Mon, Sep 26, 2022
New Leadership in Times of Change – interview with Stijn Nijhuis (Enreach)

With its growing complexities and interdependencies, our fast-changing world calls for new forms of leadership and organization. In this interview, Stijn Nijhuis (CEO @Enreach), who was recently awarded the EY Entrepreneur of the Year award, is interviewed by Lars van Tuin, Ph.D. (Leadership scholar and coach) and Rob Kurver (Founding Partner @The NextCloud) about what drives him, the role he sees for technology in o, and the challenges of leading a fast-growing company. Listen to Stijn talk about the organizational model he chose to implement at Enreach (Holacracy) and how that supported him in growing the company to over 1000 people in 24 countries these past years. What makes him so optimistic about the future we are transforming into?

Fast-growing tech companies lead the way

We cannot solve today’s challenges with yesterday’s knowledge. In this era of seismic changes in the way we live and work, we need to reinvent many of our habitual patterns. The Corona pandemic has parachuted change that had been lurking beneath the surface for at least a decade.

What’s interesting is that many tech companies have already been exploring new forms of organizing, structuring, managing, and leading. Not only to deal with fast growth and international expansion or working from home but also to source and retain talent and connect with a purpose over profit. We can learn a lot from sharing their insights and lessons learned as we go forward, and also non-tech companies are confronted by these same challenges!

How Holacracy helped Enreach stay nimble

In the interview, Stijn explains why and how Enreach implemented their Holacracy organisational model, how this helped them navigate the pandemic years and embrace hybrid work, how it is now influencing their strategy and workflow, and why he is optimistic about the future. Some highlights:

  • Holacracy is “a management practice for the modern era. It embraces our individual humanity, autonomy, and creative problem solving capacities.” (www.holacracy.org)
  • People self-organize in roles and circles in a distributed model of leadership. People self-craft their roles and circles that fit the purpose of the circle and the organization as a whole.
  • The model was introduced when the company grew to 100-200 employees and, as a result, became slower, less responsive, and decision making grew complex.
  • Holacracy has helped simplify the decision making process and stimulated innovation and self-direction. It proved scalable and supported the quick growth of the organization.

Please watch the video to hear more about Stijn’s views on leadership, wellness, innovation and growth.

Learning from the leaders

In this phase of exploration and transformation, learning and knowledge sharing are crucial for future success. After all, our current successes can lean on a solid knowledge base giving entrepreneurs a head-start in building successful enterprises. We have learned a lot from shared experiences and studies in business modeling, scaling a business, marketing, and technology, but our knowledge base in leadership and social innovation is much less well developed.

The current trend in employee turnover coined “The Great Resignation” underscores the necessity of alternative ways of leading and organizing. Despite the many exciting experiments in running an organization differently, our knowledge about the make-up of successful leadership approaches remains scarce and scattered.

Next steps

This interview with Stijn is the first in a new series about Digital Acceleration and Leadership. We aim to strengthen our leadership and social innovation knowledge base by combining theory and practice. We will actively source inspiring leadership cases and share their lessons and insights through panel discussions, interviews, masterclasses, and more.

Please stay tuned for more on leadership content. With this series we hope to inspire you and invite you to look at adaptive forms of leadership with fresh eyes!

About the author

Lars van Tuin
International Leadership Coach at Coolspace | Website | + posts

Lars van Tuin, Ph.D., is a seasoned business psychologist, bringing 20 years of experience in coaching leaders of private and public organizations in Europe, North America, and Asia-Pacific. Increasing organizational agility and facilitating personal growth are at the core of his work.

His academic research and publications are on the psychology of leadership and motivation. His specific interest is in balancing governance with psychological well-being. How can a company be well-run and organized, serve a higher purpose, and benefit employee well-being and other stakeholders.

Website | + posts

Rob combines a strong technical and commercial IT background with 18 years of cloud communications experience as an entrepreneur, consultant, trainer/coach, analyst and business developer. His heart is in innovation and growth, working with scaleups and corporates to bring new technologies to market.

In 2016 he co-founded The Next Cloud because he believes the exciting world of business communications, with programmable telecoms, APIs, CPaaS and AI, is too important to leave to the Big Tech companies and deserves a local and people first approach. Optimal customer experience, new business models, but also solving our society’s real challenges by combining the strengths of corporates and innovators in new ecosystems.

Over the past 30 years Rob (co-)founded various technology companies, including one of the leading Dutch hosted voice providers (before hosted voice became the new normal). Today, he works with some of the world’s leading technology providers on innovation and growth, especially in the rapidly changing world of cloud communications.

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