As a leader, Kees has broad experience in a range of industries prior to founding Globalinternet in 2012. Globalinternet provides internet connectivity for over 600 global enterprises around the world. With a vendor-agnostic approach, it has grown to become a leading supplier of Managed Internet Access services in 190+ countries.
If you could appoint anyone, alive, dead, fictional, or real to your leadership team who would it be?
Perhaps an early explorer who dared to go further than anyone had gone before, Vasco da Gama, Christopher Columbus, Captain Cook. Their desire to explore was bigger than the concern for their own lives. I would welcome their pioneering spirit and boldness – one of our values at Globalinternet is to be Pioneers. We believe it is important – for the business and for own personal growth – to try new things while accepting that not everything succeeds.
What do you believe is the greatest challenge for leaders today?
Often you must make decisions based on 50% of the required information. Instinct tells us to wait for more data, but there is often no time to gather the information before needing to act.
Who as a leader influenced your early career?
My father. He was an entrepreneur. He taught me to always form my own judgement and to dare to rely on it. To have the self-belief not to be influenced by the norm.
How do you keep learning?
I am curious by nature which is the first point for learning. I enjoy reading and take ideas from others to support my personal development. I just finished “Humankind, a hopeful history” by Rutger Bregman (the same Dutch historian who created a stir at Davos in 2019 telling the worlds’ billionaires to stop avoiding tax) and found it interesting. His provoking theories, looks at the human capacity for kindness, contesting the idea that we are innately self-seeking and chiefly driven by egotistic goals is highly relevant today.
What do you look for when hiring?
The DNA of the person, as that cannot be changed. Attitude and mindset are the most important aspects to consider. A lack of ego and positive energy are vital for integration to our organisation
What is more important, Recruiting or Retention?
Hiring is important for growing business like ours, but it is also important to develop and retain your team. The collective memory is key to our business, retaining intellectual property, that allows your team and business to develop.
To bring you an example – although in a different context, FC Barcelona invested time and energy in keeping knowledge and memories within their club. They value the participation of 70 and 80 year olds who have been with the club for years, and strongly believe that they contribute to the ongoing success through these experiences. I am proud that many of the colleagues that started at the very beginning of Globalinternet are still with us. It shows loyalty, not only to the business but to what we believe in.
What advice would you share with your 21-year-old self?
I once sailed a Yacht called ‘Who dares wins’ across the Atlantic. My 21-year-old self believed that you had to know how to do something before trying it. Now I believe you must do it and in that challenging process you will learn – ‘Who dares wins.’
What do you believe will be the greatest disruptor to world of work?
Globalisation… I wonder how this will develop now. Will countries now focus nationally? We have become dependent for essential goods from other continents, like medicines produced in India and China for Europe. I think companies and governments will reconsider the balance of price versus supply.