The story of Valpeo
In the Eliminating Limiting Beliefs podcast, Fabiaan Van Vrekhem speaks about his long and illustrious career in HR, where he faced too many layoffs. After 15 years in the industry, he moved to consultancy and decided to set up a platform for consultants with a focus on people. He wanted to understand how people interact with organizations to be successful and avoid failure. So he immersed himself in the literature and research about why people fail. It was at that time that he gained an interest in the work of Elliott Jaques about complexity, the work of Robert Kegan concerning the levels of consciousness, and the theory of Shalom Schwartz about universal human values.
Fabiaan applied the insights of those researchers in his Belgian consultancy firm between 2009 and 2017. After that time, he founded the international business management consultancy company Valpeo.
In the podcast, Fabiaan is presented with the following questions.
First question: How do so many businesses end up in a mess that obliged them to fire multiple people?
Why does it go the wrong way too often? “The main reason is that we have a tendency to hire for today and not to hire for tomorrow”, explains Valpeo’s founder. We define a list of criteria and try to understand if a person will be able to cope with that today. But we live in a dynamic environment, not in a static environment. Fabiaan Van Vrekhem explains: “We try to see what makes someone competent instead of trying to see if someone is competent. You need to understand how a person thinks, which values he or she brings in and how he or she likes to act.” The main difference in this approach is that you get a full understanding of the context that person will fit into. A more in-depth understanding of the person is key, to see if he or she will fit not only into the current context but also be able to contribute into the next context as companies need to evolve.
Second question: Small businesses in particular tend to look at profit and cost and not at future value. How would you explain a small business to think about the next context and invest in it when they are anxious about today?
“There is no alternative,” says Fabiaan Van Vrekhem. A company won’t maintain its autonomy if it doesn’t invest in the next stage. The status quo doesn’t exist today. In his answer Fabiaan gives some very interesting examples of global companies like Nespresso and Uber.
Third question: How can a small business think a little bit bigger?
How can they avoid ending up like a taxi company ten years ago, when Uber suddenly snatched their business? They have to bring it back to the purpose, according to Valpeo’s founder. “What is the level of value you want to bring? Where are you today, and what is the next stage that will emerge when science, perspectives evolve?” Again, Van Vrekhem uses Nespresso as an example.
Do you want to know what makes the examples of Nespresso and Uber especially interesting in this context? Listen to the entire podcast with Valpeo’s founder Fabiaan Van Vrekhem.