PMI Denmark Chapter

PMI Denmark Chapter

Winning Project Teams

PMI Event on 26th October 2016

Speaker Erik Hiep, The Next Level.

Written by Patryk Fraczyk

For PMI Denmark, 26th October 2016 was the evening belonging to Erik Hiep. This energizing and charismatic management consultant shared his perspective on how to enable winning project teams. By doing so, Erik engaged all the participants in numerous challenging discussions and focused on usually overlooked area of project management- the human aspect.

The event took place in Kulturhuset Islands Brygge, Copenhagen and hosted around 30 participants.

Erik is the founder and managing director of The Next Level- a consultancy based in the Netherlands. Erik has extensive consulting experience with international management teams and boards.

He has worked on a wide variety of Change Management assignments in more than 26 countries Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Americas. He is also an Associate Professor at the IE Business School in Madrid.

Q4 2016 EventErikHiep1The main message from Erik was that having a highly engaged workforce that is empowered, energetic, committed and driven, is, as a result, more creative, client-centric and focused on delivering stronger results for the company.

Central to this is organizational culture. As Warren Buffet- a multibillionaire American investor – said once ``Culture eats strategy for breakfast.``, meaning that the organization’s culture can decide upon or play an important role in implementing its strategy.

That is how Eric describes winning culture:

"You know that you can't force people to trust you. Leaders like yourself are focused on achieving results, success and business wins. You do that by making non-stop decisions on people, strategies, clients and resources. But successful leaders also need to be visionaries, telling stories and convincing others. You can only influence others if you listen first. When employees see these qualities in their leader, they are much more likely to give confidence & respond in a positive way. Trust is more critical than it has ever been. Trust produces speed & results. And results inspire and fire up a winning culture." (

Q4 2016 EventErikHiep3It seems that winning teams create winning companies. In order to enable that, according to Erik, we should focus on individuals first. That is indicated below.

Among many traits, strong people are based on passion and self-trust, i.e. self-confidence. A strong team in turn, on trust. The central aspects of a strong organization are its vision, mission, values and strategy. Then, strong client relationship can depend on reputation. Finally, if all the elements of this model fit well, that brings us to strong results.

It is evident that trust is central to the above model. Subsequently, Erik discussed two types of contrasting environments:Q4 2016 EventErikHiep4

  • Low trust environments, and

  • High trust environments.

Low trust environments are characterized by being slow, expensive, demotivating and ineffective. High trust environments in contrast, entail high pace, energy, creativity, effectiveness and therefore reduced costs. The participants also discussed the level of trust in their organizations. We found out that we were split roughly half-half with a slightly higher number of participants perceiving their organizations as low trust environments.

To conclude, we would like to thank Erik again for his interactive session. His talk brought more light into the human aspects of project management that is largely underestimated. However, we can gladly see that this is slowly changing, also within each new PMBOK edition.

Last but not least, as Erik puts it, "A great deal of both human and business potential is still unexploited and unlocked" ( We wish him success in "unleashing that limitless potential".


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