve as a listening ear for sharing impressions. Ideally, this connection is informal, such as during lunch breaks. Having a buddy helps the new colleague quickly find their place within the organization.

If all goes well, the newcomer gets the feeling that the red carpet has been laid out by the organization. And he or she makes a flying start ….


Is onboarding well managed at your company? Answer the following questions:

1. How many days does it take us to provide all facilities for a new employee?

2. How many productive working hours do we lose because of this?

3. Does the employee talk to the right people in the first week? In the right order?

4. Are we introducing our new employees to the mission of our organization, who our customers are and what they value?

5. Do we regularly discuss the best way to work with the team? Do we all work this way? Can we explain it to a newcomer?

6. Do we discuss the impact of the new colleague on the team? Are we learning from the new colleague’s experience?

7. Is a new colleague properly supervised? Does he (in addition to team leader) have someone to fall back on?

iPM partners can help you make an onboarding program.

If positive emotion leads to both broadening and deepening of the capacities of the individual experiencing these emotions, it would be wonderful if we could continue to stimulate this. If an intrinsically motivated person performs better in creativity and complex tasks compared to an extrinsically motivated person, then it is definitely worthwhile to better understand how to stimulate intrinsic motivation.

Moreover, to prevent the source of encouragement from being external and potentially creating a dependency relationship, it is smarter to seek the source of encouragement closer to home. What if the source of encouragement can be discovered within the individual themselves? In that case, they can motivate themselves to achieve the desired goal. In football terms, they are capable of winning their away matches, independent of their home crowd, with the belief that they can do it. To achieve this, we delve into motivational theories and what they teach us about the power of self-encouragement. A better understanding of intrinsic motivation can assist us in this regard. One remarkable theory on how we can motivate ourselves more is Richard Ryan and Edward Deci’s self-determination theory.

Self-determination means independently or autonomously deciding to do something. This theory shows that people can become motivated from within themselves if three innate psychological basic needs are met:

  • Autonomy – the feeling that you are able to choose or have chosen something of your own free will;
  • Competence – the feeling that you are becoming increasingly skilled and proficient in certain tasks due to your progress and improvement;
  • Relational connectedness – the fundamental need to belong somewhere and exchange things with other people with whom you feel connected.

We all have these needs. The more they are satisfied, the stronger our motivation to perform and the greater the sense of well-being will be. These basic needs are three important starting points for effectively encouraging desired behavior.

Below, we will take a closer look at them.

Our basic needs fuel our intrinsic motivation

Autonomy – I choose

Autonomy means space; perceived space, to be precise. It is important that you feel you can act without experiencing pressure. This sense of freedom is enhanced when you can participate in decision-making, when there are choices available, or when a task is assigned in an empathetic manner with sufficient justification. In the context of encouragement, it is therefore important that the other person experiences as much freedom of choice as possible. This leads to greater intrinsic motivation to achieve a goal or demonstrate desired behavior. In the example of darts players, this is reflected in the way the player dresses, the music they choose when entering the arena, and even in the unique, personal, and distinctive way they throw their darts.

But autonomy is not just about getting space, it’s also about taking responsibility within that space. Autonomy is strengthened when you are open enough to the consequences of your own choices and willing to be accountable for the outcome of these choices. How high do you set the bar? As high as you realistically think you can jump.

Encouragement confirms that the other person is capable and strengthens the belief that they will achieve the ultimate goal.

Peter Geleen – iPM Partners

Competence – I believe I can (learn) it

The need for competence indicates that everyone wants to effectively interact with their environment. People want to understand, explore, and master their surroundings. When you feel competent, it stimulates further growth of your abilities and flexibility, enabling you to adapt better to a changing environment. It’s about the sense of accomplishment you have when you successfully complete a task through effort and perseverance. It boosts your self-confidence and motivates you to take on new, more challenging tasks. That’s why encouragement works so well when someone accomplishes a task, such as scoring a goal, hitting triple 20 in darts, or resolving a customer complaint to their great satisfaction. Encouragement confirms that the other person can do it and strengthens their confidence in achieving the ultimate goal. In coaching terms, this is called “coaching progress.” “Every step forward is a step in the right direction: Keep going. If you can do this, you can also succeed in the next step.” The likelihood that the person will continue and be motivated to perform better is high.


Two important considerations are relevant here. Encouragement, when the other person does not feel sufficiently competent (such as when the task is completely new), can have a counterproductive effect. It can lead to a sense of pressure that increases when someone is watching. I still remember one of my first Aikido lessons, where we had to perform a certain exercise. It was going reasonably well, or so I thought, until my teacher came by and observed me. I felt the pressure mounting to perform well, and before I knew it, I lost my balance. Why? Because I was still not sufficiently competent, and his encouragement (his personal attention) only added more pressure. It was a lesson from which I learned a lot for the future. It is easy to simply say that everything is going well or encourage the other person that they can do it. However, if the other person still doubts themselves, caution and empathy are needed. In such cases, it is more effective to break down the steps into smaller ones and focus on what they already can do and the effort they are making to achieve the goal.

The second consideration is the mindset of the receiver, their belief in whether intelligence and qualities can be developed or not. Carol Dweck has conducted extensive research for years on the impact of beliefs about the malleability of intelligence and personal qualities on our potential for success. In this regard, she distinguishes between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset.

Simply put, if you have a growth mindset, you believe that you can continue to learn and grow through setbacks and feedback. You are open to learning, curious, and actively seek feedback. On the other hand, with a fixed mindset, you perceive intelligence and other qualities as fixed facts from birth. Feedback and challenges in unfamiliar territory are seen as risks that you prefer to avoid.

Dweck also suggests that encouragement should focus on effort, taking initiative, and perseverance. This will stimulate a growth mindset. If you only emphasize performance or results in your encouragement, you encourage a fixed mindset. You can read more about the influence of mindset on the recipient of encouragement in Chapter 6, where I discuss what an encouragement-based HR cycle could look like.

Relational connectedness – I am not alone

Humans are social beings. Some of our social basic needs include building positive relationships with others, feeling loved and supported ourselves, and being able to support others. We all want to belong somewhere, whether it’s a team, a company, an association, an initiative, or a volunteer organization. This provides a sense of belonging and purpose and gives us the opportunity to support each other in achieving a common goal.

Recognition of the other person, acknowledging their uniqueness and appreciating it, is important. Sharing joys and sorrows together also contributes to this. This strengthens the sense of connection and the trust that the other person can rely on support during difficult times. This is, to use a football analogy, the home advantage. The crowd as the twelfth man. Relational connectedness, in the context of encouragement, is the affirmation that you belong, that you are supported, and that you are delivering an individual performance on behalf of the group. Like the dart player entering the arena with fans singing his song, wearing his attire, and holding up banners with encouraging messages.

The self-determination theory by Deci and Ryan teaches us that the strength of fulfilling autonomy, competence, and relatedness largely determines an individual’s intrinsic motivation. And that’s what it’s all about when encouraging others: strengthening and enhancing these three basic needs to elevate intrinsic motivation. The more these three basic needs are satisfied, the higher the level of intrinsic motivation.


And there’s more. Enjoyment also plays a role in strengthening intrinsic motivation. As you have read before, positive emotions play a significant role in fostering growth and perseverance. Intrinsic motivation arises from within the person. The individual acts because of the intrinsic value of the activity (‘I want to do it’) and because of the pleasure and satisfaction it brings (‘I enjoy it’). That’s precisely why it’s crucial to align encouragement with what the other person desires and finds enjoyable.

Especially enjoying the activity itself and finding pleasure in its rewards significantly strengthen intrinsic motivation. Engaging in enjoyable activities can be sustained for longer, especially when the reward for the activity is prompt. The faster the reward follows the activity, the more enjoyable you find it and the more intrinsically motivated you become.

You can see that by incorporating enjoyment, intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation become interconnected and reinforce each other. Encouragement that is linked to pleasure works extremely well in strengthening the recipient’s determination to continue.

Dutch people seem to suffer from a chronic lack of appreciation for their work. However, we can learn to appreciate more.

Rarely before have so many old sheets in our country been given a second life as banners. Farmers, construction workers, teachers, and nurses are flocking to the Malieveld in large numbers. They are all protesters who are passionately dedicated to their professions. They grow our food, educate our children, build our roads and homes, or care for the sick. People are standing up now because the execution of their work is at stake.

They have something else in common: the people who are protesting right now feel unrecognized for the value they provide. If you listen closely, you can hear a cry for appreciation: “Value farmers, don’t dismiss them” or “Talk to farmers instead of about them.” And recently, while visiting a hospital, I came across the slogan: “The collective labor agreement treats us as if we are still nuns.”

Doing people justice

I do not expect the discontent to simply disappear after The Hague has promised extra funds. Politics can allocate resources for buying out farmers or addressing high workload in education and healthcare. But to address the lack of appreciation, more than just money is needed. It requires changes in how we interact with each other. It is about treating people with fairness. Do we see them, hear them, and allow them to have a say? Do they have the autonomy to solve issues themselves? Are they involved in the solutions we come up with?

Farmers clearly think otherwise. They believe that politics should involve them more. According to them, it seems that decisions are being made for them. This is strange because our country is the second-largest exporter of agricultural products in the world. This profession is incredibly resourceful and innovative. They excel at finding solutions. Let’s join forces with farmers and ponder on how their future (and the future of our food) can look like. If we appreciate that farmers are engaged in top-level performance, we can also ask them to contribute to the solution of the nitrogen problem. We will likely discover some excellent answers through this collaboration.

Taking a bottom-up approach to problem-solving is usually more effective.

Marcel de Wit – iPM Partners

Appreciative attitude

It would be beneficial if we more often sought solutions from an appreciative stance and involved the people affected by them. Currently, we often work top-down and focus on problem-solving. However, it has been known for some time that we do not arrive at the best solutions if we become too fixated on the problem. Taking a bottom-up, solution-oriented approach is usually more effective.

More appreciation for everyone’s input is not only desirable at the political level but also at the organizational level. Employees also often feel unseen or unheard in these contexts. It is important to have more conversations with people instead of about them. There should be more recognition for the abilities and contributions of colleagues.

Putting on your green glasses

I advocate for a more appreciative culture in organizations. I believe that people should encourage each other more. It starts with a certain mindset, which I describe as “putting on your green glasses.” This entails being willing to understand others, approaching them with admiration, curiosity, and respect for their abilities and desires.

The art of encouragement is to tap into people’s motivation and then ask them to reflect on their contribution to the whole. This leads to solutions that are more widely supported and makes it easier to bring about change. Because when people feel acknowledged, they are more open to the new.

And you?

How is it in your organization? Do your colleagues feel like they have to primarily conform to frameworks, rules, and job descriptions? Or do they feel invited to bring out the best in themselves and collaborate with others towards a clear goal? I hope it is the latter, and I encourage you to continue fostering that environment.

Penny, fun, prestige and …purpose

In our work, we look for meaning, also called purpose. Young talent weighs this more and more heavily when choosing an employer. Organizations that do not take this into account will miss the boat.

What makes your people get out of bed every day to go to work? Chances are it has to do with much more than just the paycheck. They probably like the work itself or the contact with colleagues. But also the opportunity for personal development motivates, or the prestige or challenge of the job.

More and more people consciously or unconsciously also pay attention to purpose, The meaning of the work or the product or service is a criterion that is becoming increasingly popular among job applicants. Deloitte research shows that two out of three young people base their choice of employment largely on meaning. Meaning is not only important for an organization’s appeal but also contributes to the results. After all, meaningful work makes people inspired and is a binding agent for cooperation. After all, you know what you are doing it for together. Reasons enough to pay attention to this in your organization.

How meaningful your organization is is evidenced by its contribution to society.

Mark Wilde – IPM Partners


How meaningful your organization is is evidenced by the contribution it makes to society. In healthcare and education, this is clear. Whoever heals or cares for people thereby contributes to the health of patients. Those who teach thereby contribute to a bright future for students.

For-profit enterprises can also be very meaningful, contributing to health, safety or sustainable solutions. You see more and more social enterprises that even owe their right to exist to their significance. Like Tony Chocolonely that strives for slave-free chocolate. Or Fairphone that has developed a phone that is less harmful to people and the environment.

Purpose also plays an increasingly important role in existing ‘organizations’. A good example is our customer Hertek. They sell installations for fire protection and emergency lighting, but their purpose is life-saving. They want to prevent as many calamities as possible and guarantee the safety of people in the event of calamities. That’s a higher purpose that motivates!

No canceled lesson

Anyone who prides himself on his significance must, of course, be able to live up to it. You don’t get away with talk without being able to demonstrate impact. And purpose must also be more than a recited lesson from a PowerPoint presentation. It must be evidenced by the intrinsic motivation of employees.

The positive impact of a purpose does not come naturally. You have to keep it alive. A good example is education. Teachers want to give young people a good future. This also means: preventing students from falling out of the boat at all costs. Yet this goal – for example, in the anonymity of a large organization – sometimes gets out of sight. The trick in that case is to bring the meaning back to life. You can literally give the dropped-out students a face, by displaying their photos on a board. Or you make teachers responsible for tracking dropouts and absences.

Bringing meaning to life in organizations is an attractive aspect of my job as an consultant at iPM Partners. Our purpose is: to teach as many organizations as possible how to perform permanently better. This will make the world a better place as well.

In the last 14 blogs, we have taken you into the world of iPM or KPIs that do work. A performance management method where the customer is the focus. Not only on the website, but also in the management of the organization.

The hierarchy dictated by the organizational chart becomes subordinate to customer chains. A method that combats compartmentalization within organizations and stimulates cooperation between departments. And a method in which we build a KPI structure that connects people and data to the ambitions of the organization. To ensure and control this, we set up appreciative and encouraging performance dialogues in which employees meet each other to do better every day than the day before. Your gain: noticeably better outcomes for your organization, your employees and your customers. And as an added bonus, meeting time is cut in half.

Organizations struggle with KPIs. We see this every day. KPIs are too financial in nature, look too much in the rearview mirror and are too internally focused. KPIs do not land sufficiently on the work floor, are meaningless to employees and miss the essential. This can be done differently. By embracing the principles of our iPM method, the organization avoids the five pitfalls that are described in the book Winning with the right KPIs.

Customer-oriented KPIs help prevent compartmentalization within an organization and stimulate collaboration between departments.

Peter Geelen

Three steps to a proper KPI structure

With a bit of guidance, you can build a customer-oriented and future-proof KPI structure for your organization in three steps. We guide you in a few weeks through the steps below so that you can:

  1. Identify your customer chains;
  2. Determine which KPIs to focus on;
  3. Facilitate customer-oriented performance dialogues with less meeting time;

Once you have completed these steps, the chain collaboration has been started within your organization. Your organization will further develop into a customer-centric, data-driven organization where the customer is at the center of how your employees and departments work together. You will notice an increase in both customer and employee satisfaction. Interested in this future perspective for your organization? Leave your details and we will contact you within 24 hours.

The iPM implementation approach

Over the past few weeks, we have taken you through the questions and changes we encounter in practice. Want to learn more about how to manage KPIs within different organizational levels? Read it again in the blogs below.

Introduction of iPM

  1. From planning & control to iPM
  2. Ready for take-off
  3. Setting the right targets
  4. Which customer chains does my organisation have?
  5. Division of roles: hierarchy versus chain
  6. Tactics of the chain in focus
  7. Customer journey versus customer chains
  8. How to determine the right KPIs
  9. Getting your KPIs right in 10 days
  10. Consultation structure in iPM organisation
  11. Effective performance dialogue and the usefulness of BRV
  12. Leader and team development
  13. Encouragement as a style to get more out of teams
  14. iPM in complex organizations
  15. Tips for implementation

Curious? Get in touch with us!

We outline what we often see in the traditionally driven organization and outline what that looks like when you apply iPM. Want to know more about healthy performance management? We lard that with situations and examples we find in practice. Contact us and we will help your organization move forward.

After the publication of the book ‘Winning with the right KPIs we have received many positive responses from readers who recognize themselves in the issue. Organizations are siloed, and the applied KPIs further reinforce the siloing.

Readers are excited about customer chain thinking, but wonder if the “iPM method” can also be applied to their organization. The simple and straightforward answer to this question is YES. The iPM method works in your organization too!

Experience has shown that the iPM method is successfully applied in all sectors, from public organizations (education, healthcare, municipalities, charitable organizations, culture, water boards, etc.) to private organizations ranging from scale-ups to listed multinationals. Whether the customer is a citizen, resident, patient, student, client, customer or consumer, collaboration in the chain is necessary to deliver the right performance with the right effort and costs. By also placing the customer at the center of your management (not just on the website) and adjusting your KPIs and meeting structure accordingly, the customer is better served, employees are happier, and your organization achieves better results. A win-win-win situation.

Practice has shown that the iPM method is successfully applied in all sectors.

Peter Geelen

The iPM method in the public sector

As an example of applying the iPM method, we take a random municipality. Municipalities provide products and services to citizens. As previously mentioned in our blogs, these products and services form the basis for identifying the customer chains. The expectations of customers (in this case, citizens or other stakeholders) and the expectations of the municipality itself are leading in designing and managing (including KPIs) these customer chains. However, a municipality is an organization with a wide range of products and services, and designing a separate customer chain for each individual product or service is not practical. It is essential to name the customer chains at the right level of abstraction (a collection of products/services). Therefore, no distinction should be made in management between “providing and enforcing environmental permits” and other types of permits, but all permit types should be part of the same customer chain. Specific details can be added at a lower level of abstraction if the execution is different, but this is not necessary for management.

Similarly, in the public and social domain within a municipality, a number of customer chains can be identified. For example, labour participation, which involves maximizing the participation of welfare recipients in the labour market. By setting the appropriate KPIs at that chosen level of abstraction, such as participation rate and claims reduction, all involved chain partners (links in the chain) in this customer chain are linked to the overarching customer chain-KPIs. From there, it is easy to determine the contribution of each chain partner. From this, KPIs are derived that they can influence to achieve the joint customer chain KPIs. From there, it is easy to determine the contribution of each partner in the chain. Based on this, KPIs are derived that each partner can influence to achieve the joint customer chain KPIs.

A well-defined KPI tree emerges in which all chain partners work with the municipality towards the same result. By adjusting the meeting structure so that these chain partners and municipalities meet in an encouraging performance dialogue, insights can be shared and the cooperation can be continuously improved through ongoing learning. This stimulates collaboration between ‘’legal entities’’, which is beneficial for the citizen, government funds, and parties that play a social role in this issue.

The iPM method in de private sector

We also encounter complex organizational structures in the private sector where organizations are in various locations or even different countries, with different business units, shared service centers and sometimes even matrix-like organizational forms. The organization consists of a variety of entities that have a role in achieving the organization’s strategy and ambition. The crux then is to make sense of this governance. It has great influence on the design of chains and where the responsibilities will lie for chain control.

It would go too far to dig into this subject completely, but you could start with the following starting question: who determines strategy? You will answer this, that management determines it. This management will most likely also have responsibility for the design of the chain organization.

In large organizations, set-up and execution are often split up which means that the same work is done at multiple locations. It is then important to ask the question of whether this should be unified or not. Depending on the answer, customer chains will be set up and managed the same or differently, and result responsibility will be assigned differently. This ‘’exercise’’ is not complex, but needs the right questions to arrive at a proper set-up of the iPM method and to get to chain steering.

The iPM implementation approach

In the coming weeks, we would like to take you through the questions and changes we encounter in practice during the implementation of iPM at our clients. Do you want to learn about how to steer on KPIs within different organizational levels? Read it in our next blog. Topics will include:

Introduction of iPM

  1. From planning & control to iPM
  2. Ready for take-off
  3. Setting the right targets
  4. Which customer chains does my organisation have?
  5. Division of roles: hierarchy versus chain
  6. Tactics of the chain in focus
  7. Customer journey versus customer chains
  8. How to determine the right KPIs
  9. Getting your KPIs right in 10 days
  10. Consultation structure in iPM organisation
  11. Effective performance dialogue and the usefulness of BRV
  12. Leader and team development
  13. Encouragement as a style to get more out of teams
  14. iPM in complex organizations
  15. Tips for implementation

Curious? Get in touch with us!

We outline what we often see in the traditionally driven organization and outline what that looks like when you apply iPM. Want to know more about healthy performance management? We lard that with situations and examples we find in practice. Contact us and we will help your organization move forward!

Kedeng, kedeng… KPI-champion! 

NS has been under fire for years. But with the right KPIs, new technology and customer chains, they can finally silence their criticasters.

For the NS (Dutch Railways), it’s difficult to reap praise. The news hardly ever focuses on their internationally impressive infrastructure operation, but always on unreliable trains. As a result of past incidents, bashing the NS has become a national sport. Citizens and politicians seize every opportunity to complain with both hands.

Seat availability

The commotion surrounding seat availability on the High-Speed Line (HSL) should also be understood. The Dutch Railways (NS) has changed the method of measuring the Key Performance Indicator (KPI) for seat availability on high-speed trains. Since 2017, they no longer focus on the chance of finding a seat on the busiest train, but on the average probability of finding a seat across twelve trains. This is measured using check-in and check-out data. They achieved this new KPI in 2017, whereas they had not succeeded in meeting the KPIs in the two previous years. The NS received fines for failing to meet the requirements in 2015 and 2016 and in the event of a third violation, there is a risk of losing the concession for the HSL lines.

Because the new KPI worked out very well for the NS from 2017 onwards, it was portrayed by the Telegraaf as a trick. This led to questions in the Parliament. However, the answers from the responsible State Secretary, Stientje van Veldhoven, revealed that the implementation of the KPI was in full accordance with the pre-established agreements with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. The Dutch Parliament had requested the NS to no longer rely on conductor counts in the busiest train but instead to use digital data from twelve trains. Due to the availability of check-in and check-out data, the new KPI could only be measured in 2017.

Who knows, perhaps the NS will permanently change from being a national scapegoat to a customer champion

Peter Geelen

On the right path

Amidst all the mistrust surrounding the NS, it is overshadowed that they are actually doing quite well. Based on the available information, one can conclude that the organization is making progress. They prioritize the passenger in their strategy, placing them at the forefront of their priorities. They approach their services from customer values such as reliability from door to door, safety, and comfort. And, as evident from the responses to the parliamentary questions regarding the seat availability-KPI, they work with a set of KPIs focused on safety, punctuality, seat availability, connections, and travel information. They measure these factors using both customer opinions and objective data, such as check-in and check-out data, which deserves praise. With their strategy, set of KPIs, and new technology, the NS is laying a promising foundation for consistently improving customer satisfaction. The key now is to continue moving forward!

Perverse incentives

The question is of course how NS can definitively get rid of negative sentiment. It is important that they translate all customer values into the right set of KPIs. Think of indicators for punctuality and trip cancellation (reliable), for number of incidents and atmosphere (safe) and for seat availability and clean trains (comfortable). With the KPI set, it comes down to monitoring coherence and taking cause-and-effect relationships into account. NS must avoid focusing too much on one of the KPIs, for example due to political pressure. Then this can become a perverse incentive. An example: by running fewer trains, they can perform better on the punctuality KPI. But the full carriages or worsened connection that results makes passengers dissatisfied. So you don’t gain anything from that.

Another point to consider is the relationship between customer value and internal value (efficient execution). In the current situation, NS benefits financially from overcrowded trains. That too is a perverse incentive. It would be better if the traveler’s pain is also felt internally in the organization.

Discounts based on data

If NS wants to become a champion in customer satisfaction, they really need to dare to be at the forefront of new technology. Take the seat availability as example. With check-in and check-out data, NS can measure whether there are more passengers than seats. I would recommend not limiting that to a sample of 12 trains, as they do now. That’s old-fashioned. Use technology to reveal the seating probability in all trains. Use the data for predictions in scheduling and to inform passengers. Develop a system that visualizes whether a train still offers seats and in which train compartement. In today’s era of cheap sensors and Internet of Things, that shouldn’t be that difficult. I can imagine that the NS also uses the data for compensating passengers who do not have a comfortable journey from point A to point B. For example, they could compensate travelers for an overcrowded ride with discounts equal to the percentage of people who are forced to stand. That way you make it clear externally and internally that you don’t want to earn from overcrowded trains.

Customer chains

With the right set of KPIs and new technology, NS can make a lot of progress, but it is not enough. They must also succeed in forging the organization – previously known as an island kingdom – into more of a unity. They are working hard on that. Also in their pursuit of improved collaboration, they can achieve a definitive breakthrough. Especially if, as iPM advises, they start working with customer chains and on an encouraging culture in which employees learn to do what really matters to travelers. Who knows, the NS might then definitely change from a national scapegoat to a customer champion.