The message this week is not to underestimate your personnel – how well do you know their capabilities, I guess not half as much as you might think?

On Wednesday the 8th. the final of the CEO’s dilemma (the competition that has been running in my book for the last thirteen months) was staged in a well known theatre in downtown Brussels. More than 200 people turned up on the night to witness the event.

"And the winner" was (much to his surprise) Chris Peeters. Chris was an outsider from the start, he had no interim management experience, he had never tackled a company restructuring, or managed a significant change project for a company in trouble. Yet his arguments were clear and were well thought through. Although the interviewing board of directors found holes in his reasoning, his coolness and clarity of thought on the night, plus his pleasant disposition – made him their unanimous choice.

But had you looked at Chris’ CV beforehand and compared it with those of many of the other contestants – you could be forgiven for not giving him a chance in hell. This is how, and why, so many companies go wrong. They simply do not know the true value of the personnel they have working right under their noses. You can not judge someone by only looking at their past, as seen by them and portrayed on a piece of paper called a CV. You need to give them opportunities to express what they are capable of and to at least share, in a non confrontational way, their ambitions. What’s more many people do not have concrete ambitions and need to be inspired to awaken to anywhere near their full potential.

Back to the competition: The CEO’s dilemma, the final event, the problem posed and indeed all the answers from the finalists (and a few other entrants) are all published on the Making a Difference website The Competition.

If you submitted an answer but were not selected for the final – thank you for your support, there will be more competitions coming in the future, so please enter again next time. Who knows you might be up against Chris!

A last note: Congratulations to all the finalists and thanks again to the excellent board of directors: Jules Noten, Cor Loots, Tamara Gielen, Raf Moons and Chris Van der Schueren. And also to the sponsors: Vlerick Management School, Fibiz Partners, Blackberry, LannooCampus , Magnus Wine and of course to my partners from The Bayard Partnership. Thank you everyone!