Klaas Ariaans

Klaas Ariaans

Klaas Ariaans:“I have increasingly come to see that there is a leader in every person, no matter how small or large. Colleagues who push through, sometimes under difficult circumstances, suprise and surpass their own expectations.”

Klaas Ariaans served as the director of Personal Banking, the branch organization of ABN AMRO, for more than 8 years. During that time, he led an impressive transformation.

The impact

- A 95% reduction in management. From 278 to 25 managers in a single day.
- Self-organizing work with a staff of 3,500 people.
- Development of 350 self-managing teams with high psychological safety.

And all of that, indeed, within a rather conventional organization: ABN Amro. Klaas is the first to acknowledge: it was a bumpy road. It went with trials and errors but with a clear goal in mind. Yet, the effect is impressive. The vast majority of employees never want to go back.

The research

Klaas had his change process researched by Vrije Universiteit. And he shared his experiences in a book: Momentum. He is also a guest lecturer at IMD in Lausanne, together with Professor Michael Wade.

The experience

Klaas Ariaans shares his experiences candidly and ‘with feet in the mud’: his experiences are very recognizable for leaders who want to make a change in their organization. Klaas provides ideas and the proof that you can achieve more than you may currently think.

Professor Michael Wade (IMD): “Cultural change is a key element for any transformation – if you don’t have the right mindset in place, the transformation will almost certainly fail. ABN Amro represents one of the most radical and impressive examples of cultural transformation I have seen.”