By forming her own consulting firm, Dr. Anke Nienkerke-Springer first embraced her desire for change and independence two decades ago. Since then, through long-standing previous experience, as well as an inherent trust in her own abilities, she has successfully navigated both, an ever-changing marketplace and her own place within it.
“What is my focus? Where do I direct my attention?” When coached by Dr. Nienkerke-Springer, professionals from multinational corporations and medium-sized businesses can expect to be confronted with questions like these. For her, such reflections are an essential part of today’s fast-paced business world. Asked about her own answers, Dr. Nienkerke-Springer reveals a clear compass. “My values lend me orientation. Independence, appreciation, resilience and joy at work. I continuously try to find out whether I’m growing towards these values or whether we’re growing apart.”
Looking back at her career as a management consultant, Dr. Nienkerke-Springer can already detect roots of her profession in her childhood. Her grandfather played a very important role in her discovery of the power of communication. Despite losing his ability to hear at the age of ten, he would transport her to other worlds by his imaginative storytelling. “When conversing we needed to closely pay attention to each other and compassionately understand our communication from his point of view. This indispensable willingness to listen and understand shaped all of our lives.”
The experience sparked a fundamental and ongoing interest in human interaction. During her studies of educational sciences, psychology and speech science, this interest was matched by exploring the works of the pioneers of the system theory. The combination of the intuitive and the analytical merged into a way of thinking, which Dr. Nienkerke-Springer has sustained in both her ten-year management experience in the psychotherapeutic sector and her current work with clients. “In approaching a case, we focus on the solution and not on the problem. We look at existing resources and we consider strengths for future-oriented developments.”
Focusing on people
One of Dr. Nienkerke-Springer’s main professional passions is coaching. “Top management people are always in the centre. They’re in a constant, often stressful, interplay between their professional and private spaces and the needs of their organisation.” In her coaching, Nienkerke-Springer puts a clear focus on the human being. It is her desire to foster a situation where a person can understand his or her strengths and consequently evolve them towards the favoured goal. In that regard, humanity and appreciation are the real forces of productivity and innovation, that grow the people and the organisation in the long term.
In order to achieve this, she has designed the Executive Personal Brand Strategy (EPBS), a concept that helps professionals to discover their individual brand with a precise strategy. “Defining your personal brand enables a clear basis for a successful and sustainable career, as it facilitates your good reputation. By no means are we talking about self-staging. EPBS serves the systematic development of an Executive Brand and thereby a clear positioning.” Especially when changes happen, EPBS is aimed at making that transition as effective as possible.
Customised change processes
Indeed, successful coaching also enables changes in the first place. For Dr. Nienkerke-Springer, her two specialist fields constantly interact. Change too is about the people and individuals who are involved in it. Thus, an individual solution is needed. “Every transition from here to there is different. Therefore, our change architecture is always purpose-driven and adapted to the current situation”. Still there are parts of the procedure which stay the same. Information is gathered, hypotheses are prepared, interventions are set. After that a tailored master plan is created by taking into account both strategy and structure of the organisation at hand.
One of the most important aspects when approaching a change process is the mind-set of the involved parties. “It’s a hugely emotional process and it’s good to have resistance, because this means we have energy that can be used to support the change. The worst situation is one where people have become cynical and aren’t even participating anymore.”
As a consultant Dr. Nienkerke-Springer provides the framework for a successful change. Her rich treasure trove of experience enables her to view a problem from all angles and enable new impulses and insights into different ways of working. Whether big or small, a perfect change process must be dressed in a tailored suit.
When asked about her two decades in the business, Dr. Nienkerke-Springer laughs. “I didn’t really notice. Come to think of it, I suppose that one can maintain a long career by being truthful with oneself.”
Another great joy for her are long-term client relationships. “It’s incredible to see the measurable and tangible marks that you can leave in people’s lives. There is immense worth in a relationship with a client, that goes on even in periods where you don’t do any billed business.” No doubt, in a fast-paced, constantly developing economic and cultural environment, where change is inevitable and constantly around the corner, developing those types of sustainable relationships seems like the perfect way to go.