02 09 2023 at 00:00
Interview Guy Goossens
Let me continue the series “Everything you wanted to know about the Past Presidents”, with a very active past president…
I would like to introduce you to Guy Goossens, President nr 8.
Guy was President of the PMI Belgium Chapter from 2016 to 2017. After his mandate ended Guy decided to take the position as Region Mentor NW Europe.
As a first question I would like to ask you: how are you doing?
Ah, I'm doing very good. I mean I've got a lot of things on the plate for the moment.
First of all for my business, as I am Managing Director of Prosource, a sponsor for the PMI Belgium Chapter. So we are on a growing path, by providing our customers the best quality of Project Management and Business Analysis consultancy. By starting up our new business line of Business analysis we are able to offer our young professionals not only the expertise on PMO support track, but also the possibility to grow before managing and leading a project.
And I also have a regional mentor volunteering role. Within PMI, I'm the mentor for the Northwest region, so for 12 Chapters: from Luxembourg to Germany, UK, Ireland and then to the Scandinavian countries, including the Belgium and Dutch Chapters, Switzerland and Austria. So it's nice to give back from my experiences, when needed, to the Board of these Chapters.
But it is a challenging combination….and as you know I’m a long-distance runner, so I still try to find time to run a little bit 😉.
How did you come to PMI BeNeLux Chapter? And why did you decide to accept the mandate as President?
Oh, it's a good question.
I had a PMP training. I think it was the end of 2005. Didier Brackx was teaching the PMP course. I took my PMP exam early 2006 and became a member of the PMI BeNeLux Chapter.
I also got to know then some very motived volunteers from the Chapter like, Chris Kindermans. Chris became, from PMI and Project Management perspective, my mentor at that time. It was Chris who convinced me to get more involved into the activity of the Board.
A few years later, I have joined the Board as a Finance Director when Wim Gardin was president, than I became Vice-President and after that President. After a few years I became the Region mentor for Region 8 North-West Europe.
I have taken different mandates in the Board and specifically that of President because I wanted to give back to the profession and tune a bit my ideas into the way of working.
But a president is never a good president without a good team. So it is important that you are surrounded with motivated Board members, that are willing to contribute and do the extra mile for our members. Since members are our greatest asset.
What do you remember from that time?
It was a very challenging time, because volunteering comes on top of your daily job. So you put a lot of effort in this during the evening hours, ensuring that your Board team is aligned, everyone takes up their responsibilities and that the Chapter events are qualitative and frequently organized for our members.
I also remember that, as we are all volunteers, I spent a great effort to make sure that all the Board members committed to their roles and took up their responsibilities. It was regretful, but I also remember that we had to let go some of our Board members.
When I was Finance Director we splitted Luxembourg from the Belgian Chapter. So PMI Luxembourg was born and became independent. We guided that process with mentoring and coaching.
During that time we also upgraded the election process, to ensure continuity by creating Associate Director roles. Also as we changed the legal address of PMI Belgium. I had a lot of support from Stéphane, which was then my Vice President.
During your mandate, what is a good experience?
I had a few.
I had a very good and really committed team with a good motivation. So that was very positive, and useful to change the things we wanted to change.
Also the contact with our PMI-members was really nice. To be close to the members, try to hear what they are looking for and want to get out of their membership.
In addition to the above two, it was also good to get insights from PMI.org organisation way of working. To learn about how an organization of that size is working based on a lot of volunteering and how their engagement staff are linking in with the different presidents.
And what do you identify as a bad experience?
I had some Board members that did not deliver as expected. It was a difficult decision to dismiss them from the Board.
So, you have to fill in, with the other committed volunteers, the gaps that occurred. Being a volunteer in the Board means you still have to deliver and take up the responsibility, and try to aim higher and make sure our members get the right value.
So that was not a very good experience since we are all volunteering.
If you look into the mirror, how do you evaluate your mandate? What would you do differently?
I think I can look back on a positive period. I was happy in taking up this position, and I would still recommend it to members that are interested in doing so.
Maybe I would reserve even some more time to focus even more on it.
Additionally I would pay also more attention and create a specific task force by making a concrete plan on how to attract young people in the Chapter.
I would potentially also ask for the real commitments of the Board members before they start, on their intrinsic motivation and how they would fulfil their function. This may be a lesson learned.
And what would you wish it still existed?
I still follow the PMI Belgium Chapter very closely. So the election process is still there in place, as well as the potential to take up the Associate Director role.
So it is nice to see the effort was not wasted.
How to attract members to become presidents?
To show them that being a President is very valuable and that you can learn on how to steer & mentor a volunteering organization.
It gives you the possibility and opportunity to really initiate teamwork and to empower people in their mandates.
It is also very interesting to be a President to link in with other Chapter Presidents of other PMI Chapters, within Europe and the globe.
PMI gives you also the chance and opportunity to go to different international congresses and the Leadership meetings etc.. Here you really connect with other peers of PMI.
So there are a lot of opportunities to let you grow, as a professional, a coach and within the profession.
What do you advise to the current president and to the coming presidents?
Have a good concise team with people you can rely on, and are willing to go the extra mile. Better to have a small effective team than a bigger non-effective team.
Give empowerment and responsibility to your team, let them be creative and try to create self-steering mechanisms.
And another recommendation: try to use the PMI Organisation (PMI Engagement staff) and the Region mentors as much as possible. They know the PMI organisation inside out. They can support you, and give some tips and tricks.
Any anecdote to share with us?
We had some great time during the EMEA events and during President’s meetings. We have launched the EU Cross Chapter collaboration, which was very nice.
PMI.org took my photo from me and put it on a big banner on an EMEA congress. Coming down the stairs, I looked at my own picture on the banner 😉 Lots of people during the congress, wanted to take a picture with me and the banner…
How do you imagine the PMI Belgium Chapter in the future? And how do you imagine Project Management?
Belgium Chapter should be a community platform where all PM’s of Belgium can share knowledge and experiences. Evaluating, creating, discussing new trends etc.
PM in the future: The world and companies, as such, are becoming more and more projectized.
The world is facing a lot of challenges for the moment. You have the climate crisis, demographical shifts, digital disruption, artificial intelligence, economical shifts, labor shortage, etc.., and I’m confident that our PM expertise can be very helpful in this.
I also think the Project Manager will evolve much more in a leadership role in leading those big Portfolios/Programs/Projects instead of purely doing the management and executing.
What can I wish you for in the future?
You can wish me that everything becomes a project in the future, so that project leaders have a lot of work and can create impact.
But overall, I wish to secure my good health and of course nice, nice business and personal challenges.
Did I miss an important question for you?
No, I think you covered it pretty much all.
What do you want to also share with us?
Always be honest, give yourself 100% in all you commit to.
I would like to thank you very much for agreeing to share your experience with our members and I am looking forward to welcoming you at the PM Fair on 13th of October 2023.