A chat with Joni Uhlenbeck about Culture @ De Roos

SUMM Customer Testimonial - DeRoos advocaten

SUMM: Hi Joni, so why did you guys decide to define your Cultural Manifesto?

Since our founding, we have always liked to think of ourselves as the ‘rebel child’ of the law scene. In general, law firms have a tendency to be quite conservative. We have always believed that having a strong culture of innovation and direct non-hierarchical collaboration not only helps us match the type of innovative companies we like to work for, it also helps us set us apart from the bigger law firms that are all after attracting the best legal talent. 

I guess you can say that this cultural formula works because our firm is growing quite rapidly. Yet that brought on a new challenge: how to maintain this DNA as our team expands? We felt putting our Cultural Values into words everyone can understand and apply would help. And it does.

SUMM: How has it been using SUMM so far?

It’s been really great to see what using SUMM has done to how we give each other feedback based on our Cultural Values. Across all teams, people really take the time to reflect and give each other input for their personal development. And this works entirely non-hierarchical, as it should. Just recently I got some pretty direct direct feedback from a quite new colleague. And that's exactly as it should be! I'm absolutely certain that having a strong and clear manifesto in place invites people to be direct with one another. And the platform makes it easy to gather and structure all this input, which is really helpful to all of us.

SUMM: What learnings can you share with other companies like DeRoos?

Your Culture is a living thing, so don't be afraid to evolve and tweak your Cultural Manifesto as you go. As we have been using the SUMM-method for over a year now, we are now also noticing that some parts of our Manifesto can be worded more clearly or supported by sharper examples. What I really like is that by using the SUMM platform we can learn fact-based from how our Culture is doing and what can be done better. And we always have one place where we manage our DNA’ so to speak. Once a tweak is made, it immediately applies to all the ways in which we use our Cultural Values, without any hassle like changing docs and removing old versions. 

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