"In any leadership team, if the things that should be said are not being said, very little will move or change"

Welcome to Depth International

Organizational Excellence Partners
Consultation and facilitation in Transformation, Culture, Engagement and Leadership

Fred Schoon, founding partner
e-mail: fschoon@depth.biz

About Depth
Depth consulting
Be a yardstick of quality. Some people are not used to an environment where excellence is expected
Steve Jobs

Our Mission:
Allow you to lead like never before and make the change you envision happen.

We believe if leaders are highly aware of how they lead and of their impact on others they can be bigger leaders. Therefor we constantly challenge and intervene the status quo of your teams and organization and help identify the behaviour and actions that are critical to succeed.

We also deeply believe that nothing shines without friction and to succeed organizations need more courageous conversations in addition to what already exists. Therefor, in full alignment with the leader who contracts us, we do not shy away from bringing these conversation out with gentle determination.

And we believe that decisions are only decisions when they have been executed; until then they are just great intentions. We personally understand what it feels like to step into the unknown territory that big decisions demand, because we have been there too.

We would agree that ‘excellence’ is a big and difficult word. Yet we also believe it is a state of being organizations can reach. How? Organisational Excellence may ‘happen’ when strong strategy, inspiring bold leadership, a lean and nimble organisation and flawless execution come together. A bit like a perfect storm.

Being lean, if you ask us, is not installing lots of tools and flow charts but means there is strong clarity of direction, full use of talent, continuous effort to discover next ways of working and synergistic collaboration between all players in an organization.

Change is daily bread for CEO’s and their teams. And it seems things and information are moving faster and faster through more and more channels. People have access to everything. Coping with this is what leadership is about.
We focus on the people and organizational aspect of leading change. On teams, on true engagement and on flawless execution. We are inspired and driven to explore what all this would mean for you and your business. How to get there, how to stay there and how to build from there.

Building a Lean organization requires us to lead differently and the Depth word for that is ‘Lean Leadership’. This type of leadership demands trust and stability between leaders and those who do the work. It requires constant, every day, interaction and exchange between all organisational layers with the right metrics in place and a healthy orientation to process.

Excellence again, we believe, is created by those who do not get stuck in the turbulence but look ahead and deeply engage their teams.
Fred Schoon, founder of Depth
How we work
Without friction nothing shines
Mary Parker-Follett

Bostonian social worker, management consultant, philosopher, and pioneer in the fields of organizational theory and organizational behaviour.

To get people to embrace almost any not self-invented change the reasons, the WHY, must be clear. Without understanding and acceptance of ‘why’ nobody and nothing moves much and by now we know this is a main reason why so many initiatives do not make the finish line. Organizational research literature is overwhelmingly clear about this.

Depth consultants believe people are essentially motivated, willing to work hard, capable and have impressive self-organizing ability. We also believe that groups have serious collective wisdom, useful life experience and can improvise effectively in almost any given situation.

We see no reason why employees could not and would not deliver when change is needed, except when they are disengaged and trust is low.

We prefer to begin work at the top of the organization to consult with, facilitate and coach senior leaders to tap into these clear and present capabilities and motivation of their people. Then we prefer to engage with next level teams to develop clarity and acceptance of the change story with the aim to make them answerable. Answerable in our book of words means “once you get it and have bought into it, you own it and accept that you, not someone else, will be expected to deliver”. Answerable people and teams quite easily develop and execute the critical actions they own. Change cannot be ordered. To succeed and win, change thinking and responsibility must be cascaded and shared.

Expressing disagreement or engaging in friction and conflict are among the situations considered ‘to be avoided as much as possible’ as they can be risky and painful. Paradoxically it also is an ‘ability to be’ which is most needed to develop within leadership teams that have the ambition of creating high impact.

Depth consultants believe people are motivated, willing to work hard, capable and have impressive self-organizing ability.

We also believe that groups have serious collective wisdom, useful life experience and can improvise effectively in almost any given situation.

We see no reason why employees could not and would not deliver when change is needed, except when they are disengaged and trust is low.

We all have our deep-rooted individual views and interests. We hold on to these firmly because they are a part of us and they work for us. Successful change requires us to feel personally involved and accountable. Understanding purpose and how it serves the greater good of the organization helps us to truly feel an inner buy-in.

We listen and sense to seek proof of acceptance. If teams are not there yet, we will take a step back and secure they connect before moving on.

Neuroscience tells us that 'progress' is by far the most powerful motivational factor. Success breeds success as they say and we believe therefore making progress visible and celebrate even small steps forward are critical to making real change happen. Being a recognized contributor to progress is what drives us forward, makes us creative and… makes us stay.

The Progress Principle is still a novel concept. It is promoted by Prof.Teresa Amabile of Stanford University.

Our approach is based on organization behaviour development research spanning the past 3 decades, yet we keep it simple. Actions above power point, agility above fixed agendas and open and honest conversations above surveys.

In almost every change program most attention goes to strategy, to data, to plans, the work streams, structure and to org-charts. Much less of the conscious attention goes to the people. The biggest blockages for successful change often do not reside in strategy and plans. They sit with the people who must make it happen, at any level. How they feel about it, how they see it and how engaged they can be.

We believe in building smart plans and cutting to the chase by preventing and removing excuses and we coach leaders to constructively get past resistance and boost engagement.

Client Engagement
the largest room in the world is the room for improvement
Chinese proverb

Organizations come to us when their change is significant and this time it simply must succeed.

There is more beneath the surface. It is time to get everyone inspired, on-board and productive.

We are typically contracted to provide support on:

  • making strategy work
  • making Lean successful
  • the consequences of restructuring
  • placing the customer in a more central position
  • making new business models come to life
  • high-performance teamwork and cross-functional cooperation
  • employee engagement
  • performance management dilemmas.
  • From the moment you contact us you are on our minds.
  • We show-up to meet you in person.
  • We take your briefing, goals and challenge the status qou.
  • We seek to understand what already works well and what not yet.
  • If needed we conduct a scaled diagnostic.
  • You receive and approve our proposal.
  • With go to work with mutual trust and commitment.
Our gamma of services ranges from orchestrating a full transformational program to the facilitation of your leadership team off-sites on the one hand. Or from advisory work in the field of change to the development of total organization engagement. depth

Since 2011 we have worked with over 400 CEO's, Managing Directors, Global VPs and other members of Management teams on their issues and challenges concerning the transformations they are going through. We also executed numerous Lean projects and trained hundreds of people in the fundamentals of the Lean philosophy.

  • We have just concluded phase I, an 8 month stretch, of a full company transformation that involved all levels of the company. That included Leadership Team interventions, engaging middle management and the full employee base with the aim of lining everyone up behind one single stretch goal.
  • We have been selected to lead the introduction of a full scale Lean Continuous Improvement program in the 1500 FTE R&D division of a global research based bio-pharmaceutical company ??
  • We have been selected to lead the introduction of a full scale Lean Continuous Improvement program in the 2000 FTE R&D division of a global research based bio-pharmaceutical company.
  • Depth, in full collaboration with Austrian based Azimut Consulting, has been engaged in the design and execution of the people and team component of a leading global pharmaceutical enterprise transformation program.
  • Since 2014 we are part of the change team of a leading Dutch shipbuilding group that is going through a major change towards Lean shipbuilding.
  • Since 2 years, in full collaboration with Azimut Consulting, we have supported a high performance Boston, US, based pharma commercial leadership team.
  • We recently concluded the first phase of the deployment of Lean Critical Thinking in the Netherlands affiliate of a globally leading healthcare Big Data and CRM organization. 

  • A few months ago we were called by the head of a global strategy office with the request to assist him in forming his new team.
  • In 2014 we facilitated an ELT that had to 'survive' without a direct leader for a number of months and meanwhile had to digest and implement consequences of a company wide organizational health survey, which puts high focus on their division.
  • In 2013 Depth completed the companywide Lean deployment in a leading Scientific Pharmaceutical Service company that specializes in Oncology.
  • As of 2012 we have become involved in re-establishing the training and development framework for a global neuroscience pharmaceutical company.
  • In 2012 Depth intensively supported a top European subsidiary of the world's leading Diabetes Company at Board, Executive team and Field Management level in their efforts to establish a new commercial business model.
  • Since 2012 Depth has supported the European Medical Affairs Directors Team of a global neuroscience pharmaceutical organization.
Discretion: to maintain discretion we have disconnected tasks from clients.
Partner Network
Depth is a network of top change, lean, leadership and engagement consultants who are all uniquely passionate about making a real difference. All have worked on a wide range of complex challenges and come with track records of delivering results and the ability to help change the game. Please tap on our pictures to get to know us a little better.
Fred SchoonFred Schoon
Steve HardySteve Hardy
Mike DrechslerMike Drechsler
Arnoud HerremansArnoud Herremans
Emily DayEmily Day
Anders BildnerAnders Bildner
Hakan WalliinHakan Walliin
Karsten BezooijenKarsten Bezooijen
Lizette CohenLizette Cohen
Alan McGilverayAlan McGilveray
Hessel VisserHessel Visser
Depth consulting
There is nothing wrong with change as long as it leads to an improvement.
To improve requires change. To be perfect we must change often.
Sir Winston Churchill

Depth is network of change, leadership, engagement and lean consultants.

We are passionate about making a difference by striving for Excellence in Organizations.

All partners are independent and come with track records of results and the ability to help change the game.

We are based in The Netherlands, UK, Sweden, Austria, Germany and Belgium. We operate around the globe.













Nyenrode Business university; Lean Institute

Fred Schoon is also a part-time lecturer, mastertrainer and business developer at the Nyenrode Business University Lean Institute, the Lean Leadership top institute of The Netherlands. The Lean Institute operates the unique Lean Experiential Center. Several Depth clients have already made use of this facility to upgrade and anchor their lean efforts.

Oustanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves it‘s amazing what they can accomplish
Sam Walton (Wall-mart)

'Depth' represents what lies beneath the surface. It is the psychological term used to express our underlying, often unconscious, motives. Lasting solutions are never superficial and require that we dig a little deeper - Depth does this with organizations to help deliver sustainable change.

'The depth of team' can be unexpectedly deep or sometimes wilfully shallow. Always for a reason, mostly fear or concerns, but in any case there is always enough depth to explore to make teams use their full potential.

'Depth' is also used in cryptology. A Depth is a set of messages encrypted by using the same key. Teams may encrypt their situation and hold on tight to the key. Sometimes the key needs to be broken to make enable true conversations about the desired future.

Change is what leaders do. Looking beyond the first dot on the horizon. Creating images of what can be that others love to follow. They engage your organization in it as early as possible.

As a leader you are under constant observation. Your people are watching you and your team to find out whether you truly mean it, whether your are 'for real', fair and honest. They all weigh their decision to engage not only on what you say or do, but even more on what you don't say or do.

Managers often speak the language of 'good and bad', of problems and gaps to close. There is firm belief that firm language drives firm performance. Then why does change stagnate so often and why is 'fear of speaking up' on the agenda of every LT? Recent neuroscience tells us is that an appreciative approach, one that speaks in terms of 'what works well today and what doesn't work well YET', holds great power in truly engaging people.

Inspired by the work of author and poet David Whyte we have come to realize that what we are constantly trying to do is foster leaders and members of organizations to have 'courageous conversations' with each other rather than communicate along the typical codes of the astranged corporate world. A courageous conversation, according to David Whyte, is not the one we are having right now and they are typically the ones we would rather not have.

Lean is about quality, speed and results. Lean, which probably has its origin in the automotive industry, has evolved into a completely holistic culture that brings together who we do it for, the customer, how we do what we do, how we think about what we do, how we lead and work together and how we measure ourselves.

“We have shrunk by 30%, reduced our budgets and streamlined the company; now we are Lean!”
We say: false! According to this view the 'new shrunk organisation‘ has to carry the burden of 100% of old processes. You may hope or believe that employees will find ways to handle this and by default do more with less. This is where we think leaders keep dreaming.

Building a Lean organization requires 'Lean Leadership'; effective interaction and deep rooted trust form the foundation for collaborative conditions in which every individual can take on personal accountability.

Depth sees Lean as a bridge between strategy and execution more than anything else. Most Depth partners have thoroughly certified Lean backgrounds.

“We develop effective change WITH you as our client, we don't do it TO you”.

Quote gallery. Feel free to borrow!