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Bank Van Breda: Employees in charge!

Employees in charge at Bank van Breda


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The Context

Bank Van Breda stands as a specialized financial institution, unwaveringly dedicated to catering to the unique needs of liberal professionals and entrepreneurs, encompassing both personal and professional facets across their entire lifespans. They’ve released a wonderful book discussing how they are building on the foundations of the ideal workplace titled ‘Employees in charge.’ (translated in English). Nick Van Langendonck had the privilege of contributing to a small yet crucial part of their incredible story. Here’s how the case is described in the book.

The Challenge

When two Flemish regional managers switched positions quickly, Bank of Breda chose not to fill their roles. Instead, Vic Pourbaix – Head of the Banking Network and Executive Committee Member – and his team removed the intermediate layer between district managers and the executive committee. From then on, district managers collectively handled their regions as a self-managing team. Nick was there to support them throughout the transition.


The impact

Vic Pourbaix has transitioned from a direct manager role to a servant leader. We have established a culture of self-management, where discussions and decisions are autonomously handled by the team, with the understanding that his guidance is available when needed — a relationship built on mutual trust.

The shift has fostered increased direct communication among regional team leaders. This has significantly improved transparency, reducing information loss and minimizing interpretations. We now receive information in a 100% transparent manner.

This change has also diminished office politics. Our meetings are now more focused and efficient, centering on concrete questions and problems. The solutions generated garner stronger buy-in, resulting in better outcomes.

The journey towards self-managing teams has also sparked accelerated personal growth. Taking responsibility for finding solutions has transformed us into more capable professionals, akin to the dynamics of a family where too much coddling hinders learning. The increased responsibility has infused a fresh, dynamic energy into our work.

Lastly, we’ve transitioned from a single district manager reporting everything to the management team to a shared responsibility model. Each district manager now oversees specific aspects according to their interest and expertise, fostering collaboration across districts.

“Even three years following the completion of the exceptionally well-executed process under the guidance of Nick Van Langendonck, all parties involved continue to express profound satisfaction with both the procedural aspects and the results.” Vic Pourbaix, member of the executive committee Bank Van Breda

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