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Mark Jongejan

  • Programme: Leading Change
  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Job Post-programme: VP Group Internal Audit at Carlsberg

Real-life business cases

I realised recently that the more senior I have become within my company, the more my leadership and management has involved changing ways of working. At a wider organisational level, it also involves changing company culture. I came to the programme to gain a more theoretical understanding of change management and reassess my strategic thinking. 

The programme provided me with a number of very useful insights, including structured frameworks to apply and practical tools to use. Real life business cases were introduced in class and the opportunity to discuss challenges with likeminded peers from other companies was exceptional. We agreed at the outset that everything said during the course was confidential – this created an extremely open environment and allowed people to contribute with businesssensitive examples. I got the most value from breakout groups where we worked with 4 or 5 other participants, gaining a deeper understanding of managing change across cultures and how to adjust to different local approaches.

Theory and practice

Leading Change examines the theory behind change management, but it is also practical enough to translate into daily work. One of the first things I did when the course finished was to implement the technique of peer pressure. Internally at Heineken, we have a lot of operating companies that are organised in the same way and invariably some are performing better than others. By contrasting the good performers against the rest, the companies doing less well have stepped up and improved their results.

Staying true to yourself

I’m currently preparing for my next role where I will be responsible for the internal audit function across the Americas and, inevitably, for convincing people to do things differently. My takeaways from Leading Change are proving invaluable. One of the topics we covered was how to start a new role as a leader. I’m using that knowledge to develop a strategy that will take me through the first three months of my new role. I’m also approaching the role with a much greater level of self-confidence.

 I’ve always felt that to bring about true organisational change it is necessary to be an extremely charismatic individual. Leading Change taught me that the most effective leadership is about staying true to yourself, and to your own integrity. As long as I remain passionate about the change I’m trying to effect, I’m much more comfortable persuading people to work differently and to change their behaviours.