The role of Identity Transformation in Organisational Transformation - Shiftmakers' testimonial

Tuesday, April 23, 2024 - 16:57


In this interview, Samuel Van Braekel, Transformation Director at Euroclear SA/NV) and Koen Ermgodts, HR Director at Projective Group share their personal experiences, their initial motivations and the moments that have marked their transformation journey via the Shiftmaker programme with Butterfly&CO. 


Why did you choose the Shiftmaker course?


  • Samuel  It was a logical fit with my new role in transformation at Euroclear. The course also reflected my personal interest in the future of work and new ways of working together. On top of that, several people in my company had taken the course and spoke very enthusiastically about it.
  • Koen : I had read a lot of books about the human element in business and the different management styles, and at the same time I was finding it difficult to bring this into the company. I had the opportunity to take part in a Learning Expedition (a learning programme) organised by Butterfly&CO in the Netherlands. We visited a number of inspiring companies such as Buurtzorg, Corporate Rebels and so on. I was impressed by the dynamic between the Butterfly&CO coaches and some of the participants who had taken the Shiftmaker course. On the bus returning home, one of the participants came up to me and said that she was impressed by my knowledge but that I could also build on it - by showing my heart - and I was touched that she gave me this feedback. I knew it was going to be an impactful, intensive course, and if I chose to follow it, it was above all for the aspects of identity transformation.

"Several people in my company had taken the course and spoke very enthusiastically about it."


Can you sum it up in a sentence?


  • Samuel : It's not a training course. It's a life-changing experience.
  • Koen : It's a journey about transforming organisations and, to start with, yourself. A former Shiftmaker also told me that " you are the course material ".


Sam EN


What have you learnt about yourself along your journey? 


  • Samuel : I've really got to know myself, to be more in tune with my emotions and to share them. It builds confidence and generates a lot of empathy. Before, I often put a mask on and I wasn't the same person at work as I was at home. Showing yourself as you are, with your vulnerabilities, is very powerful in your professional life.
  • Koen : I've found out a lot about myself. First of all, this head-heart connection where there was something blocked. Like a protective barrier that I wanted to break. I also realised that I needed to prepare myself more to make my business more progressive and embody this trend within the company. The course helped me to answer a lot of questions about my legitimacy and to feel my mission as an authentic leader. I saw people open up during the feedback sessions and show their vulnerability. And I said to myself that it was OK, that's what being human is all about.
Koen EN


What changed in the way you support the transformation?


  • Samuel : The main change has been in my authenticity and vulnerability. I've become more open and that has generated a lot of confidence in myself and those around me. I go deeper into discussions. Even my eldest daughter has noticed this and our relationship has improved a lot. My leadership style has changed too: today I'm more of a resource leader. I think in the longer term, always putting meaning at the heart of what I do, and I help people to work with collective intelligence. I've adopted the posture of a coach both in my one-to-one meetings and in groups. I've understood the power of combining organisational and psychological aspects. It's like becoming bilingual: learning to speak both the language of people and the language of business. In top of that, I created a fantastic relationship with the other members of my promotion. That's another unique aspect of this course.
  • Koen : I have other types of discussion and I put a lot more importance on relationships. I'm also using the concepts and terminology I have learned during the Shiftmaker journey and I noticed that it generates a lot of echo. Where I used to have the feeling of being an amateur, starting from an intuition that was difficult to communicate, I now have a basis of professional legitimacy and I see the opening effect that this generates around me. The simple fact of saying to my interlocutors "let's go meta for a moment", for example. As soon as I have a decision to make or an action to take, I always start by asking myself the question 'why', and it's very powerful.





Do you have an anecdote?


  • Samuel : I remember one of the closing discussions during the first module. What people said was totally new to me, full of emotion and challenging. I went home tired, wondering "what the hell is this? But then I realised that it was a safe environment. I jumped right in. It's anything but a conventional training course.
  • Koen : During the valorisation days, at the end of the journey, I literally got stuck in my car and there was no way of getting out of it. It was like a metaphor for what was still 'stuck' inside me. Right up to the end of the journey, I had an encounter with myself. I thought back to one of the observers who had asked me "how can you use silence?" In the silence of my car, as I waited to be helped out, I understood what he meant. Silence allowed me to listen to what was happening in me.




What encouraged you to share your experience during our event on the 21 of March?


  • Samuel : I think that this training course can help a lot of people. I've met some very nice people and I want to give others the same opportunity. It's also important for me to talk about it openly. It's an intense and sometimes confronting journey. Talking about it is like a bonus that extends the training. It gives me a lot of recognition and honours my relationship with the trainers and Koen, who will be testifying by my side.
  • Koen : I love the idea of influencing other companies and I have a lot of respect for the Butterfly&CO team. What they're doing is courageous and essential. I was worried that it would take me a long time, but in the end I realised that there was nothing to prepare, just to be myself and share what I've been through.



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