'A business acquaintance of mine, Johan Verhelst, gave me a few practical tips he’d picked up at an Acta Management training course. He was so enthusiastic about it that I promptly invited Maarten Azou from Acta Management myself. It didn’t take long to realize we could also benefit from these courses and so we decided to take our chances with Acta Management. My initial feeling was confirmed, because the benefits to our company have proved substantial. So far, 25 of our staff have attended the course, so we ‘re all speaking the same ‘language’. In a playful but professional way Maarten manages to get everyone’s noses pointing in the same direction. Time Management and Meetings have resulted in a huge gain of time at Dedeyne Construct, although it requires quite a bit of discipline... '
'When your organization has the right people on board and you want to switch to a higher level, then I strongly advise to appeal to the services of Acta Management and Maarten Azou. No matter how many training courses you may have attended already, this is a completely new dimension. The package you’re offered is impressive and, what’s more, it fits your organisation perfectly. Above all because it is tailor-made. And you can take that quite literally: the sessions are scheduled when it suits you best, the dates are fixed by mutual agreement. The list of topics is the result of a thorough briefing with clear targets. During the sessions Maarten adapts himself smoothly to the experience of the participants. Each topic can be checked against your own company organisation and further discussed during the session, as you wish. The trainer then adds his critical view, so that, at the end of the day, you go home with a tailor-made plan that can be implemented straightaway. The training is valuable, offers lots of specific benefits and is a real must-do'
'We are a wholesale business in electrical appliances and lighting and our management made the decision to have us coached in the fields of Management, Sales and Time Management. All branch directors of the Trilex group have attended these courses. In a further stage the entire external sales team was coached as well. The Acta Management training programmes have instilled quite a few new ideas. Not only the theoretical models, but also the teaching tactics stir your imagination. Maarten illustrates each concept enthusiastically. And giving examples of typical situations makes it a lot easier for the participants to apply things into practice immediately. A must-do for every manager, branch director or salesperson. Go for it!'
"I must admit that I have, at least that’s what I think, a sound skeptical attitude towards ‘training’. Our mailboxes are flooded with invitations for all kinds of courses and training programs each and every day. And as far as I’m concerned, it’s (expensive) claptrap, with no added value as a result.
However, when Maarten gave me a number of business acquaintances as a reference, I was willing to put his training programs to the test. These managers spoke very highly of the content of the courses and, more in particular, of the person giving them. And so, I consented.
Despite the high price tag, we ordered a first training program in which I participated personally. The fact that we are actually completing our fourth proves that it’s definitely worthwhile. On condition that enough attention is paid to what’s being taught, the content of these courses does pay dividends if used as a daily tool. And I must admit that my initial skepticism towards these training programs provided by Maarten Azou has turned into enthusiasm! What’s more, I can strongly recommend them."
"The behavioral training programs Acta had designed for us are very hands-on and Maarten’s approach is quite no-nonsense. A first group paved the way for other people within our organisation. If you ask me, a real must-do."
"When I was looking for a sales training a fellow entrepreneur told me about Acta. After meeting with Mr Azou the initial skepticism quickly turned into a positive feeling. The promise Maarten had made during his presentation was completely fulfilled during the training. The training course, which I personally attended, was a breath of fresh air. Price/quality wise, this program is a bull’s eye: a clear overview of the objectives, focus on personal coaching, an instructive occasion to exchange experiences with colleagues and the ability of the instructor to empathize form the ingredients for a perfect cocktail to pick up new ideas and concepts that proved to be very valuable for our company. And finally, it must be added that Mr Maarten Azou is the perfect embodiment of this sales training course: a veritable salesperson!"
Initially I was a bit skeptical about a new four-day sales training program. Earlier courses always had the same pattern and we didn’t exactly leave with fresh sales ideas. But from day one with Acta it was clear to me we were in for something completely different. A well-structured, simple but enlightening story quickly confronted me with my most crucial weaknesses. Above all, it’s Maarten’s attitude as a consultant that makes the course agreeable to follow. You do feel he really wants to help the participants and he is constantly looking for new ways to coach them. Exchanging experiences with other attendees is a reassuring activity – you’re not the only one that’s got some work to do – and it is often a source of interesting ideas for your next sales pitch. No wonder we left with renewed drive and sales appetite this time.
"A team of six project managers and myself attended the time management course. The sessions illustrated Maarten’s practical knowledge and they were given quite authoritatively. The course was very practical and easily applicable. I’m usually rather skeptical about training but now I can actually see that the right lessons have been learned and that our behavior has changed. "
"When Maarten first presented his management training programs I must admit I was quite skeptical at the time and didn’t immediately say yes. However, a number of cited references drew my attention and after checking them during some personal conversations I decided to make the quite considerable investment and enrol with the entire project management team.
The results soon became visible: we were on the same wavelength in no time and ‘new talents’ of several people on our team were revealed. The objective to thoroughly analyze our organization and its personnel was reached. Striking the iron when it’s hot, we addressed a number of issues straightaway, which has led to improved meeting skills, tasks shifts, file organization, etc.
In sum, we’re all positive and SMART around here. And if you want to know what SMART means... Enrol and it will be applicable from session one. Good luck.
"We started cooperating with Acta to equip the VSK sales team with additional tools in order to strengthen the team internally as well as externally. Prior to the course we selected the following topics: time management or personal productivity, communication and negotiation skills. They all relate to situations our sales team are confronted with on a daily basis, not only when dealing with customers or during meetings, but also in situations outside the working environment
Not obvious, however, to bring both the internal and the external sales team together for a 3-day training program. That’s why we opted for 3 sessions organized over a period of 3 months. The big advantage was that we could test out the knowledge we had acquired in practice between the sessions.
The investment in this training program has paid off, not only in relation to the company, but also to the team and the individual member. Our sales team was truly enthusiastic about the approach. Maarten is a professional trainer who conveys his views with passion. The courses are spiced up with role plays allowing everyone to participate. For some of us, a lot was new, for others it proved to be a useful opportunity to brush up on things. A real must-do."
"Almost every day I hear our managers and executive staff refer to concepts, principles and tools Maarten Azou conveyed during the training sessions. Active listening, positive feedback, eliminate, delegate and plan, effective meetings, prioritizing goals and achieving them, constructive coaching etc. are no longer theoretical concepts but have become skills that are applied consciously and constructively and evaluated in the day-to-day running of the company. And that is exactly why we decided to entrust Acta with organizing a solid and hands-on management training program for our managers and executive staff. Mission accomplished. Thanks, Maarten! "
Luc Vandermeulen, HRM Proviron
"The Acta Manage Behavior training program came as a revelation to me and proved to be a true support in the field of sales. When I first started in the sales department I realized I lacked the necessary sales baggage. Seeing my technical background I had no experience whatsoever. Conversations with customers would flag quite quickly.
The structured program and the hands-on role plays provided by Acta soon produced positive results. Drafting and delivering a presentation was also new to me.
It’s my experience that training people in small groups of six participants has significant benefits compared to programs for large groups. It creates a feeling of familiarity within the group and there is mutual respect.
What’s more, Maarten’s teaching tactics are sublime. Everybody feels at ease. I can’t imagine someone else giving this course. It’s Maarten Azou from Acta and nobody else!"
"Six of us have attended the Acta sales training recently. The course proved to be very hands-on, which was an extremely positive experience.
A key ingredient is the fact that these training programs are organized for small groups. Maarten builds the program around the day-to-day practice of the participants. In that way he is able to identify sales priorities that require further development. He trains actively and optimizes.
And so, we experienced the training courses to be interactive, allowing each participant to fully cooperate. In short, the programs are tailor-made. Maarten constantly steers you in the right direction. It’s up to us now to get going and put things into practice. It has given us a positive boost, that’s for sure!"
"After Maarten had convinced us of the practice-based approach of the Acta training courses, my father and I decided to map out a specific program, consisting of ‘people management’, ‘communication’ and ‘time management’. A program designed for about nine operating staff, each of whom is responsible for one or more departments in our company and is in close contact with our people on the shop floor. They give them task, intervene, organize and motivate, quite often in a busy production environment, in which the human aspect tends to be less valued. The workers received our plans with some skepticism. However, they reacted enthusiastically after the very first session. They had learned a lot and enjoyed themselves, the time was well spent and they got to know each other in a different way.
Maarten manages to incorporate the hands-on approach by allowing the participants to experience the topics by intense interaction, role plays, typical examples, … At the end of each session the participants receive a summary of the theoretical concepts as a reminder. The training is kept lively between session as well. Participants can test out the subject matter in practical work situations and bring their experience to the next session. A good way to restart exchanging ideas in a constructive atmosphere. Our conclusion: communication has improved and is more efficient, being assertive is allowed and accepted, meetings are run more efficiently and there is room for daily coaching. "
"For Callens & EmK working together with Acta was not only a challenging but also a very profitable experience, which resulted in a daily focus among our executives. Explosive growth in recent years and the ambition to professionalize as much as possible urged us to look for an intensive management training program. Acta did not only optimize the leadership skills and the motivation of our staff, but we also noticed a more effective communication between departments, which ultimately improved our activities and our professional image substantially. A success story for Callens & EmK. Consequently, we are starting our third program for ten executives in November."
"The directors, the management team and the plant manager followed the training program last month. It proved to be a particularly interesting experience for all of us. The sessions were very amicable and intensively interactive. Theory was never far away from the daily business practice of all participants. The opportunity to immediately put the concepts underpinning the courses into practice surprised us all. Useful tools were applied to enable us to work more effectively at all levels within the workplace. Seemingly trivial matters got a completely new dimension during the training. The need for such a training program in a constantly changing environment turned out to be very beneficial. Taking all this into account, we decided that the training will also be offered to our middle management staff in the coming months."
"Thanks to the real-life role plays, the structured training program confronts you with ingrained but less effective habits. During these sessions you become aware of the things you know but do not apply. In a manner of speaking you are forced to open the cookery book again to find out how a recipe needs to be prepared successfully. "
"Professionalization within Groep Rigole is key. We maintain constant focus on training our staff. That’s why we called on Acta and Maarten, who tailored courses for different groups (communication and leadership, personal productivity). The result was always an enthusiastic group, equipped with new insights that could instantly be implemented in the everyday working environment. Maarten was also closely involved in reviewing other aspects of our human resources management (organigram, job description, objectives, remuneration policy for workers, ...). His experience and knowledge meant an important source of advice."
"Strong growth in recent years forced our organization to change its management structure, as a result of which a lot more was expected from our first line managers (supervisors). Through the Acta Management training programs and Maarten’s input in particular we managed to teach the supervisors the fundamentals of leadership (delegating, coaching, motivating, giving feedback, ...) and to train this behavior through role-playing. The very practical and realistic approach of the courses have added greatly to the further development of these executives.
That is the reason why we also allowed higher management staff to attend this training program immediately afterwards. This has led to the introduction of a common jargon and line of conduct. In this way, Acta management and Maarten contributed enormously to establishing this development process. "
"The training our product manager received provides a new perspective on concepts like communication, meeting effectively, time management, ... Maarten Azou’s approach is down-to-earth and guarantees new insights and methods. He taught us that apparently unique problems yet have a universal character. We recommend the training program, because it generates vision and forces everyone to review ingrained habits. However, it remains the task of the participant to actively put the message into practice. "
We were looking for a training program for a relatively heterogeneous group of managers. Some of them already had experience and had received training, others were quite new in a management position. Together with Maarten from Acta Management we discussed our desiderata and mapped out a 3-day program. Some people were rather skeptical about the training because ‘they had all been there and done that.’
But quite early in the course of the very first day everybody was doing the exercises enthusiastically and very soon the idea rose it was time well spent. The enthusiasm and the effort of our managers was equally big during the next day and everyone was convinced that the approach, focusing strongly on training skills within the everyday working environment in between training sessions, immediately paid off. The always positive and enthusiastic style of Maarten also contributes greatly to the success of these training programs. A must-do for other groups within our company.
"My personal experience with behavioral training used to be rather negative. I had the feeling that the story was all too theoretical and didn’t cause a lot of change in practice. But after a group of managers had followed a training course with Acta I must revise my opinion. Maarten’s interactive and hands-on approach provided an extra dimension. I attended the training sessions myself and so I got on the same wavelength as the managers. In the course of the training program the group developed into a real team that put forward challenges together and looked for solutions. The essence of the training was promptly put to the test during the reality of every day, which gave the courses extra impetus. I can recommend the training to everyone."
"The training sessions Maarten organized for our management resulted in very tangible benefits for Profacts: (a) everyone is speaking the same language, (b) communication has improved, (c) meetings are held more efficiently, (d) time is organized much better, (d) executives coach better, (f) the focus is on things that really matter. We are very satisfied with Maarten’s approach: the big investment pays off significantly in the long run. Seeing Profacts’ strong growth (from 2 to 22 staff in 4 years), we now feel even better equipped to consolidate this growth in the coming years, thanks to Maarten’s training courses."
During the sales and management training program Acta organized for us, Maarten managed to convey relevant sales and marketing principles in a relaxed way, through open dialogue and lots of practical examples. Equally successful was the ‘individual’ coaching program. Working in small groups encourages personal contact and helps both the trainer and the trainee select topics that are the most relevant and contribute to the development of the trainee. Worth doing again!
We are convinced that the Acta training programs are a real added value for the CL group. They have a positive effect on our executive staff. We can see changes in the behavior and we will continue to work on that in 2012. No matter how difficult this year is going to be with all the macroeconomic changes, noses are pointing in the same direction and this will mean an added value for us all.
"We experienced personally how practice-based the Acta training really is. Ultimately, the purpose of these training courses is to change behavior. Acta introduces views that are different from the ones we used to adopt in our relationship with co-workers, operators and supervisors. Just like Mozes, who was able to obtain quite a lot from his followers with the Ten Commandments, a manager/team leader, with a new mindset, can encourage his staff to put up an exceptional and unexpected performance.
Content-wise the Acta training program is quite strong, a harmonic combination of a theoretical framework and practical examples and exercises. Maarten Azou’s know-how is clearly based on experience. His style is enthusing. Within the Balta organization, the program generated a sense of coherence, a common behavioral ground relating to communication, leadership and time management. It is important to further incorporate the newly acquired views. In this way a brush-up day in September will surely contribute to consolidating the results.
"Maarten’s no-nonsense style appealed to me from the very beginning. The person who ‘sells’ the training program is also the person who gives the training and takes care of the follow-up. Fellow-entrepreneurs were enthusiastic about the courses and because of the fact that we were looking for training opportunities internally, we signed up for a program that was adapted to our needs. The inspirational training tactics and the down-to-earth approach resulted in the use of a common language within our organization and the drive to practise things. Results were bound to come.
Through the specific cases, the handy cards and the compulsory presentations about the things we had put into practice between two training sessions, we did not have the feeling you normally leave a lot of training courses with: interesting on the day of the session, but back to business as usual the following day.
We try to keep up the drive internally and have already planned a number of brush-up sessions in order to keep the flame burning and to acquire the tools that were provided.
"As a young representative at Sanac I was a complete layman in the field of sales, more in particular when it came down to sales techniques and so-called sales tricks. I was convinced that my technical knowledge would be sufficient to become a good salesman. When I heard I was supposed to follow a sales training I hoped it would be over in one day. Certainly after what friends had told me about such training programs. When I heard it would take four days I was secretly hoping that everything would be cancelled. Before I left my boss told me that although it was not cheap, is was worthwhile. Now, having finished this four-day training program, I know that sales courses may have completely different outcomes. This time I learned quite a lot and to me the most important aspect was Maarten’s personal approach. A four-day program enabled me to gain some practical experience between the sessions and to discuss things when I came back, in order to learn from my less favorable experiences.
As a young representative at Sanac I was a complete layman in the field of sales, more in particular when it came down to sales techniques and so-called sales tricks. I was convinced that my technical knowledge would be sufficient to become a good salesman. When I heard I was supposed to follow a sales training I hoped it would be over in one day. Certainly after what friends had told me about such training programs. When I heard it would take four days I was secretly hoping that everything would be cancelled. Before I left my boss told me that although it was not cheap, is was worthwhile. Now, having finished this four-day training program, I know that sales courses may have completely different outcomes. This time I learned quite a lot and to me the most important aspect was Maarten’s personal approach. A four-day program enabled me to gain some practical experience between the sessions and to discuss things when I came back, in order to learn from my less favorable experiences. "
'A word of thanks to Acta and Maarten for the management and sales training I attended. I didn’t only learn quite a lot as regards to content, but I also catch myself now using a lot of things rightly (and wrongly), but then it was pure FUN. The biggest strength I think is that Maarten, more than anybody else, is able to motivate people. After each training session I couldn’t wait to give it a go. An absolute must-do. Yes, definitely so!'
"In the fall of 2012 Maarten designed a telemarketing training program for us. Except for myself, nobody on the team had any experience in the field of ‘cold calling’. In a remarkably organized way Maarten got us to practise cold calling, not only with colleagues listening in, but also and above all ‘live’. No sweaty armpits, no stammering, only quite a bit of adrenaline, concentration and the eagerness to learn. First-class efficiency. Incredible!"
'As a technician I have some reservations about management training, time management, etc. It’s not my core business and – to be honest – I thought it was a mere waste of time. A customer of mine told me about Acta. Maarten’s no-nonsense approach appealed to me and eventually I signed up for a management training. From the very first day it was clear to me that this training program was a reflection of everyday reality. Each item we discussed was special, time and again. It shows what you actually know but never practise. During the training sessions Maarten equipped us with tools in connection with delegating, coaching, being SMART, ... In my view tools that are necessary to take your organization further. A real must-do. I should have attended this course ten years earlier! Thank you so much, Maarten.'
'Although I am quite skeptical about training courses I was talked into following a sales training with Acta Management. A year later I signed up for the management training sessions. My conclusion: Acta and Maarten provide extremely practical training courses. No theory whatsoever! You use and integrate the cases and the acquired knowledge into practice just like that. Fantastic!'
"Have you ever wondered whether you can also manage behavior?” Asking this question, Maarten from Acta could have thought he was about to raise an issue that had been bothering us for years at Helbig. It turned out to be a fascinating conversation. My innate suspicion ebbed away and made room for surprise. A young man with a no-nonsense knowledge and experience. It changed into sympathy and admiration and after a courtship display that went on for a few weeks we developed towards a unique project.
Helbig incorporates six values: friendly, honest, a learning organisation, trustworthy, inspiringly innovative and passionate. Establishing these values is not the most difficult thing. Demonstrating these values continuously is a bit less evident. But to persevere requires the biggest effort. Twice a year we reflect on how we can turn these values into behavior. And still ... we are often confronted with small obstacles, very practical, nearly always about communication, efficiency (doing things right) and effectiveness (doing the right things).
Maarten thought he could help us achieve that. And that is what happened. We attended a training course together. On a couple of Friday afternoons. The enthusiasm kept growing. We all looked forward to these meetings. Even now everyone is still talking about the acquired techniques and knowledge. During our weekly Friday meeting we agreed to focus on one particular topic again. And now we do that every month. A colleague is assigned the task of reviewing the theory and sharing a personal case with others. It’s called ‘the AHA moment’: the Acta-Helbig Approach.
In the meantime we have also started a sales training. With a number of old hands at the game, looking at things quite skeptically. Indeed, the first session didn’t spell good news. During the break our trainer belled the cat: ‘All I feel is defense.’ Unworthy of Helbig. We hadn’t finished the first session when exited shouts were already heard. Towards the end of training program we were left with nothing but deeds, definite appointments, inspiration and actions. No sign of defense anymore. That’s what we had in mind at the outset and that’s what the market is going feel…"