Using the Human Needs skills made a very valuable contribution to the success of our business in the UK and Ireland. Focusing on a customer centric approach and listening closely to our client’s needs and motivations resulted in the development of sustainable solutions for both parties. Our retention, cross selling and new business sales grew sustainably over a very short period.
Colm Flanagan Commercial Director, Dalkia UK and Ireland
My senior management team and myself as CEO took responsibility for running our business at a time that was extremely difficult for all insurance companies. Because of the difficult trading conditions, morale was low and the very survivability of the business was under threat.
We were able to use the Human Needs ideas and skills to improve and develop critical relationships with key stakeholders, including customers and staff. This enriched culture combined with the restructuring of our business over an eighteen month period, enabled us to stabilise our company and sow the seeds for future success.
Conor Brennan CEO of Zurich General Insurance UK
I have been working with Bart and Joe on the Human Needs ideas over the last seven years. At the very start I was sceptical and asked myself what was so different but this difference became clear very quickly as I learnt about Human Needs which helped me to really understand motivation for the first time.
Whereas the Human Needs training is a great ‘sales enabler’ we have found they provide benefits across virtually everything we do in life. For example, I have seen firsthand how a proper understanding of the ideas can be used to analyse problems and equally importantly how to resolve them.
I have also seen how colleagues gain a greater understanding of what is required to perform well in business after Human Needs training and when this is put into practice the results can be quite startling.
David Smyth Group Head of Purchasing, Ornua (formerly known as the Irish Dairy Board)
My engagement with Human Needs goes back to 2009, where I had previously experienced the ideas being adapted successfully within an Irish company where I was the Financial Director. So much so, that in 2011, when appointed as CEO of a Dutch organisation, one of my first actions was to ask Human Needs to support the deployment of the ideas in order to transform the business there. Whilst I had some initial reservations that the Human Needs ideas and skills might not work so effectively in a different culture, I need not have worried as it quickly became apparent that the Human Needs approach works just as well in the Netherlands as it did in Ireland.
My senior management team and other colleagues responded enthusiastically to the HN skills and ideas. We set about reinvigorating the business, using the skills to map and better understand the unmet needs of the market, to develop close working relationships with stakeholders and customers and in doing so use our specialised technical knowledge and experience to make a sustainable value contribution to their businesses.
In just a few years, we dramatically increased our turnover and profitability and we now have a clear strategy for the future. The ideas helped us quickly develop a shared approach and a common language that got to the heart of what was important to our customers and the people who worked in the business. They helped us as a team to achieve this very successful result and built a platform on which our future ambitions can be realised.
Hildagarde Mc Carville CEO Veolia Nederland B.V.
10 years ago I thought leadership was all about charisma, confidence and being strategic. However I have learned that whilst these traits are important, so also is mentoring, being authentically empathic, generous, building trust and developing people so that people are actually excited to work with you. When mentoring I use the Human Needs skills for staff development, the intention being to make them successful. The ideas help to release their inner curiosity and create an atmosphere where collective intelligence is free to flourish. When staff are successful and when the job is working well for them, they are also working well for the business which in turn is very satisfying and fulfilling for the mentor.
I have also learned that a leader should avoid being a thief by stealing a person’s developmental opportunities through solving their problems. The ‘thief leader’ is also a fool who inadvertently loads himself up with others’ problems.
Mentoring at this level takes genuine skill both in the asking of the questions and the distilling of the answers. Talking with the person is better than talking to or at the person. For example, once a sufficient and genuine rapport has been established asking open and intelligent questions is truly powerful when it comes to building authentic empathy, without this empathy people are slow to buy or own shared objectives. Storytelling and testimonials are also valuable in explaining abstract concepts in a concrete way.
Using the Human Needs ideas and skills to develop leadership skills at various levels in our people has been critical to our progress in continued organic growth and in expanding our business through acquisition. There is a performance improvement in the people, teams and business who “habitually” use the ideas.
Joe Collins Managing Director, Trading and Ingredients, Ornua (formerly known as the Irish Dairy Board)
Prior to learning about the Human Needs approach I was a manager that worked in a traditional ‘metrics based’ way. Using the HN ideas and skills enabled me to focus more on the performance that is necessary to bring about sustainable results. Gaining a shared understanding of the skills required to optimise our team performance has enabled us to achieve clarity of thought and develop our sales process in a way that has greatly improving our effectiveness.
I did not have to push this new way of working on my team; they almost instantly recognised it as better, because of their experiences of how I was now working with them. We now refer to the Human Needs ideas to inform how we run every meeting of consequence that we have.
One of the key benefits that we have received from working with the ideas is the ability to see our business through the lens of the Human Needs of all those involved. This has allowed us to work closely with our stakeholders to identify their needs so that when we are making important decisions we can ensure that they work for all parties. This has led to improved long term relationships with our customers.
In using the approach with other departments in our company, we increasingly experience what can best be termed ‘team intelligence’ emerging across the business. This has enabled us to use our expertise more effectively with our customers to co-design products that make an increased value contribution to our market; that benefits both our customers and our company.
Lorcan Harding Head of Broker and Commercial Lines, Zurich Insurance PLC, Ireland
I have used Human Needs skills and ideas in a number of businesses that I have managed both in England and Ireland in recent years. In my roles I have lead groups from 350 people up to 4000 people, and these organisations had turnovers ranging from €100m to €700m. I have utilised the ideas in these organisations and have found them invaluable in helping to solve problems collaboratively and also in creating a learning and performance culture. All of these organisations were predominantly made up of engineering or technical staff and in most cases where there were challenges in the business, it was due to people and relationship issues rather than technical ones. I found that technical people found the different tools and templates invaluable in improving the people side of things for them. The logical nature of the tools gave people something that was reusable and easy to remember. The use of these tools consistently in the business ensure that a fairer and more consistent management approach was felt by all employees.
In every company where we used the Human Needs ideas and skills, staff morale and productivity has increased. Customer relationships, turnover and net profitability have also significantly improved.
The enriched culture that taking on board Human Needs skills and ideas generates can give a business a real edge in the market place and in my experience lead to significantly enhanced customer experiences. The return on investment is extremely high and happens very quickly.
We have used the ideas in sport to create a learning and performance culture and it was also highly effective, in fact it was easier to see the effect of the ideas in the sport as it was possible to see the performance in real time and be clear that the approach was working. I could not recommend the approach highly enough.