Our latest interviewee is Lars Noordewier, COO at Digital Decisions.
Noordewier shares with us everything from what he has for breakfast, to the tool that every member of his team uses, and his favourite campaigns.
If you’d like to feature in this series, get in touch.
Please describe your job: What do you do?
Lars Noordewier: As COO at Digital Decisions, a digital media and technology consulting firm, I am responsible for the internal operations. We exclusively work for multinational brands, such as Heineken, Jack Link’s and PepsiCo, across many different countries and categories. Streamlining our project delivery and client management, while also overseeing our rapidly growing international team, is an incredibly exciting challenge.
Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?
LN: I am part of the management team at the firm, and report to our CEO, Ruben Schreurs, who recently moved to London to open up our new office to expand our reach into the UK market and beyond. I support him and our global expansion from our headquarters in The Netherlands by leading the team and making sure our work is of the highest quality and delivered on time.
What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
LN: Structure is key in my opinion, followed closely by strong communication skills. I try to always be aware of any issues within the team or at clients, so that we can adapt effectively. The only way to properly implement a new process – like a daily stand-up meeting each morning – is to lead by example and make sure everyone takes part consistently.
Tell us about a typical working day…
LN: I like to start my days early with a light breakfast – a yoghurt, soy milk and fresh fruit smoothie – and some alone-time at the office before the rest of the team comes in. I use this time to go through my emails as there is often a backlog due to a client base that spans numerous time zones. I then prepare the stand-up meeting where we discuss all client updates and the teams’ key actions for the day. After the stand-up I have a call with our CEO to discuss issues and priorities, and then the team and I work through the key deliverables with some nice tunes playing in the background. At the end of each day I update the issues log and the Q&A on our internal Wiki, and make sure we have no outstanding priorities. I then love to have dinner with my other half and wind down enjoying some bossa nova.
What do you love about your job? What sucks?
LN: What I absolutely love is the eagerness and ambition that I’m surrounded with at the firm. All our consultants are dedicated to perform. It’s a great feeling when we launch a new project or a new initiative, our employees can’t wait to get started and this feeds into the dynamic and positive relationship we have with our clients.
It’s hard to think of something that sucks about my job. One aspect of leading by example means I need to perform and be sharp every single day. Nine days out of ten, this comes really naturally to me and I love to inspire and coach the team. That one day, though, it can take a little extra effort to get the spark ignited. However, the only thing you can control in life is effort, so I dedicate myself to making every day as effective and successful as possible. I believe that in turn, the team will do the same, which is great for our clients and for the team atmosphere.
What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
LN: For me it is all about client satisfaction, and empowering the team to be able to work as effectively as possible in a nice and inspiring environment. We use OKRs across the organisation, and the majority of my OKRs are aimed at having clear and efficient work processes and making our company as scalable as possible.
What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
LN: Monday.com is my sacred place, and the whole team uses it religiously. The platform has replaced our whiteboard scrum set up, and is now the base where all internal and external projects and tasks are managed. Next to this I like the Google suite and Drive for internal comms and file management, Slack for IM and Zoom for conference calls. Last but not least, my morning flat white coffee never fails to stimulate productivity.
How did you end up at Digital Decisions, and where might you go from here?
LN: I have always loved consulting for its dynamism and high-paced projects. After working at Deloitte, Sony and Capgemini, I felt eager to be part of a scale-up organisation where I could have a broader impact at the strategic level. As a consultant for Capgemini I worked for a multinational FMCG company where I created the procurement data roadmap, which is how I got in touch with Digital Decisions and knew immediately this was where I wanted to be. From here, the path ahead is very exciting – especially with the international expansion of our firm.
Which brands / experiences / campaigns do you admire?
LN: A brand I really admire is Jack Link’s [disclaimer: a Digital Decisions client]. As a family-owned business, they show incredible boldness and ambition in their expansion plans and their strategy really resonates with me.
One of my absolute favorite campaigns is the Moments campaign by Volvo for the XC60.
Do you have any advice for marketers in 2019?
LN: My advice to marketers would be to make sure that global media and procurement teams focus on building a strong operating model, through which they can effectively collaborate internally and with their partners, working towards common goals.
A first key step to take, for example, is to develop a single source of truth, merging procurement and media performance data, containing all high-level figures across global markets, from which priorities and opportunities can be identified.