Can you give a short introduction of yourself?
I have a background in organizational science and started out in consulting and later got into management positions. After 10 years of making mistakes at the expense of others, I decided to establish my own company Neotopia in 2008, wanting to develop and offer a good proposition on the behavioral side of change. And to keep on making mistakes, but now at my own expense.
In 2009 I learned about Organizational Behavior Management (OBM) and decided to specialize in the field. I joined forces with Dr. Marius Rietdijk and we founded the ADRIBA institute at VU University, offering a post-graduate training program in OBM. I still work there part-time. From my experience in the field, having trained and coached hundreds of managers, directors and consultants I learned that an alternative OBM-certification route was needed. Because a lot of people turn out to be interested in behavior and OBM, but not everybody meets the criteria for joining the post-graduate program. That is why I established OBM Dynamics B.V. with Robert den Broeder and became a provider of licensed materials for OBM trainings, partnering up with APMG International and Van Haren to offer the best possible materials and certification in the business. I live in Vleuten, The Netherlands with my dear wife and two small children.
What do you think the future of this industry will look like?
Behavior and behavioral change are here to stay. Fortunately, we see an increased interest in attitude, behavior and culture (the so called ‘ABC-issues) within all popular frameworks and best practices. Research reveals that currently about 65% to 75% of all organizational change initiatives fail to deliver the desired results, mainly, because of these ABC-issues. In the future, these numbers will change for the better. Abstract and conceptual models will be replaced by a hands-on, easily applicable approach, that has its roots in behavioral science.
Which title(s) have you made with us?
In 2020, Robert den Broeder and I wrote “Organizational Behavior Management, an introduction” in both the Dutch and English language. We also developed the courseware for the OBM Foundation course, which is also published by Van Haren. Currently, we are working on a German version of both publications, which is nearing its completion.
Why did you start writing about this subject?
I started out writing about it on request by a business magazine, publishing my first article in 2010. To be honest, I learned from someone that it gave him ‘street credibility’ as a consultant to have your own article. And I thought I’d take a crack at it to see if that were true. Turns out it did. More articles in other magazines followed and I kind of grew into it. Then I met with Ivo van Haren in 2015 and he offered me to write a blog on the subject which is still available on the website in an updated version (“OBM in 3 minutes”). He also offered me to publish a book on the subject if I were to write one. But I was too busy with helping clients and developing OBM-software to really invest enough time. That is, until I joined up with Robert and he asked me to co-write the book he started.
What genres do you like to read in your free time?
Free time? With multiple companies and a family?
What did you study? Or was it your career that put you on the path of authorship?
I was a student for 8 years, doing two consecutive studies, receiving a bachelor’s degree in marketing and a master’s in organizational science. In writing my thesis, I got involved in a project resulting in a TNO publication of which I was co-author. My first real writing! It had absolutely nothing to do with behavioral science by the way. It was on one of the first experiments with technology for distributed business meetings over the internet (we’re talking the nineties and ISDN here!).
What skills that you possess now would you have liked to learn in school?
During my master’s I was really interested in the behavioral side of change. But all the theories that I was taught were so abstract. I really wanted something more practical, yet scientifically validated. I’m glad that I got to learn about OBM, although it would have been better if it had been during my student days. I am sure that it would have helped me as a consultant and manager to bringing out the best in people even more. Luckily, I’m contributing to this through my work at VU University and OBM Dynamics now!
What is the best book you’ve ever read?
Hmm. Fiction or no-fiction? If it’s the former, it would have to be “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams. Absolutely world class humor.
What did writing a book bring you?
I think experiencing just about every basic human emotion was involved in the process. Truly gratifying and meaningful. You not only get to learn more about a subject, but you also learn more about yourself. Apart from that I like to believe it gave me the opportunity to add to my mission to make the world a better workplace.
Interested in the OBM book?
Buy it here!