“From Craftmanship to Impact” – Jo Maes, CEO Ordina

The story of the transformation journey of Ordina

On Thursday 16th May, the second session of NGL International’s “The Transformation Dialogues” took place at De School, a former Technical College, in Amsterdam West that currently accommodates various educational and creative initiatives.

Some 30 international executives were assembled to listen to and interact with each other and our two guests of honor i.e. Jo Maes CEO Ordina and Annemieke den Otter, CFO Ordina. Ordina is the largest, independent local IT service provider in the Benelux. Ordina employs some 2650 people and is listed on the Amsterdam stock exchange. Their focus is to give customers in the financial services, public, industry and healthcare sectors a digital edge. Ordina is particulary strong in software development, data related solutions and increasingly known for their high performance teams. Ordina helps its customers to stay ahead of the challenges and changes in their business.

Engagement of people is the key

Jo and Annemieke were interviewed by the founder and managing partner of NGL International, Bercan Günel, about their transformation journey at Ordina. Jo and Annemieke proved to be a pair of enthusiastic, open and engaging leaders who were quite willing to share Ordina’s as well as their own transformation experiences so far. A key ingredient of their transformation journey is first and foremost a clear case for change. In Ordina’s case the need and urgency for change came from outside and inside – out. Ordina’s traditional craftmanship and customer service alone weren’t good enough anymore. Declining results and changing customers required a different approach. Coupled with the ever increasing impact of technology, in particular digitalization, forced Ordina to a radical shift in focus especially with regard to their business propositions and services. This radical shift in focus has a tremendous impact on its people. The impact offers both a challenge to the employees – am I able to change and do I want to change – and an opportunity for personal growth. In order to create internal and external alignment a clear ambition was defined i.e. “Ahead of change”, which was then clearly communicated towards all stakeholder groups i.e. clients, employees and partners to send out the message that we’re all in it together. Subsequently Ordina got busy building specific business propositions, developing new leadership skills and establishing partnerships with customers. They involved their employees with the help of working groups representing all layers and areas of the organisation. By pro-actively involving their employees they created ownership, commitment and pride in the organisation. They also showed progress continuously and in small portions.

Start with the who

In their engagement with the other executives present Jo and Annemieke displayed their personal operating style as individuals as well as a team. They were not afraid to show their own vulnerability. As transformation leaders they were clearly leading by example and acted as role models. They breathe perseverance as change doesn’t happen overnight and they remained very authentic by sharing how they also transformed personally as a result of the business changes. Key lessons they shared were “start with the who and then with the what”. “Don’t start the change at the middle management level but rather at the top. Finally they stressed the need to keep the current business running, to develop your leadership, to bring focus to your portfolio and to re-define the relationships with your customers.

After a short break during which the guests exchanged their personal experiences at transformation and got to know each other, Bercan facilitated a question and answer session that led to a very lively and insightful dialogue. NGL International’s partner Wim Dufourné then presented a summary of the key take away’s and briefly introduced the mission and ways of working of NGL International.

Next guest of honor is Herman Tjeenk Willink, Minister of State on September 10, 2019 and Helen Mets, President Resins & Functional Materials DSM on the 31st of October.