We are strengthening our leadership team with SPCT and SAFe Fellow Michael Stump, who will now oversee our operations as COO. Because innovative companies from all industries are increasingly using the Scaled Agile Framework, Gladwell Academy is seeing substantial growth in all domains, including operations. We had a conversation with Mr. Stump about how he intends to facilitate that growth with us.
Michael Stump, welcome. You will take over our operations on March 1, 2021, and at the same time act as ad interim manager DACH. What can we expect from you?
As COO at Gladwell Academy I’ll be managing the company’s operational business. I am responsible for the quality and competitiveness of our services. I will make sure we provide highly valuable services with impeccable delivery by our first-class people.
The role is great to combine my years of international experience in lean-agile leadership, market development, leadership, and people development with my consulting expertise in lean-agile and the scaled agile framework. I will make sure that we conduct our operational business with insight and foresight according to lean-agile values and principles.
What long-term goals do you have for shaping the future of the company?
The transformation consultancy Gladwell / BlinkLane is a powerhouse, known for delivering high added value to its customers. That is and remains our primary goal. We will strengthen our competencies across the organization and continue to develop reliable, smart, and high-value service packages. Due to our holistic consulting approach, we can react very flexibly to changing market and customer requests. We will continue to grow on this foundation.
I will also strive for the same change readiness and willingness we expect and support in our customers. We, too, have to exemplify resilience, perseverance, continuous learning, and improvement. I’m also going to work on running our company according to the latest lean-agile management and personnel development principles. It will be another important milestone in our success story and the basis for growth.
What made you join us?
I have known the company for a long time and have always admired the drive, holistic approach and customer focus.
We have the training, coaching, and education business, Gladwell Academy, which lays a strong foundation on which the consulting business, BlinkLane Consulting, is built. They work in tandem to offer the customer a high-quality, sustainable service along the entire value chain.
I also like the growth philosophy of the company. It is visible in many ways and offers me, together with a motivated team, the opportunity to expand the business and to bring in my experience and expertise.
We are growing fast. Laurens Bonnema and Marijt Weerts are just two of the seasoned agilists and trainers who recently joined our team. For the time being, you will also act as ad interim manager DACH. How do you rate the development of agility in the region?
DACH has much catching up to do, especially compared to Scandinavian countries, but we are closing the gap. As a Swiss native, I am of course a bit biased, but I clearly see positive signals.
In my strategic consulting work, I have advised many exemplary companies in the DACH region. These are companies that have already achieved incredible things in the area of agility. But it is not an excuse for them to be complacent. On the contrary, it is their incentive to keep moving.
The pandemic has clearly shown that agility is not a ‘nice-to-have’ but a must for modern organization. Willingness to change coupled with the ability to adapt to new conditions quickly is inevitable. And even if we can hopefully leave COVID-19 behind us soon, the new normal will still be different, and we have to face constant change.
You were one of the first SPCTs to accept that role. Could you tell us about your time at Scaled Agile?
I was one of the first ten employees at Scaled Agile (SAI), the provider of SAFe. I have been actively helping to shape SAI and the SAFe market for almost six years. After the initial development of the market across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, my focus was increasingly on Scaled Agile’s growth, especially on the use of SAFe as an operating model for the entire company. Additionally, I headed the global partner program and network to drive the global expansion of SAFe.
In my role as one of the first SPCTs and SAFe Fellows, I had the privilege of getting to know companies from all industries and around the world and supporting them directly or indirectly. I am now looking forward to bringing this experience to bear in my new role and helping our customers in making the change.
Last but not least, a personal question. You have lived in the States for the past nine years. Now it’s off to Amsterdam. What are you looking forward to, and what will you miss?
For the past few years, I’ve been commuting between New York and Colorado. It was an ideal combination: on the one hand, the dazzling city that never sleeps; on the other, the Rocky Mountains with its captivating beauty. But now I’m going to trade my mountain bike for a city bike and New Amsterdam for Old Amsterdam.
As a native of Switzerland, I am looking forward to living primarily in Europe again. European cities are each and every one unique. Amsterdam is so full of history and culture, and who can resist the charm of the canals.
However, I will miss the extremely positive ‘can-do ’attitude of Americans. But I know that the great people at Gladwell Academy and BlinkLane Consulting have this too. I will feel right at home.
We hope you will, Michael. Have a good flight and we look forward to seeing you at Gladwell Academy.
Michael Stump will join us on March 1st. Curious to find out more? Contact us!