“Unconventionally highly successful, that is DierkeHouben.“ That’s what one of our clients, a DAX30 CEO, says. Why? Because in our leadership coaching and advisory we follow clear principles of success.
We translate the so-called and often avoided “soft” factors of leadership performance into “hard” managerial language – specific, business-relevant, with a clear focus on the performance and growth issues at hand. In the end, it is all about improving leadership and collaborative behaviours to produce visible results in the business. We immediately address counterproductive individual attitudes and behaviours – and are crystal clear about the consequences for leadership.
For us, the sustainable development of executives and management teams is a contact sport: to the point, inconvenient, sometimes outside the comfort zone. We acknowledge that attention given at board level is tightly timed – that’s why we work directly with feedback, individually and in the team, “on the spot”, in order to trigger focused reflection.
“Confronting the brutal facts” of leadership and collaboration is how we start to develop executives from good to great leadership. In our head-on approach, we combine clear managerial language and consulting-hardened analytical rigour with the insights from organisational psychodynamics. Challenging our clients’ routine thinking and perceptions kicks off an effective dialogue about their team and leadership performance.
We use a variety of methods customised to the client’s situation to provide access to the supposedly “soft” topics that are so difficult to address. A decisive lever for corporate success is the “Shadow of Leaders”, role modelling sovereign leadership and effective collaboration from the top. The key challenge is then for top managers to step into a real growth mindset and develop themselves into new behavioural patterns of leadership and collaboration.
In a complex world, the same applies to managers as to entire companies: yesterday’s success is tomorrow’s failure.
What sets us apart
Our experience – business-hardened, from business for business.
We have been familiar with the day-to-day challenges of C-suite leaders from within for 25 years – from first-hand experience of board membership and executive positions, as strategy consultants, and as top executive leadership coaches and advisors. Nevertheless, success in the real world demands thinking ahead. This is why we are part of a unique network of leading practitioners and academics in leadership and lecture leadership at HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management.
Our clients – senior executives and their teams across Europe.
We have a strong client footprint in Europe. Our clients include both global blue-chip (DAX40, EuroStoXX100, Fortune500) and international mid-cap companies. We cover a wide range of industries – such as financial services, telecommunications, consumer goods, information technology, pharmaceutical industry, medical technology, retail, private equity, consulting firms, and the public sector.
Our independence – in thought and practice.
We are committed to our clients only – and not to any single school of thought or method. We do not restrict ourselves in our customer-centric approach. Since we understand that any executive’s reality is highly complex and too challenging for simple answers or a one-fits-all-approach, we integrate multiple lenses. We combine cutting edge leadership thinking with a deep understanding of our clients’ challenges to enhance their effectiveness in complex and dynamic leadership situations.
Our cooperations – leveraging global expertise.
Leveraging the latest leadership thinking for our clients – that is our passion and ambition. We therefore integrate and customise state-of-the-art approaches from our broad network of international academics and practitioners, such as:
- MIT Sloan School of Management, Neuroscience of Leadership
- IGLC INSEAD Global Leadership Centre
- Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence Coaching
- John F. Kennedy School for Government, Harvard University
- Adaptive Leadership Network, Harvard University
- SOL Society for Organizational Learning, Boston
- The Core Leadership Institute, Harvard
- HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management
- ISPSO International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organizations
- ILA International Leadership Association
- World Economic Forum, Geneva
- McKinsey, Arthur D. Little and INSEAD Alumni Associations
“Starting with the man or woman in the mirror” creates a positive role model for others to follow.
What we care about
Enabling top executives to develop into sovereign leaders – this is our daily work. And it is our passion. Why? Because change starts with the individual executives at the top.
What do we focus on when working with top executives?
Sovereign leaders are highly self-aware. They understand the “I” in the problem definition – because self-delusion is the single biggest trap for every leader. Being aware of your strengths, your unproductive flaws and the underlying root causes – this defines the path to success. “Starting with the man or woman in the mirror” builds trust and creates a positive “Shadow of Leader” in the organisation.
Sovereign leaders know their individual “purpose” by heart. They know the unique gift they bring to the world – they know their big “why”. “Leading from your purpose” boosts the power to lead, as it strengthens you from within, especially in disruptive times. Highest complexity in the external world demands absolute inner clarity: a clear compass or “true north” and a deep understanding of your own contribution, beyond facts and numbers.
Sovereign leaders cultivate a growth mindset. They perceive challenges in personal development as an opportunity to grow. This is crucial as emotions, blind spots, and self-limiting beliefs – what we call “brain chains” – downsize the executive’s potential. Managing yourself “in the moment“ and consciously adapting your attitude and behaviour defines the effective step from “compulsion to choice“.
Sovereign leaders can read emotions – their own and those of others, to manage relationships at the workplace effectively. For Rational Intelligence (IQ) alone does not lead to success. On the contrary: understanding the effect of emotions on thinking and acting, in yourself and in others – that is crucial to leaders’ success. And unlike IQ, Emotional Intelligence (EQ) can be learned as a social skill.
Sovereign leaders detect dynamics. They have a feel for the interplay between leaders, within teams and organisations. For sovereign leadership demands thinking beyond routines and managerial “technical” symptom solutions. Crucial for success is a holistic, systemic perspective: “reading the context” and understanding interdependencies and expectations that shape the attitudes and behaviours of peers and direct reports.