Donald Balcaen

Donald Balcaen

  • Industry

    • ICT
    • Manufacturing
    • Consultancy
    • Automotive
  • Functional expertise domain

    • Business Transformation
    • Innovation
    • Operational Management
    • IT & Data

Business Mentor profile

15+ years of experience in product design and engineering management after which I transitioned into operations and supply change management

Big proponent of working smarter instead of harder to meet ever growing business expectations

Building and leading strong teams to deal with transformation and change with focus on stimulating, supporting and steering team members.

Donald grew up as a rather shy boy with only one dream: become an engineer in electronics and design products.
And so, it happened… As time went by, the shy boy became more and more self-confident, to the point that he was able to start taking on a leadership role in engineering. In this role, he drove teams to different ways of designing products with time-to-market and product quality improvements as an outcome.

Then, out of the blue, another opportunity came by and Donald decided to switch to an operations and supply chain leadership role.
And guess what, also in this new environment, work could also be done in a different way. Working smarter, based on the Lean methodology, led to productivity improvements in excess of 35%. An outcome that was achieved without having anyone in the supply chain team working faster, harder or more.

Of course this Lean way of working required a lot of change management towards the team. Working Lean has become Donald’s motto: you can gain a lot more by working smarter than working harder… And it is sustainable!

Donald does not believe in hero’s or idols. But he does believe in what you could call brave actions, decisions and activities. Some leaders demonstrate this almost continuously and by doing so create breakthroughs and progress that help humanity and our environment forward. Those are, in Donald’s opinion, the only true leaders.

Donald strongly believes in mentorship, as long as the Mentee is open to listen and tries to understand what is being told and presented. After considering it thoughtfully, the Mentee can then consciously decide how to integrate, or not, the acquired knowledge into real life.

As a matter-of-fact Donald himself had a mentor who taught him a lot about how to better deal with differences between individual people and by doing so was able to build stronger and better teams.

On a personal level, Donald’s interest are: Family of course and how to balance associated quality time with all extra and professional activities. Sometimes challenging, but doable! ; Staying fit, both mentally and physically. ; Staying up to date by closely tracking and learning about the exponentially fast changing technical evolution in AI, robotics, e-mobility etc.; And DIY wherever possible…

Next to his professional activities, for 15 years he has engaged himself to support local Chamber of Commerce (VOKA) initiatives. As a team mentor, he is coordinating and conducting monthly get-togethers with industry peers to foster learning by networking (in the so-called VOKA Plato-Networks). This is purely on a voluntary basis, and whilst it takes some extra energy and time, he wouldn't want to miss this for a single second!

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