How do I grow my business? And how do I retain this growth?

Author: Jerre Maas, co-founder of PresentersWall

A while back I was a guest-speaker at a Masterclass organized by The Datacenter Group. A room filled with CEOs from the hosting and cloud sector, all together at an exciting location. Exciting, because the Masterclass took place in the PAL-V factory where flying cars (also known as Gyrocopters) are built. You could see the guests’ eyes light up upon seeing the shiny machines.

The Datacenter Group seduced its relations into attending by capitalizing on the sharing of ambitions, how to realize growth, and how to maintain it. An approach they themselves are already practicing: their BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) is namely to be the largest Dutch datacenter player in the Netherlands by 2025, with ten locations spread across the country.


A tough, challenging ambition that stimulates. Well chosen, because just like me many of you also maintain a firm level of ambition. We want considerable growth, both in business and privately. We are indeed overflowing with ambition. And when you then receive an invitation to, with like-minded people, listen to others who have managed to realize their dreams and ambitions, you gladly make room in the agenda.

That afternoon my speaker-slot was wedged between that of growth guru Bart van Nol and helicopter pilot George Tielen. Both winners in their respective fields, and a good position for me as social psychologist to share my experiences and ambitions – that I regularly post on Psyblog – with the ‘cloud bosses’ in attendance. The main challenge was to surprise them with my vision on ‘recruitement 2.0’.

Retaining employees

Straight to the point, one can easily say that retaining good personnel is smarter than having to recruit new people time after time. And if you do need to enter the market – with help from all social media channels – your new employer will have to be offering a realistic warm bath. If you’re looking to reel in that one specialist, that is.

After the event Martijn Kandelaar, datacenter manager at The Datacenter Group, approached me about this. As a result of their ambition for growth they increasingly encounter this difficulty in recruitment. According to the datacenter manager, what really draws people in is that TDCG consists of small teams in which each team member holds a lot of responsibility and is challenged on their entrepreneurship. You often see that specialists receive several offers a month to ask them to make the switch to a place where the grass is greener or the work even sexier. In practice this can be quite disappointing. The picture they paint is a little too rose-colored. We call this expectation mismanagement. This causes the recruitment process to have to be started anew. A waste of energy and of course, budget. The same principle holds when we talk about retaining personnel. Once in, the expectations created during the application process need to be realized.

As employer, be brave enough to name the downsides of the job as well. Radiate realism, it will always pay off. Put your growth ambitions into practice. TDCG has grasped this well, by already doubling their amount of datacenters this year. To put it the Brabant way: be normal, be honest, be considerate. Trust in an organization generally appeals more to people than cold numbers.

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