Meet MSM’s faculty members: introducing Geert W.J. Heling

Maastricht School of Management provides scientific knowledge allowing managers and entrepreneurs to make evidence-based decisions. To achieve our mission we encourage and support our faculty members in a broad range of areas. MSM’s faculty members are passionate about what they do and tenacious in finding solutions to the toughest business challenges. Each month MSM will highlight one of its faculty members and this month the spotlight is on Geert W.J. Heling.

Let me introduce myself…
My name is Geert Heling and I work as Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Maastricht School of Management. Next to my position at MSM I am the founder and owner of Médoc Management Consulting, a Dutch consulting firm. I Hold an M.A. in Psychology and a Ph.D in Behavioral Science from the Radboud University Nijmegen My major was Psychology of Culture and Religion, something unique and exotic back in those days, but very popular and highly relevant today. It gave me a solid fundament for the kind of international and cross-cultural education that MSM is providing across the world.

I consider my work as lecturer and consultant to be a blessed combination…..
I have been lecturing for MSM for more than 22 years. I really love this work, it never gets boring. A course subject may remain the same, the group process is always different. It is exciting to create a learning environment together with participants, and have them learn things that are really meaningful and practically relevant.  Often my consulting services are called for when an organization gets ‘stuck in bureaucracy’. How to get back on track and change the culture from driven by fear, procedures and control into a culture characterized by ownership, commitment and meaningful work. That is my style of performance management! I consider my work as lecturer and consultant to be a blessed combination. It is easy to connect theory with practice and vice versa. And having a solid background in management training has influenced my style of teaching in a positive way.

Many successful CEOs came to the conclusion that it is the human factor that determines organizational success….
Within MSM most people regard me as “Mr. Change Management”. Although this doesn’t completely do justice to my consulting portfolio it is indeed relatively easy for me to lecture on Change Management because of my practical experience with managing organizational change. Organizational Behavior (OB) is about the human factor in organizational life. Many successful CEOs, reaching the age of wisdom and looking back on their career, come to the conclusion that in the end it is the human factor that determines organizational success. So, yes it is vital to have a deeper understanding of this human factor. Particularly in the context of organizational change we need to understand how people will behave, rationally as well as emotionally. For lecturing Change Management and other OB courses it really pays off to have a solid background in the social sciences.

MSM gives an extra dimension to my “life-long learning”…
I have always liked to work together with people from different cultural backgrounds. I find this rewarding and enriching; at the same time it makes you modest; personally and professionally. Not all the theories and concepts from the Western world are applicable in different cultures and contexts. Respect the differences, capitalize on the similarities! As a teacher in an international context you learn a lot from your participants. In this way MSM gives an extra dimension to my ‘lifelong learning’.

The research I am currently working on…
Together with some professional coaches I am developing a tool for measuring individual resilience. For many people the boundary between work and private life is vanishing, performance pressure is increasing, and more people get stressed and ‘burned-out’. Having an instrument that predicts when people are approaching the danger-zone can help prevent burn-out and improve well-being and organizational health. Although not yet in a structured way, I do research on the relationship between behavior and circadian rhythm (cf. biological clock), which is very promising. Put simply: being an early bird (morning person) or a lark (evening person) makes a huge difference in what you do in many aspects of life, not the least in a work context.

What I like to do the most IF there is some spare time left…
In my busy schedule it is difficult to find spare time (hence the idea for a resilience measurement tool). I am happily married, and my 3 (teenage) daughters help to keep me young and in touch.
The continuous challenge is to keep things in balance. Apart from some hobbies (the usual suspects) I like to read, study art and listen to music. Not only to relax but foremost for getting inspiration. To my opinion the importance of art is underrated in our society. Don’t forget, creativity and inspiration are crucial for doing our work well!

My dream for the future…
I have a personal mission in life, which is to help, support, and educate people as much as possible by sharing knowledge and experience. MSM is enabling me to do this in a multicultural and international context. Consider this as my tiny contribution to a more just and better world.

So I would like to take this opportunity to invite everyone to participate in MSM’s MBA, Master in Management, or executive education Change Management or Strategic leadership programs. Invest in yourself, do yourself a favor and treat yourself on another shot of international education. Meet old friends, have fun; make new friends, learn new skills. I am looking forward to see you!

Related links
Meet MSM’s Faculty members: introducing Aad van Mourik
Meet MSM’s Faculty members: introducing Joris Stadhouders
Meet MSM’s Faculty members: introducing Ms. Terry Kakeeto-Aelen
Meet MSM’s Faculty members: introducing Dr. Stephanie Jones

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