who we are
Co-Thinkers in Change
Co-Thinkers in Change
Heike Smets is German, Désirée Vroegop is Dutch. When they are together they speak German, but they make use of English and Dutch when the word is more appropriate or when it approaches the intention better.
Both are internationally oriented and together they talk (for over 10 years) about the cultures in countries and organizations. As a result, they think in terms of ‘Best of all worlds’.
The differences are interesting and never insurmountable, their thinking is global through and in their conversations.
Heike’s specialty is challenging existing theories and general assumptions. In doing so, she always takes into account the positive intention of the creator or sender. She is a kind of pathfinder who seeks the challenge and enjoys a difficult course.
Heike has a degree in Semiotics; she studies and loves signs of all kinds, whether they are the current theory of change or the (spatial and procedural) design of your organization. She recognizes written and unwritten signs and their symbolism, which she translates into cultural and social relationships. This leads to conversations about the mission – the right to exist – of your organization, about development, change and continuity.
Désirée about Heike:
“I don’t know anyone who understands language better than Heike. She ‘tastes’ the story and then talks about the form and content in several languages. In this way she builds bridges between countries and cultures.
With an open mind, she listens for similarities and differences and minimizes her judgment when articulating her conclusions.”
And why I love working with Heike:
“Heike has a sharp mind, to which I can sharpen mine. She always knows how to surprise me with alternative ways of thinking that provide vistas. I enjoy working with Heike because I never have to hold back, I meet her at every thought level. As a result, we make miles together, as if we have wings.”
Désirée is a Business Administrator with an HR specialization. Her specialty is the practical and empathic mentoring and coaching of change processes, mergers and acquisitions. She uses her knowledge and experience for the form, not the content of these processes.
There, she delivers customized solutions through her ‘open mind’ and ‘lifelong learning’, for an always up-to-date, positive contribution. From 2002 onwards, she has guided mergers, acquisitions and integrations; celebrated successes, analyzed losses. In 2010 she graduated on this phenomenon and especially on the soft sides of ‘hard’ reorganizations. “On paper, fine projects but success often fails to materialize. What is holding back organizations – and especially the people in organizations?”
In this day and age, change is a constant. While the conditions for success are in place, organizations seem to stand still. Everyone is doing their best, but are they doing the right thing?
Heike about Désirée:
“I am always impressed when Désirée, for example in a coaching conversation, conveys her extensive knowledge and differentiated perspectives in a simple and accurate way, often using metaphors and models.
She responds flexibly while always maintaining her integrity – skills, which she demonstrates in all phases of her profession: in coaching, consulting and leadership. Désirée connects people to their own goals.”
And why I love working with Désirée:
Conversely, she always connects and tests theories in practice. With Désirée you can go down unbeaten roads and arrive well.
We connect an intuition for walking the right path – but she can explain that better :).”
We share a way of thinking that could be called ‘Best of both worlds’: differences are interesting and positive and never insurmountable. Our ‘world’ is global.
Therefore, we are inspired by ideas and books from different countries and in different languages.
Magic of questioning
In systemic context, the book Rake Vragen (Touching Questions) and its question card box (2018) is also a source of inspiration.
The Dutch writer and organizational consultant Siets Bakker developed not only these questions, but also an overall concept for learning to make specific questions yourself, questions that release something in you, touch something in you that makes problems meet their proper perspective.
While reading Rake Vragen I tried to look at our own work process from this perspective. And it is true: there are moments when you can get a movement going by asking questions.
But with which question does that work best? (…)
This time our inspiration came from the book Systemisch Adviseren: de organisatie als levend systeem (Systemic Consulting: the Organization as a Living System) (2013) by Siebke Kaat and Anton de Kroon.
We are reminded to zoom out, to distance ourselves from the details in order to regain an overview of the organization as a whole.
It is about a different perspective:
Problems can also be solutions to something else.
And to what extent and for whom is this imbalance beneficial?
What problem are we avoiding, by maintaining this problem?
Coherence turns out to stand for much more than consistency.
They themselves say, “House of Coherence is a house for development of people and organization working towards more integrality, integrity and impact.”
After intensive study of the Tree of Life, among other things, a model has emerged that can actually be used to explain what and how seemingly so far apart things like the values of an organization and the added value for customers have to do with each other. And that also makes it clear what you yourself have to do with it all.
Judith Botman and Herman van Kampen of House of Coherence believe that such integrity makes organizations more sustainable in terms of their own values – not least because the people there can experience their work, role and contribution as meaningful.