Can you tell us something about your career?
I started my career at KPMG. With over 30 years of experience I have been able to do all kinds of things. From Assurance to Advisory, from the Netherlands to abroad and from challenging client work to inspiring internal roles. For example, I was responsible for HR within Advisory for a while, but I was also in charge of Management Consulting during a period of strong international growth.
After all those years at KPMG I was ready for something different. Despite all the options available within KPMG, I decided to search outside KPMG to find my next chapter. I was incredibly interested in what I call the creative ability. I was already inspired by a number of things that KPMG did in the field of innovation and, at the time, I also interacted with a number of companies that turned creative ideas into business. Moreover, I am always eager to add more to my professional luggage.
Consequently, I started following the Creative Leadership training at THNK School of Creative Leadership in Amsterdam (recommended). A training in which you will be working with an international group for six months on topics regarding Creative Leadership. Due to this training, I followed my passion by looking for a place where I could gain more insights with regards to creative leadership. KPMG is really good with methods, but I was in the search for a bigger challenge in which, I could not only solve issues, but also learn how to create new things. When you are a consultant you come across these instances sometimes, but unfortunately not as much as I would like.
Therefore, I decided to look outside KPMG and I worked for some time at EIFFEL in the position of Director Operations & Innovation. Afterwards, I started working as the initiator of _ntcpation in order to be more focused on developing creative capacity. An organization and network with a passion for increasing an organization its ability, to deal more smoothly and faster with trends and patterns, and enable the full potential of their people and (new) technologies.
Meanwhile, I always kept in touch with KPMG colleagues. As such, the effectiveness of working from KPMG beckoned again. At first, I resisted the idea of returning. Perhaps, if I returned, my choice was not successful? I was quickly convinced that I belonged at KPMG. I have been back now for about four months. Back at the KPMG family where I can focus on the continued success of one of KPMG's most distinctive propositions. As a market lead in the Accelerate Powered Enterprise program, we work as a team on new frontiers for KPMG. By thinking differently and trying different things, you can add something beautiful to the company. A great opportunity where I can fully express my passion for creating new things.
What did you miss while you were gone?
I think that's a classic line. What you miss when you leave the company, is the power of the KPMG brand and the incredible power of the delivery machine that is KPMG. It is a super professional device in every step of the way. There is inexhaustible talent available with an enormous amount of energy. Moreover, it is in the sentimental corner, when you're gone for a while, at least I was, you also kind of miss the family feeling. Like missing your family. However that is also because I have so many good friends working here. You do not notice these things until they are gone. Classic story. When you walk out the door, you are no longer “that person from KPMG”, but suddenly you are just Erik, also interesting but different. You always hear people saying that, but it has been confirmed once again.
What experiences have you gained outside of KPMG, that you now use in your current position?
So I mainly worked on developing the creative ability. That started with the training at THNK. At THNK, I quickly wrote down the word 'anticipation' in my booklet and then mainly continued to think about 'how could you make an advice proposition based on that anticipatory capacity?' Moreover, anticipation was sometimes interpreted as 'oh yes, you mean we can expect any circumstance?', but it wasn't. For me it was, and it still is, about how you can help an organization to respond smoothly and quickly to today's issues. In short: deploying creative capacity, deploying collective intelligence, realizing things that have not occurred yet, and in these instances, the word anticipation has had a central theme to me.
And how do I use this now, in my current position? Because of this knowledge and experience, I try to ask more often questions such as 'how could we approach things differently' or 'how can we think differently as a team and surprise that customer'.
Has KPMG changed, and if yes, how has KPMG changed?
Well firstly I believe this is rather personal. Moreover, it is very difficult to see changes in such an empty office, as in the recent months. In addition to the fact that KPMG radiates a lot of togetherness, it feels very energetic and entrepreneurial. Furthermore, KPMG has a very proactive market-oriented focus at the moment. I like this, it surprises me.
What's the best tip you have ever been given?
Another classic I think. Always keep learning and take a slightly 'crazier' step every now and then. Currently, I am 55 years old and can honestly say that it is very nice to add some new things to your luggage ones in a while, and that this is certainly possible within and outside KPMG. For example, I did not start snowboarding until I was 40, and now voluntarily and happily run trails above the normal marathon distance. And I really think that is the most important tip: If the curiosity is beckoning within you, answer it!
Erik Schut is 55 years old, lives with Anouk in Bussum, has two children and has been working at KPMG again since November 2021.