Dare to Turn Your Life Around
Who are the people behind Accenture? What drives Hester Prins and inspires her on a daily basis? How has William de Waard's life, career, ambitions and dreams developed over the years? What difficult choices has Youri de Koster made in his life? Through a series of portraits, we answer these questions and introduce you to our people: those who make Accenture the thriving company that it is.
Introducing Maurice van Eck, Managing Director Energy at Accenture Netherlands.
‘Experiencing new things gives me energy. Change is a constant factor in my life. That may sound strange coming from someone who’s been working for the same organization for almost twenty years, but in all that time, I’ve never been in the same position for long. After starting out as a business analyst, I moved up fast. I was the youngest managing director at Accenture and became a partner after only nine years. If you’re continuously able to do something different, your work remains interesting and exciting.
‘Follow Your Heart’
I’ve always gone looking for change, even as a kid. I get bored quite fast! What I like best is a job that requires turning everything upside down, such as a drastic restructuring – or a project where I can make something out of nothing, such as setting up a new business. I want to create, not mind the store. As soon as a project or team is up and running, I move on to the next challenge. I still enjoy the dynamics of this tremendously.
"What I like best is a job that requires turning everything upside down, such as a drastic restructuring."
I once said in an interview, “You must follow your heart. If I ever get into my car in the morning and think, ‘Ugh, another forty years in this traffic jam’, I won’t be in that job for much longer.” And I still feel that way. If your work no longer gives you energy, you have to dare to turn your life around. Make drastic changes “on the fly” as it were, and readjust your focus. I firmly believe in this.
Our Own Villa Villekulla
I recently also took an unexpected turn in my private life by entering into a new relationship. I myself have four children from a previous partner, and my girlfriend has three. So we now have a new family together of seven children – the youngest is four, the eldest twelve. Such a drastic change in your life also brings a great deal of new energy with it. In our very own “Villa Villekulla”, there’s a nice kind of constant chaos. The children are alternately with us and with their other parents. When it’s my turn to look after the kids, I put everything aside. I rearrange my schedule in such a way that I can be with the children a lot, and am then mainly a dad for sometimes up to four days in a row.
High Energy level
Fortunately, this isn’t a problem at Accenture. We have an output culture: it’s not your presence that counts, but the results you produce. You can arrange your life the way you want, as long as you stick to your agreements. This culture fits in nicely with the way I live my life. For me, work and life merge completely, and I quickly switch from the one to the other. After a few days with the children, my work will absorb me completely again – and the other way round. I also give my team every opportunity to schedule their private and professional lives flexibly. We make firm agreements on efforts and results, but within that framework, people are free to make their own choices. However, I do expect them to have a high level of energy, and no nine-to-five mentality. If you expect flexibility when you need it from the organization you work for, you yourself must also be flexible whenever that organization needs you.
Ratio Versus Intuition
Having an open mindset is also important to me. Within Accenture, I work with people from across the world, including China, India, Manila, the US, and the United Kingdom. To work well together with so many different cultures, you really have to open up to each other. Only then do you learn to understand each other, and create the click you need to achieve mutual goals – and you will get even better results by having a diverse team. For me, diversity is much more than just gender or nationality – it also extends to those who can complement each other in terms of roles and personality. Some people approach matters rationally and base their decisions on facts. Others are guided by their intuition, or establish connections within and outside the team in order to create support.
"To work well together with so many different cultures, you really have to open up to each other."
All these different perspectives result in better decision-making. I see Accenture as a multi-cultural talent factory. It’s not only tremendous fun to be part of this as a professional, it gives you new personal insights as well.
An Endless Bucket List
A few times a year, I go to Ibiza. Once I hit the dance floor in one of the island’s clubs, I can go on all night long. It’s great to let yourself get carried away dancing! Music by DJs such as Tiësto, Armin van Buuren, Avicii or David Guetta automatically puts me in a good mood – it makes me feel happy and energetic. Work hard, play hard: that’s my motto. I really enjoy my work, but there are also many other things I’d like to do or experience some day – I want to make the most of life. For instance, I’m crazy about traveling. I’ve already seen quite a few countries, but there’s so much more to discover. My bucket list is endless. I also want to do the “Elfstedentocht” (a famous 200km skating tour in the Netherlands), run a marathon, and climb a mountain. At the top of my list was a sailing trip with our seven children, which is what we did this summer. A wonderful adventure, which I can now cross off my list. On to the next life experience!’
Maurice van Eck (1973)
Studied: Economics at Groningen University
Started working at Accenture: 1996
Relationship status: Family of nine
Loves: Music and change
Gets annoyed by: A “can’t do” attitude
Favorite food: Cheese
On my nightstand: My iPhone
Listens to: Dance music
Last purchase: Four raised beds
Would like to sit next to in the plane: Ben van Beurden (CEO of Royal Dutch Shell)
Life-changing event: Starting a new family with my new partner and seven children
The best lesson life has taught me: Just because you’re right doesn’t mean that people will agree
The best advice I ever received: Follow your heart
Most beautiful place on earth: On a sailboat at sea
Hobbies/passions: Sailing, skiing, snowboarding, dancing
What nobody knows about me: I have a black belt in judo
Life motto: ‘Work hard, play hard’
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