Stepping outside the airport building onto the sweltering streets of Bangkok, is like walking into a sauna. Close to 20 years ago, sweating through his shirt and jeans, just off the plane from the Netherlands, Martin stepped out for the first time into the land of sun and smiles.
Though not his first assignment, Océ Thailand was a significant milestone in Martin’s journey as a changemaker. Working with the management team of the Asian branch of this international printer company, Martin encountered several cross-cultural differences, which revealed to him how the compelling management theories he had learnt during his MBA program, failed to work in practice. These theories discounted the role of individuals and did not do justice to their personal cultures, beliefs, attitudes and motivations.
Bridging this gap became the foundation of Martin’s work. After initial cross-cultural struggles and learning, Martin successfully helped the Océ Thailand Management Team navigate their way towards a new marketing strategy and business plan while overcoming their cultural differences. And he went on to work with many more executives, helping them deliver results through meaningful leadership and change, by focusing on the people making up their teams and organizations.
In his 20 year journey of change, Martin has guided many executives take on change and challenges, both personal and professional. His clients include Océ, NRG, Fugro, Danfoss, Kiwa, VON Vluchtelingen Organisaties Nederland, Fortis Insurance International, Reinis, PonPower, Schellekens & Schellekens, Sociaal Economisch Advies Platform Schouwen-Duiveland, Buro 111, Woningbouwcoöperatie Zeeuwland, Traduco, Odfjell, Keyrail, Imtech, Nextlogic en Portbase, Nieuwe Nobelaer, BAM Asset Management, Zeeland Seaports, De Zuidhoek, Eneco and Plantenkwekerij Van der Lugt.
Currently, Martin continues to run his company Delta Dynamics based in a farmhouse in the island province of Zeeland off the western coast of the Netherlands, offering executives coaching and training programs, next to living his own meaningful life: running marathons, having days out with his grandchildren, playing golf.
family power in the agricultural sector
Family values and culture lay a strong foundation for successful businesses. In 1920, the ambitious brothers Piet and Gerrit van der Lugt started growing young vegetable plants with the first ever glass greenhouses. Over the years, the business was passed over from father to son. Now, almost a hundred years later, the fourth generation, brothers Arie and Bert van der Lugt are making sure the hypermodern business is more prosperous than ever.
Knowing both the sector and the locality well, Martin was happy when given the opportunity to guide the development of their Management Team and help them develop a business plan, which eventually led to a merger between Van der Lugt, Leo Ammerlaan, and The Grow Group into the new group Plantise. One of the aims of the business plan was to work on a positive culture, for which Martin created the program Family Power. In a series of four interactive workshops, the family members of Van der Lugt spoke in a personal way about things like engagement, appreciation, expectations and job satisfaction.
Storytelling and dialogue were key ingredients in this process. Stories are the glue between past, present and future. It’s the narratives about family history and culture that capture the most important values of an organization, and that provided the base for the merger as the team met to share their own experiences and agree on a new shared story. The members of the family started making strong and heartfelt connections. Bert van der Lugt related his personal experience after the workshops: ‘I am very happy with this process. Walls are being taken down by sharing stories, which helps us solve problems together.’
Martin continues to coach the Executive Directors of Van der Lugt on change and leadership to prepare them for the future.