Create open organisations

Monday, January 11, 2021

Jos Groen, a Business Unit Manager at Axians, describes himself as a transformational leader. For him, this means to create an open, inclusive and thriving organisation. 

After studying International Marketing Management, he applied his skills in many roles over the past 24 years. First in sales and account management, and later as manager and leader in various sectors.

“My objective is to take a struggling business unit and turn it into a sustainable, well-performing unit, based on passion and performance. For me, it is about adding value. Through education programmes, I learnt about transformational leadership, and I have put the principles in practice. You have to give the organisation back to the people; performance improves when people are intrinsically contributing by passion.”

“If you are a manager, director or leader, there are three pillars you have to think, run and act on; people, business and operations. If there is a balance between these pillars, you will have success. I always struggled with hierarchical structures and short-term focus. My wish is that employees have an organisation where they can grow, create value and also where the company is performing at its very best.”


Jos says it is up to leaders to change the culture in organisations, starting with themselves. But, he admits, this is not an easy task. 

“You can’t make or create diversity in a company; it is about changing the culture. You need true leaders and not authorities (read: managers to create balance between focus on people and business). You have to be honest, transparent and vulnerable as a leader. You have to give space and listen sincerely to your employees to tell you what they need. And you have to trust your people. If you create a safe environment for everyone within a company, there will be diversity. That is the culture that needs to be created.”

His advice?

“Senior executives need to understand that we live in a rapidly changing world. And instead of trying to put more control measures in place, you need to go with the flow of transformations. New generations are stepping in, so you have to be open to change. And give the new generation support and freedom to lead the transformation.”

Jos says there is an undeniable lack of female representation at board level. He believes boards should bring the best of both worlds to the table.

“It is time for more female leaders. Women bring creativity, openness, heart, and intuition. Men, on the other hand, can be too rational. When you combine the strengths, you can harness enormous power and opportunities for success. And this is why men should be a part of the conversation. In our boards and management, we have to reshape the balance in leading by the heart and head. 

Community building

Collaboration is vital, according to Jos. And this is one of the reasons Axians has continued to partner with RightBrains.

“Initiatives like RightBrains are important to create an awareness of the opportunities which diversity brings. We have to support each other in the mission we have; to have more women in IT. Communities are part of this transformation and will drive inclusivity in organisations.”

“At the end of my career, I want to look back and say that I was a part of this transformation in leadership.”

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