Customized Solutions

“Nowadays, off-the-shelf solutions no longer provide the answer”

May 22 2017


“The problems faced by businesses today are no longer as simple and clearly defined as they used to be,” explains Prof. Dr. Leen Paape, Dean of Executive Education. “Previously, the answer to organizations’ management questions was simply to adapt an existing open program to the specific context of the business.”

This view is backed up by Erwin Hollestelle, program director of Customized Solutions, who took up his current position in December 2015. Nowadays, Erwin Hollestelle explains, all large organizations employ their own learning and development specialists. “Relatively easy learning questions can be dealt with inhouse without too much difficulty. It’s the more complex issues where organizations are having to seek help.”

“In addition to the increasing complexity of business concerns, the speed of organizational change is also increasing, under pressure from innovation, IT and other new technologies. Both trends run concurrently, which means that organizations are constantly having to deal with day-to-day problems, but also their future ambitions and the repercussions for employees and management.”

Analyzing the problem

“We need to analyze exactly what the problem confronting the business really is,” adds Leen Paape. “The solution for the client is not a standard off-the-shelf program offered by business schools, but a customized package.”

“To get to the bottom of these problems, it’s essential to understand different markets and have experienced and trusted advisers in a variety of areas. The discussions take place at boardroom level, so we want to consolidate our consultative skills. Traditionally, HR and L&D managers were our most obvious points of entry for organizations, but this is now changing. After all, the line managers experience the problems themselves, so they’re often the most obvious people to tell you how things really are.”

Consultancy approach

“Today’s corporates managers have undergone rigorous training and are well qualified,” explains Erwin Hollestelle. “To tackle their problems effectively, it’s no longer enough simply to have a cognitive understanding of business management. On the contrary, there’s a greater need for awareness and personal leadership. The overriding theme of Customized Solutions is co-creation. Together, we’re working towards a system of learning and development. We do this by working not only with the client’s learning specialists, but also with participants, their managers and the managers’ managers.”

“In order to address changing market needs, we also have to adapt our own product,” argues Leen Paape. “By its very nature, our work increasingly includes consultancy elements, even more so than in the past, we need people involved in product development.”

Changes in the here and now

“Because we offer support to organizations dealing with changes in the here and now, our conclusion has been that a step backwards sometimes needs to be taken throughout the process. That’s part and parcel of organic change. A lot of our clients and - it should be said - we too, haven’t yet made this sea change. However, it can’t be ignored: we need to solve the complex issues of our time with the client, which is also more in line with current working practices.”

“Nowadays, it’s not possible to give exact estimates of the costs and time involved in dealing with major problems. Based on ongoing insights over a period of time, you conclude that you’ll need more of one or the other. If required, we can call on people outside Nyenrode for this, as well as businesses we work closely with: of course, this is always done in consultation with the client.”

Read more about Nyenrode's Customized Solutions (in Dutch)

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