Valcon’s Group Managing Partner, Geert van den Goor, reflects positively on the company’s first full year as an integrated group in which the company has achieved great things through the collaboration between countries and capabilities. The interview also touches upon the company’s plans for 2023, how the company aims to double its size in the next few years and its vision of being a benchmark in Europe. Get ready for an exciting year ahead as Valcon continues to create unparalleled value for its clients.
Q: How did the first full year of being Valcon go?
A: I look back very positively on 2022 which was the first year of the Valcon Group after joining forces between First Consulting, ViqtorDavis, P2, Valcon Nordics and Typeqast. As Valcon, we have achieved great things, one of the most important being the collaboration between the different countries and capabilities. The combination of technology, data and consulting is increasingly taking shape, allowing us to create more value for our clients. Despite being one Valcon, there is room for national diversity. Each country and company has its own history that must be embraced. This way, the different countries are reinforcing each other. For example, Valcon Nordics is very strong in operational strategy, while in the Netherlands, we have a lot of knowledge about processes and data. By leveraging each other’s strengths, we have enhanced our operational strategy in The Netherlands while on the other hand adding data and technology to our portfolio in the Nordics.
Q: Did this lead to any surprises?
A: I was positively surprised by everyone’s openness and willingness to work together across countries, capabilities, and industries. And this creates a lot of enthusiasm and energy. Additionally, our data side has seen enormous growth internationally, both in each of the countries as well as involving our nearshore capabilities from Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, and Romania.
I was surprised by the subtle cultural differences between all the countries, even though on the surface the countries are culturally relatively close. For example, I thought the Netherlands has a very no-nonsense and nonhierarchical attitude, but as it turns out, this is even more noticeable in Denmark where nobody is each other’s boss. In the United Kingdom, people are less direct and have ten synonyms for every word, each with a slightly different meaning. If you don’t understand this nuance, you completely miss the message.
Q: What will Valcon focus on in 2023?
A: A focus of 2023 is to make our capabilities available across all Valcon offices with the help of synergy partners; specific roles focused on bringing together and facilitating the exchange of knowledge and expertise across the countries. We will leverage our cross-country capabilities to continuously attract the best people and provide opportunities for foreign assignments.
Another important focus area is sustainability. We want to give this subject more attention by implementing sustainable measures at the client as well as reducing our own ecological footprint. We do this drawing upon the experience we already have within Valcon, especially in the Nordics.
Furthermore, we continue to develop our data knowledge and expertise in all areas and put extra emphasis on data science and data migration. We also want to expand our technology branch through autonomous growth and by adding new capabilities.
Q: Valcon has grown a lot in recent times, will we continue to grow like this in the coming period?
A: For me, growth is not a goal in itself: qualitative growth is more important than numerical growth. Nevertheless, we directionally want to double Valcon’s size in the next years. Looking at the figures, we have about 20% autonomous growth, people we hire ourselves. On the other hand, we talk to many other parties to see if there is a fit and if we want to join forces. But we are very cautious here, we only want to join forces with companies that are a good (cultural) fit with us. In the last years, we have spoken to more than 100 companies, of which we have combined forces with five. This shows that the bar is high.
Q: What is important during such a merger?
A: One of the most important aspects is the company culture. There needs to be a good fit between the other party and us, also looking at services, quality of the company and the people. Furthermore, we look for a company that works for blue-chip clients. In addition, there must also be a geographical match, the focus is now on Europe. And we look for companies that are doing well, we don’t want any ‘fixer-uppers’. In 2025, we want to be a benchmark in Europe!
Q: You mentioned the company culture, how would you describe that?
A: Our company culture is based on our core values. For many companies, it is either a marketing tool or an aspiration, but for us, it is a very powerful description of who we are. They are the guidelines for our conversations with other companies as well. We are a people business and want to have the ‘happiest community of consultants’. That means a combination of belonging, development, and well-being for all our colleagues.
Q: In an earlier interview, you once referred to a quote from the former Formula 1 driver Mario Andretti: “If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough”. Is this still true?
A: I still think it’s a nice quote, despite my broken ankle from going a little too fast skiing. When you translate this quote to Valcon, the most important thing is that we are venturous and innovative. You can talk endlessly about the internal organisation, but in the end, we are all doers and want to add value for our clients.
Q: Finally, do you have a nice wish for Valcon and its employees for 2023?
A: The most important thing for me is that we, as Valconeers, have fun doing the work we do and thereby add value to our clients. That is the core: if you enjoy your work, the rest will follow. In 2023, I wish us lots of fun with many new joiners and all our clients!
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