De Jong & Laan is an accountancy and consultancy company that specializes in counselling clients on strategy and operational optimization. Based on financial data insights and industry experience, they help small and medium-sized enterprises with business intelligence, audit, personnel, tax and corporate finance.
We strive for an organizational culture change
Previously, De Jong & Laan had been very entrepreneurial in its leadership and made decisions without a clearly articulated strategy. Employees on the other hand were asking for more direction and clarity on the future of the company. When De Jong & Laan integrated a new board of directors in its leadership, it seemed to be the perfect time to change the conduct of leadership into a coherent and focused strategy.
Interview with Marco Lokhorst, CEO
What obstacles were you facing in approaching this challenge?
We did not really know how to structure all of this, how to approach the whole strategy
process, or how to put things on paper. We had thoughts about what we wanted and
what was needed but did not know how to move forward.
Additionally, we have 23 partner locations and a number of rather autonomous divisions. We wanted and needed more unity and collaboration between them—a sense of ‘we’ instead of ‘I’. We had to find a way to bring all of these minds together to discover and formulate where De Jong & Laan should be in the next five years.
What were you looking for in a strategic consultant?
We wanted someone with both a strong theoretical background and a pragmatic approach to make sure we were doing it the right way—someone that could fit in our personal and company values. They needed to be able to guide us through a careful process, together with our people so that we would develop a strategy that was not just ours, but of our entire company.
How do you think involving Jeroen as a consultant influenced your strategy?
He has managed to engage our company in the process in such a way that we now own the strategy—it is our plan, not his. He managed to not only get our strong-willed partners on the same page but also engage a much larger group of employees in the process. Jeroen would dare to ask us critical questions and challenge us to move beyond where would already be able to go ourselves.
Jeroen would dare to ask us critical questions and challenge us to move beyond where would already be able to go ourselves.
As CEO, I believe in bottom-up leadership. By involving Jeroen, the resulting strategy helped me enormously in executing this type of leadership. It’s a perfect match because people have been part of the process and it is now fully transparent where we want to go.
What were the most important changes you’ve noticed within the company?
We have gone through a major cultural change. In the beginning, we were hesitant and overly modest, but now we are proud to speak out our ambitions—both within our company as well as to the outside world. Going through this process has made us more self-aware and confident. And again, not just at the leadership level, but throughout the company.
Going through this process has made us more self-aware and confident. And again, not just at the leadership level, but throughout the company.
What was the result of your work together with Jeroen?
We didn’t want a break from the past. But we wanted to take the next step, move forward.
And that is exactly what happened. To a large extent, our strategy reflects a development
that was set in motion years ago. But it clarifies it, channels it and brings it to the next
A good example is our ambition to grow to €100 million. In the past, we would never have said that. But Jeroen has challenged us to have the guts to say it out loud. The same applies to sustainability. We knew we had to do something about it, and because it is a key part of our strategy now, we see that it really happens. People talk about it, they work on it, they change their own individual behavior.
He gave words to our thoughts, not only in the text but also in the visual tools he created to reflect. We have a better, more thought-through strategy now, and we have it done with our people; they are on board. In the long run, I am sure that this will help smoothen and speed up the execution and make us an even better company.
Not all problems can be solved internally
MCX wanted to force a breakthrough in its strategy process. Despite being led by a CEO with 20-year of experience and repeated strategy trainings, strategic implementation was not actionable enough, which made it difficult for the MCX team to put initiatives in motion.Read client story
Getting out of execution-only mode
A new generation of leadership at Moekotte took the lead in building a more structured way of working. With a background of no explicit strategy and after drafting a first version of a strategic plan in-house, Moekotte decided they need external support to do it properly.Read client story