Are you ready for the future? [Part 02 of 03]

(This is article #2 from our short series, in which we look at what’s needed in order to be ánd stay successful in ever-changing times. Click here for #1 and keep an eye on our socials for #3 if you want be ready for the future!)

Do you understand that the water is rising, and that you’ll have to start swimming? Or else you’ll sink and drown? But how do you do that?

In order to provide a good answer to those questions, it’s important to realize that the process is pretty much the same for organizations and individuals. When dealing with changing times, it same principle applies to both organizations and individual professionals. If you can’t compete, or be ahead even, you’ll be overtaken by the competition.

To make matters worse is that you, most likely, have no idea who or what that competition is. It may not even exist yet. How do you think that the examples below have thought of their competitors, a few years before they were confronted with them?

Were they ready for the future?

The success of physical news papers lags behind news websites.

The success of hotels lags behind organizations such as Airbnb.

The success of traditional public transportation or taxis versus the success of Uber.

Et cetera, et cetera.

These may be stereotypical examples, by now, of innovation and disruption in traditional industries. It seems that those industries weren’t as steady as was forecasted.

The same applies for individual professionals.

Who was ready for the future?
Were the newspapers ready for disruption?

When individual professionals can combine different kinds of skills (i.e. hard skills combined with soft skills), they will become much more successful than their individual competitor who’s only mono-skilled. (Which is why a technical ánd commercial consultant is rare!)

However, both the organization and the individual will still show some flexibility in their ever-changing environments. That flexibility can be seen in the actual activities they undertake as well as in the way they undertake those.

Their attitude will have to change, as well as their behavior. An attitude of innovation, flexibility, and adaption will have to arise, combined with the meta-skill to put that attitude and mindset into practice. The behavior that will come with that, is dependent of specific situations those organizations and individuals will find themselves in.

Beware: With a high degree of certainty we can state that it will remain essentially important to work effectively with people.

Do you want to be successful, now and in the future?

It will be of added value to you to learn how people work, and how to get people to working together to a higher cause. Whether you are a CEO, a manager, a sales person, or a team member – as long you work with people, you’ll have to work wíth people.

Vision Forward supports people and organizations in these developments. In fact, the irrationality of mankind is the foundation of everything we do in our training sessions and developmental projects. We know that this is an essential part of ‘getting free’ of non-conscious beliefs that limit you, and the transition to conscious and constructive beliefs that will get you ready for your success in the future.

Get in touch with us, and we’ll talk about the future of your organization and the people who work in it. Now and in the future.

Written by Stephan Annema

Subscribe to the YouTube channel of our CEO Martijn Schaap, when you want to know more about goal-setting, achieving success, and what it takes to be an entrepreneur.

Are you ready for the future? [Part 01 of 03]

If one thing became clear in 2020, is that anything can change. Over night.

Who would have guessed that some weird virus in China, emerging in November of 2019, would have such an impact on the market, health care, and the liberties of citizens around the world? One of its consequences is that we are confronted, rather harshly, with the fact that anything can change. Additionally, if you are not flexible in changing with the circumstances, you will be left behind. So the question emerges: Are you ready for the future?

(This is article #01 in a short series that will look at what’s needed to become and stay successful in ever-changing times. Follow our LinkedIn page here for #02 en #03!)

The stories of entrepreneurs in the hotel and catering industry, who have had to alter their entire business plan last year from offline experience to online delivery are known.

Additionally, the stories about white collar companies who no longer flock to office buildings during working hours, but who work from home whilst operating their Zoom or Microsoft Teams calls are also very familiar by now.

Let’s not forget the healthcare workers, who have been working non-stop since the outbreak. They have been taking care of the sick and needy, and are doing an amazing job.

In short: The impact is clear to all, and the above-mentioned examples don’t come close in showing the full picture. Everybody has their Covid-stories, with family, friends, and with professional relationships.

However, one thing is very clear: Everybody has had to adapt to this new, and in the beginning unknown, situation.

It's time for change and adapting to be ready for the future.

It’s really too bad that a dangerous situation, such as Covid-19, was needed to cause this.

What else will change?

Technology continues to change. That much is clear. The emergence of new technology, more effective way of automating, and the evolution of artificial intelligence are going to disrupt entire industries. And that is just the tip of the ice berg. The exponential change, inserted by disruptive technology, will impact all aspects of human life.

Obviously, plenty has been written about that. Just Google search terms that have to do with the effects and consequences of new technologies, automation, or A.I., and it will become very obvious right away.

But let’s not forget that in the short- and mid term, there will be consequences for organizations and the people that work in those organizations. A lot of jobs will change, due to the new tech that we’ll be working with.

Accountants becoming obsolete is a rumor that has been going around for a while. Much of their jobs will be taken over by effective automation and AI. Where should these accountants go?

What about the factories? What jobs will remain exactly the same, if the machines can operate more and more autonomously? Even more so: If those machines can recognize mistakes earlier, and undertake the appropriate and automized acties to correct those mistakes?

Are the factories ready for the future?

Keep your sights on Elon Musk, too, who is ahead of the curve with his companies. Especially when it concerns self-driving cars and trucks. What will that mean for the logistical and transport industry, or the cab drivers who color New York yellow?

The prospect is that many jobs as we know them now, will change or disappear. Easy as that.

The times they are a-changin’

In fact, the entire Covid-19 situation, and the ever-changing circumstances, continually remind me of the famous Bob Dylan song The Times They Are A-Changin’Especially the first verse:

Come gather ’round, people / Wherever you roam / And admit that the waters / Around you have grown / And accept it that soon / You’ll be drenched to the bone / If your time to you is worth savin’ / And you better start swimmin’ / Or you’ll sink like a stone / For the times they are a-changin’

Simply said: The water is rising, and you’ll just have to accept that it will impact you. But: If you think it’s important to keep on keeping on, you better start swimming. Or you’ll sink. The water is coming – how will you handle it?

This song was released in 1964. The only constant is change..?

And now what?

How long it will take for those job to change, is unclear and dependent on many factors, such as technological progress and the needs of the markets. In these articles, I will not be answering that question.

What I can tell you, however, is that there will always be a very important role for businesses and professionals. The way you will or won’t be a part of that, depends on your mind set regarding these developments. And how ready for the future you are.

That is what this series of articles will be about.

Vision Forward supports people and organizations in these developments. In fact, the irrationality of mankind is the foundation of everything we do in our training sessions and developmental projects. We know that this is an essential part of ‘getting free’ of non-conscious beliefs that limit you, and the transition to conscious and constructive beliefs that will get you ready for your success in the future.

Get in touch with us, and we’ll talk about the future of your organization and the people who work in it. Now and in the future.

This was article #01. Follow our LinkedIn page to be informed when #02 and #03 are published!

Written by Stephan Annema

Subscribe to the YouTube channel of our CEO Martijn Schaap, when you want to know more about goal-setting, achieving success, and what it takes to be an entrepreneur.

Aligned Goals: Success for everybody!

De compounding effect of aligned goals

From our Vision Forward stand point, we discuss the value of setting the right goals regularly. Especially at the start of a new year, like right now. Goals that are taken a step further than the (bi-)annual goals, and truly give a magnificent vision for an amazing future. The benefit of setting goals like this, is that your brain can apply itself maximally on such goals. However, there is a disadvantage. Such goals can be terrifying in magnitude or ambition. Which is exactly why it’s important to get others involved! But how do you do that? By ensuring that all goals are aligned with each other.

What are aligned goals?

Aligned goals – what does that mean? Well, when your goals and the goals of someone else are aligned with each other, it has a compounding effect. Which can present itself in many forms. An example:

Imagine you’re a new business account manager. Together with your team, you’ve been presented with a team target. Obviously, you have been given your own targets. So far, so good. This is not exceptional. When everybody reaches their own, individual targets, it usually means that the team target is also realized. Oftentimes, the realization of the team target comes with monetary bonus, which is nice.

However! A (purely monetary) bonus doesn’t work as motivating for most as people think. Anybody who has read Drive by Daniel Pink, knows this by now. The logical question becomes then, well, what does work? Get in touch with Vision Forward, and we’ll look at it together!

Extrinsic motivation does not motivate

Let’s say you’re the same new business account manager as from the example above. However, this time, you find yourself talking to your Sales Director, who looks beyond the traditional bonus set up of the department. He starts to ask you questions, and makes you think about what you really want. What your goals are. “Wow,” you think, “nobody has ever asked me that!” You tell him that in 5 years, you want to become a Sales Director yourself. A worthy goal!

Your Sales Director goes deeper: “What is it that attracts you to that role? What will you get out of it, personally ánd professionally? What is the impact you’ll have on your team? Your other colleagues? Your organization? Your clients and customers?”

Where do you want to be in 5 years?

He really puts your brain to work and lets you think about what that role contains, and what you can get out of it. You agree on a goal: If you perform 10% above your individual target, each quarter, you will be presented with structural training and development to enable you to reach your goal, and to prepare you for the role of Sales Director in 5 years. Within the organization, or beyond it.

Herein lies the power of aligned Goals: When you set a Goal for yourself, and others connect to that, it results in a compounding effect. The one strengthens the other. 1+1=3. The benefit is, obviously, that the organization has an energetic, proactive, motivated and happy employee who will do anything to perform above target. With all the short- and long term benefits that come with that. But: You’ll have to invest in his/her future as well.

Working to Goals together, by individually working towards personal goals, works amplifying. Look towards the long term to figure out and describe the best Goals for everybody.

Aligned Goals: 1+1 = 3

Another great example: A project coordinator for a construction company, 55 years of age, has indicated to his manager that he would like to retire soon. Preferably a few years before reaching the usual retiring date, set by the collective labor agreement.

How do you effectively deal with this? You do not want this colleague to become unmotivated, or working with clients and projects in an indifferent manner. The CEO of this organization found a great solution: He agreed to an earlier retirement for this colleague, but not before he asked him what the financial consequences were going to be for this colleague, should he retire before the official date.

It makes sense that the monthly income, whilst retired, would become less if the colleague would retire early. Yes, that was going to be a challenge, and present the employee with a less-than-desirable situation. So what did the CEO suggest? Yes – the employee would be allowed to retire early. And yes, that would have negative financial consequences for him personally, regarding his income. Obviously, it would also entail some negative consequences for the organization: A replacement employee has to be found, hired and onboarded. So: A compromise!

To ensure that this employee would remain motivated to be as enthusiastic, customer friendly, and qualitative as before, the CEO suggested to supplement the retirement account of the employee. However, not for nothing. This colleague would receive a percentage of every new account or project that he would reel in, from that point forward. And that percentage would be deposited straight to his retirement account.

What effects did this cause? Well, that employee has gone to extreme lengths to seize every opportunity that would bring projects, new accounts, and new projects into the organization. And it worked. In those last few years, he has worked so hard that it not only ensured praise from his co-workers, but it also ensured that his retirement account was supplemented. When he retires, he will be financially very stable.

Of course, it was beneficial to the organization as well. New projects and accounts came in, who otherwise may not have been signed. New clients, new projects. 1+1=3.

What can you learn from these examples?

It doesn’t matter if you’re an Executive, a manager, or an employee. Think about what YOU want, and how can you aligned others to your goals. Ask about the goals of the people in your vicinity. Yes, both personal ánd professional goals. Then – get to work and create situations when 1+1 becomes 3. It will require an investment of time and energy, but you’ll see some extreme fantastic results.

Need support? Feel free to get in touch with Vision Forward, or click here to send us an e-mail. We’ll help you and your team. We love to do it, and luckily, we’re good at it.

Written by: Stephan Annema

Interested in practical videos on sales, leadership, being an entrepreneur and accelerating your success? Click on the link to subscribe to the YouTube channel of our CEO, Martijn Schaap.

Follow the YouTube channel of Vision Forward CEO Martijn Schaap 

New Year: New Goals?


The new year has started – it’s now 2021! If one thing became abundantly clear in 2020, is that the world keeps changing. How has the ever changing environment had an impact on the goals you’ve set for yourself? And what are your new goals for 2021?

Obviously, Corona wasn’t the only thing that affected your 2020. No doubt, other factors have played their parts in your success last year. The people you’ve worked with, or those you’ve decided no longer to work with, have been of influence. New clients, old clients, or new partners.

But how are you going to direct this year, knowing that anything can change at any given moment?

In November of 2019, the first reports came about a virus in China, called Covid-19. Who could have known what its global impact would be? Unfortunately, in March, the rest of the world knew that it would be affected.

So – How are you going to tackle that in 2021?

Do you have new goals for 2021?

Have you set your Goals, and will you do whatever it takes to realize those goals?

Or will you be a little flexible, regarding those goals? As in: Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the starts? (It’s a cliché, we know..!)

We’d like to propose have a few kinds of goals. Three kinds, specifically.

#1: Long term Goal

How you do you envision the world in a couple of years? Say, 5 to 7 years? And how can you make a tangible impact on that?

The type of Goal we propose people set, in our trainings, is a real long term goal. A big, hairy, audacious Goal, where co-workers and colleagues will be inspired by because it motivates them to contribute to something larger than themselves.

However: Specify. Make it tangible. It should be able to be measured, which allows it to be realized. Do you have this kind of Goal yet? If not, start with some long term Goal setting.

A favorite example is Elon Musk: We’re going to Mars.

Goal of SpaceX is going to Mars!

#2: Short term Goals (a.k.a. Objectives)

Of course, after setting the long term Goals, we still have to do things on a day to day basis.

Which is why it’s important to set (two)yearly goals, which we will call objectives. Obviously, these has to be specified as well, just like the long term Goals. Again: If you can measure it, you can realize it.

It should make sense to you that the Objectives are an essential part of the long term Goal, because it should contribute to its realization.

So, if you want to go to Mars, the right tech, the right rockets, and the right funding must be realized. These are just examples of having the right Objectives to help realize the long term Goal.

What are your long term new goals?

The above mentioned Goals and Objectives should make sense to you. These are the most obvious.

Whoever has set their mind to setting Goals, will come across these kinds. Naturally.

However, since this is Vision Forward, and we have our unique methodology, we know that the two kinds of Goals mentioned above, are useless. At least, when you’re not paying attention to the third kind, which we dubbed Goals of Beliefs.

#3: Goals of Beliefs

So what’s this?

As you might know, our non-conscious beliefs are essential to the success we aim to. For your old goals and your new goals. As long are you do not non-consciously believe in the value of something, you won’t take action on it.

It’s simple, but definitely not easy.

Which is why we recommend Goals of Beliefs.

What are your non-conscious beliefs, and will you see as ‘undeniable truth’? Fix some of those, so it can become a continual constructive belief.

For instance, do you non-consciously believe that ‘goal setting does not work’? Teach yourself to adjust that belief daily to ‘a set Goal directs my activities, which accelerates my success’.

Do you have the non-conscious belief that ‘you have learned everything you need to’? Teach yourself that ‘learning means developing, which allows you to be flexible and capable’. You will be better capable to adapt when your environment asks for it.

Got doubts about your knowledge, skills, and competencies? These are non-conscious beliefs too. Teach yourself that you ‘are good enough, and that you are of added value to everybody’.

The daily repetition of a new belief is a constructive step forward, just as reflecting on positive experiences that prove those new beliefs is.

For Goals of Beliefs goes: Make sure it contributes to your Long Term Goal and the accompanying objectives!

We are curious to your new Goals, Objectives, and Goals of Beliefs for the coming year. Let us know!

Need any help setting goals, on a personal or a professional level? Get in touch with us!


Written by Stephan Annema

Follow Martijn Schaap’s YouTube channel! He is the Vision Forward CEO, and on his channel, teaches about setting Goals, realizing your successes, and being an entrepreneur.

The Next Best Leader

Leadership Development for Middle ManagersL

What is a great indicator for the success of your company or organization? According to the Wall Street Journal, it’s the ability of your middle managers to inspire the people in their teams. Leadership development and execution, not just by the CEO, but by everybody who leads a team.

The study that triggered the WSJ article, is done by Gallup, on the future of work. “Five years ago, the Gallup organization embarked on one of the most ambitious deep dives it has ever conducted; an analysis of the future of work based on a decade of input from nearly 2 million employees and more than 300,000 business units. The results confirmed something Gallup had seen before: a company’s productivity depends, to a high degree, on the quality of its managers.”

leadership mm visionforward 8 | Vision Forward International

What else did that study show? First of all, it showed that managers didn’t just influence the results their teams achieved. Due to that influence, it even explained 70% of the results. In other words, if you want your company to be full of excellent teams, getting the right manager is 70% of the battle.

Mentorphile commented on the article by the WSJ and the Gallup study. He stated: “What sort of return can businesses expect from doing this? According to Gallup, the top 10% of companies, ranked by engagement, posted profit gains of 26% through the last recession compared with a 14% skid at comparable employers.”

As a result of better leaders, teams perform better

Want to get the leadership of your middle managers to the next level? And consequently allowing your teams to exceed their own expectations and results? We have a program just for that.

#leadership #development #training #subconscious #nerdsofhumandevelopment #success #middlemanagers

Stop tracking and start inspiring

Improving results by improving leadership

“Are your performance evaluations improving your organizational culture? Do you think evaluation systems really engage people, make them feel heard and help them to grow? Because an overwhelming number of companies review their people infrequently, and in a way that is not engaging or effective. Yet, engaging employees is crucial. Especially with today’s multi-generational, technology driven and app savvy workforce.” writes Stuart Levine. Are you improving your results by improving your leadership?

But what are you doing to engage your employees? To inspire them? How are you supporting their professional growth? What effects does that have on the experience of the customer? Above all, if you don’t take care of your employees, they won’t take care of your customers.

inspire leadership visionforward 10 | Vision Forward International

Do you need help in setting goals for yourself and company? Or do you want to get out of the subconscious patterns that are keeping you where you currently are? Let’s get in touch. Because we know that you can be a great leader. One who can inspire instead of track and punish.

#success #leadership #nerdsofhumandevelopment #subconscious #visionforward

A Essential Lesson On Leadership

Learning from ancient emperors to become a better leader

Marcus Aurelius held the most powerful position in the world. The adage that power in absolute absolutely corrupts has been repeated throughout history for a reason. It unfortunately tends to be true. But as the famous historian Edward Gibbon wrote, under Marcus, the last of the ‘Five Good Emperors,’ “the Roman Empire was governed by absolute power, under the guidance of wisdom and virtue.” Do you want to become a better leader?

marcus leader visionforward 12 | Vision Forward International

The Daily Stoic writes about the 12 lessons on leadership from Marcus Aurelius. For the entire article, click here. In this post, we focus on 1 essential trait of leadership:


93% of the time, we are ‘unconscious’. Which means that we let our auto-pilot take over. It means that we tend to get stuck in our subconscious patterns. When we are conscious, it takes real effort and sweat. Because that’s just how our brains work.

In a meritocracy, which is a culture that works in favor of the best ideas, you sometimes have to change your opinions or ideas about what works best. But if you’re a capable leader, you’ll do that. However, it comes at a cost. Because you’ll have to put your own ego aside.

Are you ready to become a better leader?

“Remember, if there is one core teaching at the heart of this philosophy, it’s that we’re not as smart and as wise as we’d like to think we are. If we ever do want to become wise, it comes from the questioning and from humility—not, as many would like to think, from certainty, mistrust, and arrogance.”

#success #leadership #stoicism #subconscious #nerdsofhumandevelopment

5 Resolutions for Sales Leaders

Make the next 12 months successful

If you’re in sales, you have got a lot of things going on. Following up on leads, calling prospects, managing customer experience. Depending on the size of your organization, you’re also setting meetings, creating proposals, and checking up on delivery. We all know it’s a lot. So what should sales leaders focus on?

Imagine you manage a group of sales executives. You’ve got all of the above ánd checking up on your people to make sure they’re on target. Meetings with the people ‘above’ you, meetings with the people ‘below’ you, and meetings with all other stakeholders.

Because you’re all so busy with the day to day operational side of the job, it’s easy to get stuck in that. You’ll keep on managing dissatisfiers, and you’re focus won’t be providing extra value or differentiating from your competitors.

Aside from the operational dealings, which have to happen, what should you focus on? It doesn’t matter if you’re an account manager, sales executive, or sales manager. We mention 5 resolutions that will enable any forward-thinking sales leader to hit target easier than before.

focus sales visionforward 14 | Vision Forward International

Have strategic conversations with your clients. Not just tactical conversations.

The world is changing daily. Technological innovations, new legislature, or key economic events. Mike Houghton says: “Understanding your customer’s mindset can help you have a strategic conversation about or guide the conversation towards one focused on business outcomes. In fact, it’s useful to think of yourself as a consultant rather than a salesperson. When you start to think of it [your conversations with the customer] that way, talking about type, brand, feeds and speeds will often be irrelevant.”

Spend time daily developing your skills and mindset.

If you’re not on top of your game, you will lose to one (or several) of your competitors. As a result, it is important that you spend time daily to develop yourself. For instance: Develop your skills. Develop your mindset. Develop your knowledge.
If you’re a manager, enable your sales people to develop themselves. Provide training, books, and courses.

Focus on what you do best, not what everybody else is doing.

At Vision Forward, we know what we do best. We enable people and companies to be highly successful. That means we’re narrowing our focus to ensure that our resources are well spent on providing that value to our people, our clients, and their clients.

Help your customer act, not just react. Think proactively.

Mike Houghton states: “Addressing your customer’s desired business outcomes – whether those include reducing costs, increasing efficiency, or improving safety – means that a 30,000-foot approach to their environment.” That’s your only job as a sales person or consultant. So make sure that you enable your clients to reach their goals faster.

Look to the future – not the past.

If your focus on the things that happened in the past, you won’t be able to step forward into the future. It sounds cliché, but that is because it’s true. When you do the things you’ve always done in the past, you will not get different results in the future. It’s that simple.
That does mean, however, stepping out of your subconscious patterns.
Look out for the innovations that might change your business, or the businesses of your clients, and anticipate. Where are the opportunities? Where do possible risks lie? If you’re providing value to your clients based on what you know and they don’t, you’re one up.

#success #sales #nerdsofhumandevelopment #salestraining #deveopment #subconscious

Click here for the Mike Houghton article on Forbes.