To make our company last
First and for all, because of the sustainability of Delaware Consulting. Already 12 years ago, when Luc Van Aelbroeck, Peter Oyserman and I conducted our management buyout, we had a dream we still cherish. It was to create a company that would last for more than 150 years. To realize this, we made some decisions regarding our structure and corporate governance.
We created a new partnership, leveraging on our experiences as partners of first Andersen and later Deloitte. We quickly realized that – in order to be able to retire as partners one day – we needed to ensure our own succession. To accomplish this, we had to foster and grow the next generation of leadership.
When you want to move your career forward at Delaware Consulting, you need to make yourself redundant in your current role. Why would this be different for our top management? As a consequence, our partnership agreement specifies a limit of 5 years for the roles of Managing Partner and Chairman of the Board, with a maximum extension of 1 year.
Delaware Consulting is, and must be built on individuals, not around individuals. Knowing your mandate ends at a specific and predefined date and wanting to still remain part of the organization afterwards, changes the way you behave and communicate. You are not tempted to get into a “divide et impera” (divide and conquer) attitude, trying to make yourself indispensable.
We also believe in a kind of organized chaos. Once everything runs smoothly, it may be valuable to create some change again. As a consequence, the organization and its people need to find their balance again and question things that had already been taken for granted. Inducing change from time to time helps us to strengthen our agility and keep on searching for optimization.