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Jester's founder Michiel de Vries is back!

After a year abroad, Jester's founder Michiel de Vries has returned. Although we missed Michiel's presence, time has not stood still. For example, several Jesters have been added in the past year. Our newest addition, Yasmine Rjiba, had never met Michiel. She seized the opportunity of their first meeting to question him. From who Michiel is to what he has done in the past year and what he is most looking forward to. Everything was covered.

Yasmine and Michael

Hi Michiel, this interview is our first acquaintance. Can you tell us more about yourself?

I am married to Petra, have three children and live nearby in Voorthuizen. I studied at the Erasmus University and the VU. Before I founded Jester in 2013, I always worked at EY. You can see that a little bit in the people who work at Jester. I'm really a strategy consultant myself. I enjoy putting together a good guiding strategy together with the team and the client. In my spare time I like hiking, sailing or reading a good book.

What have you done in the past year?

We did a world trip with our family. This was a long-cherished wish for Petra and me and because our children are still in primary school, we wanted to realize it. In order to be able to travel safely during the pandemic, we have had a lesson in flexibility. We lived a little by the week. In the end we did not visit any country that was planned in advance, but in return we saw beautiful destinations.

We were initially going to go east, on the trans Siberian express to China, to Australia and New Zealand, and also to South America. Instead, we started a tour of Europe last summer. We traveled through France and Italy with a caravan. Then we sailed for a few weeks in Greece. I have three children and everyone had a job on board; that was very nice. Then we went to Tanzania and South Africa. Both were fantastic. Then we snorkeled, dived and enjoyed the beach in Aruba and Curaçao. From there we left for America, to travel for three months through the 'Deep South' and California, Arizona, Utah and Oregon. We had a lot of time so we could see every day whether we wanted to move on or not. We also went to Mexico, which was beautiful. To conclude, we traveled through Spain for another month by train.

What was your favorite destination?

I think South Africa was my favorite destination. I really liked that. It also has everything. They also call it 'five star Africa'. Nature, beaches, wild animals, but also in terms of culture and culinary it has a lot to offer. It's just very beautiful. And I also loved Utah and Arizona in America. Long journeys on those high plateaus. Very hot during the day, very cold at night.

What insight have you gained during your world trip?

Well, above all that the journey is more important than the destination! Thinking together about the route, the means of transport, the stops and the sights is fantastic. That gives a lot of energy. I also think that this can easily be extended to companies. In my opinion, companies sometimes look too much at (financial) goals. However, the goals do not give energy, but the strategy, the possibilities, the team, the customer and the like do. Especially if the route is drawn up together. We are entering a time of scarcity, not only of raw materials and materials, but above all of human capital. I think successful companies succeed in forming teams that map out the route together and get energy from the places where this route passes.

You are back after a long time. What did you miss the most?

Making real impact for organizations together with nice and smart people. This is not only in the content of an advice, but also in the feasibility. When I first started working, I always tried to give the best advice, but then you sometimes came up with advice that an organization could do nothing with, for example because it was unable to implement it or because there was no support. What we have become very good at is to take a good look at what is really needed and what is possible. So don't write a strategy for the stage, but help organizations to make an impact. This makes our customers very happy and so do I.

Other than my arrival, more has changed at Jester Strategy. Our corporate identity, to name just one. What do you think has changed the most?

Of course I missed a very strange time in the Netherlands. However, Jester Strategy has been very successful this corona year. I think this is because our team always gets a little happy about disruption and movement in the outside world. Then the creativity starts flowing. For example, I think it's very clever when I see which new online working methods have been devised or how we have started to communicate with our customers. The Jester DNA is also very present among the new colleagues.

What are you most looking forward to as you get back to work?

In my absence our book is 'Ready for the future', containing our Strategy CUBE. I also received a lot of positive reactions to it during my trip. The nice thing about the book is that we have developed our own language within Jester. We have developed a distinctive way that organizations can realize impactful strategy. I am very much looking forward to using our Strategy CUBE for and with our clients.

Would you like to catch up with Michiel or discuss a strategic challenge?
Call Michiel (+31 6 52 85 42 83) or send an email to m.vries@jester.nl.