Improve optimally with Triceps

‘Step by step we guide organisations to a way of collaborating in which mutual respect, trust and appreciation are important values’

Features of a High Performing Team are: team members who are involved, and who have a shared level of ambition. There is an informal structure in which everyone collaborates: the team members work close to one another and are able to consult each other and co-ordinate things quickly. Their thinking in chances and possibilities prevails; the correct mix of knowledge, skills and personalities is present.

With Jan Michielsen and Rob Boerboom at the helm, Triceps has a proven method at their disposal to help unbalanced teams collaborate at their best, and book results accordingly. Step by step organisations are guided towards a way of collaborating in which mutual respect, appreciation, and trust form the basis for successful innovation by a High Performance Team. At first creativity is needed; afterwards the focus shifts towards the power of execution and a pragmatic approach. Additionally, different structures, leadership, and experience are necessary.

A Triceps High Performing Team programme takes places over a period of 12 months and consists of individual assessments with individual feedback, followed by three workshops. These deal with:

  • Creating awareness, getting to know each other’s behavioural profiles and finding the way to collaborate effectively (workshop 1);
  • Focusing on the creation of a high performance team, including evaluating the current teamwork (workshop 2), and
  • Creating the ‘rules of engagement’ and evaluation of the team efforts, which include consolidating the best form of collaboration (workshop 3).

After more than a hundred Fitch-assessments with six country teams in a period of four months, SecureLink Europe has completed a fully-fledged Triceps High Performing Team programme. Mark Jenster, General Manager SecureLink Netherlands in Sliedrecht, discusses how he experienced the development of his scale-up organisation into a High Performing Team, from their phase of growth towards a corporate environment.

Since March 2017 Mark Jenster is the General Manager at SecureLink Netherlands in Sliedrecht, one of the market leaders in the field of cyber security. For their clients in the financial, retail and public sector, SecureLink translates organisational strategies into a security roadmap towards a higher level of (cyber) security. They do so by providing consultancy, technical solutions and managed services, among others. Thanks to Triceps, SecureLink is now managed by a High Performing Management team throughout Europe. Over a four-month period Jan Michielsen and Rob Boerboom organised one hundred ‘fitches’ for six country teams and a team of SecureLink’s holding company, as part of their High Performing Team programme.

Jan Michielsen

Rob Boerboom

Jenster was already familiar with the company and was asked to lead the transition of the Dutch team: from a reseller to a services company. A complex task, in a market where existing clients would rather pay ‘on the go’, than committing themselves for a longer period of time, as is the standard traditionally. ‘SecureLink has to start thinking more externally and their organisation has to move along.’ A period of four to five years was allocated for the transition. Mark Jenster: ‘I started my new job with a plan for 100 days. I first wanted to snoop around, before coming up with a vision and a plan of action. The first thing that caught my eye was their culture: I found a low performance management team, which consisted of 10 people at that time. Each member of the MT was knowledgeable and working in his or her area of expertise. The organisation was led by a directive style of leadership. Even though this functioned well enough, we were only going to be able to make the shift towards a service driven organisation by structuring our services portfolio differently. In order to realize that change, I wanted to create a High Performance Team. The entire MT has to understand what you are doing and therefore the Why, the How and the What should be everyone’s highest priority. For that process Triceps was top of mind for me. They had done a job validation for me before and I was very pleased with their approach.’
‘I wanted to operate on a High Performance Team level as soon as possible. SecureLink is located in six different countries in Europe; we started out with our own Dutch team.

With the assistance of Triceps we guided the MT through the so-called Fitch analyses for individuals and groups, followed by a team assessment, for which Patrick Lencioni’s model was used. This model identifies the most important pitfalls in a team. Trust, conflict management, commitment, responsibility, and result orientation were the measurement criteria. In order to monitor where the team stands, we started with a baseline measurement.

All team members anonymously determined these pitfalls for the team and colours were allocated to these dysfunctions with a so-called traffic light system. This system scores from 1 to 10 – 10 being perfect.  We scored a 2. That meant we had quite some work to do.’

‘In 2017 five team sessions were scheduled. During the first three days Jan Michielsen and Rob Boerboom focused on the framework of the High Performing Team: what does that look like? What are we going to have to do?

These two men are a rock solid combination: Jan is a businessman with a ton of experience and knowledge, and Rob has a great sense of empathy and is truly focused on people. The preparation of these days was very organic: they sketched out the scenarios and together we determined the desired effect and the risks for that particular day. Starting from my own feeling and assessing the Triceps method, we funnelled down towards our higher goal. This worked very well, although it could have helped us if we had created more clarity beforehand: what are we going to do, what do you expect from me? Thorough preparations are essential.

The fourth session was all about the real human aspect in a team: trust and commitment towards each other. These are essential for the right team spirit. After Rob and Jan concluded the sessions, I organised a team activity. This was important to further build on the trust we gained. Our score? It had developed towards a 7!’


'As a leader, you have to start with yourself if you want to change the team'

‘Jan Michielsen was my personal coach as well. That felt strange at first. Having personal contact while you go through such a process with your entire team, feels like a conflict of interest. In fact, quite the contrary: placing these two processes next to each other, allowed me to shape my style of leadership to my best ability.
If a leader expects to change his team and the way they think – and you set that as a goal – you have to start with yourself. This automatically seeps into the organisation and contributes to your success. It is my style to be at the forefront, I am the first to do something, even if that means being vulnerable. To know yourself and to ask questions about your own performance is an integral part of that. By doing so, you lead the way and you demonstrate that you are willing to provide leadership. People feel and experience that. And it’s very convincing, too.

I still call Rob and Jan on a regular basis. By now they mainly provide me with personal coaching in my role as managing director. It’s a big added value that they understand our business and are able to quickly hand me the right tools, enabling me to book results with my team. For example they show me simple conversation techniques, or they demonstrate which roles befit somebody best. Or take my leadership role: their advice helps me to realise goals and make decisions. I also feel the need to have Triceps as my sparring partner when securing agreements.’

‘In a short amount of time we have made big steps. We were individuals with a goal. And now, one and a half years later, we are truly a team. We chase our common SecureLink goals. We trust each other a lot more, and it shows. We have more respect and appreciation for each other’s authority. Such positive dynamics are immensely important! However, we still aim for a score of 8 or 9. Therefore I am going to initiate a follow-up session. To achieve this grade, you also have to keep track of market developments, you have to develop your professional expertise, and you have to check people’s profiles: are we future fit?’

'Positive dynamics are of the highest importance!'

In the Triceps High Performing Team programme we have been working successfully with ‘fitches’ for the last ten years: a psychological system that classifies behaviour. With these fitches we measure the current effective and ineffective behaviour and the desired behaviour. We also validate these behavioural analyses to job profiles. Fitch is being used in both individual and team sessions as well as in organisational culture programmes.

The model was developed in 1985 by the Universities of Utrecht and Twente and is based on Big-5, Belbin team roles, MBTI, Insights, DISC, Real-/Management Drives.

Text: Brief van de Koning

On behalf of the entire Triceps team, we would like to thank: Jan Michielsen, Rob Boerboom, Mark Jenster at SecureLink Netherlands, Joyce Bastiaans at Secure Design and Lidy Lathouwers at Brief van de Koning, for their inspiring words.