Two boards, discovering new opportunities.
Managing boards of two different companies seldomly meet. It is even more rare two complete boards meet for half a day to exchange and discuss their issues and challenges. But when they do, it can be hugely rewarding. This is what Business Dialogues are all about.
Explore new opportunities, together
Meet another full board, and discover how much you have in common
Meet for four hours and learn how much problems you can solve together
Discover new opportunities together, in sustainability, innovation, business.
Our experience after 80+ dialogues
Been Management Consulting's Leen Zevenbergen has performed more than 80 dialogues in this past decade. In this video, he explains what exactly a business dialogue is. And what it's like for board members to participate.
Herna Verhagen, CEO of PostNL: “When two boards meet they have lots in common, which has much added value. When you combine and connect your challenges, you can create new opportunities together.”
Ad Rutten, former COO of Schiphol: "The business dialogues gives boards time to really think about a problem. This gives so much energy and positive spirit to solve problems together."
The SDGs for Business Dialogues
If exploring opportunities that benefit two companies is hugely rewarding, think about what happens when business opportunities benefit all stakeholders. When we facilitate a Business Dialogue, we ensure this is on the board members' minds too. The UN Sustainable Development Goals provide a clear compass in these discussions.
What board members say
Herna Verhagen, CEO of PostNL
“When two boards meet they have lots in common. When you combine and connect your challenges, you can create new opportunities together.”
Ad Rutten, former COO of Schiphol
"The business dialogues gives boards time to really think about a problem. This gives so much energy and positive spirit to solve problems together."
How the Business Dialogue Works
Set the date
Business Dialogues take place between two complete boards, at least five persons each. The first step is to set the date of the dialogue. A challenge on its own, given the priorities and commitments of each board member.
Understand each member’s position
The dialogue addresses a strategic challenge, for example innovation, sustainability, or globalization. After the date and place of the business dialogue is set, we interview all participants individually. We address the topic of the dialogue on a very personal level. What are your worries? In what sense does the topic motivate or inspire you – or maybe not at all? What opportunities do you see? The content is written down and shared with the board member.
It’s important for the inviting board to learn about the guest board and their issues before entering the Business Dialogue. We organize a short pre-meeting to prepare the inviting board for their guests. This ensures the half-day meeting of the Business Dialogue has the highest possible result.
The Business Dialogue
The set-up of the meeting room for the Business Dialogue is essential for what is to take place. In the first hour of the meeting, the inviting board steps into the shoes of the guest board. Discussing the guest board’s issues, as presented in the interviews. The guest board can watch and listen but is not allowed to comment.
The next hour, the roles are reversed. The guest board discusses their issues and the inviting board watches and listens. Again, they’re not allowed to comment.
After a short break, during which the two boards can interact with each other, the two boards join at the same table. They share what they’ve observed in these first two hours. What impressed them? What surprised them?
The final is spent looking at joint business opportunities. Since these opportunities are addressing important and urgent issues at the highest possible level, quite often these joint projects start extremely fast.