NAME: Jitske Kramer
COUNTRY: The Netherlands
BACKGROUND: University Cultural Anthropology
ACTION/SECTOR: Culture, Education and Services
POSITION: Owner, R&D, advisor, trainer, presenter on items as handling (cultural) differences in organisations, inclusion, deep democracy.
My Background and Career
I followed the pre-course for the Theatre-Arts Academy already when I was on high school. But because I was always fascinated to discover the ‘black box of the human being’, with all their differences, I've chosen to study Anthropology. In Uganda I experienced my first grass roots fieldwork, when studying the use of theatre techniques in informing the public in rural areas, with complicated issues as the privatizing of banks. Great practice! I am a global citizen, however wanted to build a firm base in one land: the Netherlands. My daughter and son are 13 and 12. Becoming a corporate trainer for 8 years with Boertien Training, was a logic step. I learned a lot of skills and techniques. But, when driving my lease car and wearing luxurious clothes for business meetings, I experienced harder cultural shocks, than in the rural areas of Uganda ;)). The work with international partners attracted me so much, that I decided to start for myself in 2006. My former employer gave me, as ‘dowry’, some guaranteed trainings. I had built up good contacts in professional networks and applied at speakers platforms such as: Professional Speakers Association. My 1st assignments took place in all directions in the Netherlands, me making kilometres and sitting in traffic jams…. Then I thought: Think Big: go also for Dubai, South Africa and so on! So I became a speaker on several (international) congresses. One client leads to the other and so my network and my business HumanDimensions grew
Now I am busy with a next step: I integrated my one person firm, Human Dimensions in the Academy for Corporate Culture. I intensively work together with Danielle Braun. We merged our portfolio’s and transfer our knowledge in courses to managers, advisors and trainers. They want to learn to really forming long term cultural changes, with respect to the differences of people and groups. Besides a more efficient way of getting better impact, this cooperation also gives us fun, energy and inspiration. Together we can deepen our expertise even further. By developing useful tools and visions, I became an expert. I improve these tools, on the basis of cultural anthropology and the insights of people as Richard Lewis, Fons Trompenaars, Leandro Herrero, Myrna Lewis. I followed the marketing advise of an American expert: ‘make sure people say: I see your name everywhere!’. So I blogged, became a speaker on different podia and wrote books. My first book translated in English is Managing Cultural Dynamics, it contains 10 years of my working and thinking about organizational culture and working with teams, inclusion and handling differences. I also bundled my sheets, pictures and stories in Wow! What a difference. My book Deep Democracy shows the wisdom of the minorities and how to treat and seduce them to being part of majority decisions. I wrote De Corporate Tribe , about organizational lessons from anthropology, together with Danielle Braun. And of course, plans are being made for new books….
I think it is a way of ‘old thinking’, wanting to let grow your business, by building a bureau with employers. That is not my way. I rather like to ‘meander’, finding streams, than building ‘straight’ structures. I certainly like to grow as an expert, focusing and finding new and better ways to clarify, discover and handling cultural differences. With as a dot on the horizon: having more impact on the global decision making units, of course by working together with other entrepreneurs and self-employed.
Hints & Tips
To build-up an expert status and remain and expert, I think you need to:
1. Give away a lot of materials and ideas, for instant in blogs, stories, videos, articles and books.
2. For growing, you also have to learn to say NO. That feels quite ‘shivery’. However it makes you focused, recognizable and gives the opportunity to strengthen your expertise.
3. You have to learn to ‘block’ time in your agenda for reflection, fun, networking and relaxing things.
4. You may upgrade your tariff. It sure must be comparable, with what your manly colleagues tend to ask. Girlpowerrr ;)
5. Look always for cooperation and attend the meetings of your professional networks