You've been with Sennheiser since June 1 of this year. Can you tell us a bit about how the company welcomed you to the Sennheiser family?
Honestly, I don't know where to start. The way the company welcomed me has been such an overwhelming and extraordinary experience. The opportunity to meet so many representatives of various functions and divisions right from the start, the friendliness that I encountered with everyone I met, the passion and pride that came across in all these fascinating conversations, all of it was extremely helpful and impressive. I want to take this opportunity to thank the entire Sennheiser community for making me feel so welcome. Even if we didn’t speak, your smiles and friendly greetings did the trick.
You have an extensive background in the audio industry. What amazes you about the audio industry?
That is a difficult question. I’ve been in this industry for quite some time now – I guess I am not so easily amazed anymore.
Bang and Olufsen, Bose and now Sennheiser. What have been your biggest learnings in the last years working in the audio industry and why?
I would say it is the necessity to focus. The audio industry is rather fragmented; trying to be everything for everyone just isn’t a winning formula (unless your name is Amazon). Having a fundamental understanding of what it is that your company stands for and, subsequently, translating that into an effective strategy is pivotal for our success. This may sound obvious, but I feel it is often forgotten or even ignored. I guess that is my answer to the previous question. It baffles me that so many companies in the audio industry still ignore the simple business principle of sticking to what you do best.
Why have you chosen to join Sennheiser?
I love that question as much as I love answering it. First and foremost, there is the brand. I love it when I find myself standing up straight(er) when someone asks 'who do you work for?' Sennheiser, being the iconic brand it is, does that for me. The second part of my answer has to do with people. It was February when I was interviewing for the position. This is, as many of you may know, the month of ISE; the biggest professional A/V trade show in the world. I took that opportunity to check out the Sennheiser stand. That is when I had my first experience with Team Connect Ceiling 2. It blew me away and I was completely sold. Not just because of the amazing audio quality and the stunning speech intelligibility, but also (maybe even more so) because of the passion and the excitement that people displayed during the demonstration. It was so captivating. I concluded there and then that should Sennheiser offer me the position, I would be an absolute fool not to take it.
From your perspective, what does the Sennheiser brand and especially the business communication division stand for?
Apart from the brand being a synonym for quality, I would say Sennheiser stands for enabling excitement and solving real and tenacious problems related to audio reinforcement. The latter is evidently true for Business Communication; a professor not heard is a lecture wasted, distorted audio during a business meeting equals loss of company money. Offering a remedy for these recognizable, audio related, problems is what Sennheiser, and in particular Business Communication, stands for.
The buzzwords “digitization” and “new work” are on everyone's lips. With its product solutions Sennheiser Control Cockpit and TeamConnect Ceiling, the Sennheiser business division is strongly positioned in this area. What is your personal opinion about these topics?
I could not agree more — remote working, virtual teams; these are all concepts that are here to stay. The signs are everywhere, and so are the problems associated with this new way of working. Sennheiser is well-positioned to offer an effective antidote for poor speech intelligibility and counter-intuitive audio systems. I say: bring it on.
What are your aims for the business communication division at Sennheiser?
To grow, first and foremost! Market trends, we discussed them earlier, favour Business Communication in a very considerable way. Our time is now. I would love for Sennheiser Business Communication to become the household name for audio solutions in carefully selected market segments. Let me give you an example: for the higher education market, our aim is to offer campus-wide audio. This resonates well with where I think we can (and should go) with our division.
What are your leadership principles and what kind of employee would you like for your team?
I like to think of myself as a facilitator. I consider every member of my team a subject-matter expert and with that, see it as my task to pave the way so that they can do their work and be successful. I tend to give standing ovations to those taking initiatives (big and small) – I like the entrepreneurial spirit and encourage continuous improvements in everything we do.
Now we've learned a lot about your professional side. Is there anything you would like to tell us about the private side of Ron Holtdijk?
I’d love to: I am born and raised in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, an electrical engineer by education, happily married and the proud father of two (a boy of 16 and a daughter of 12). As a family, we’ve travelled a lot, and we lived abroad in various countries. Now that we’re back in the Netherlands, my family made me promise that we would not move again, and this why I will be commuting to KG.
Sennheiser is known for its Broadcast & Music division. Many employees play an instrument with passion. How about you, do you play an instrument and if so, which one? (If not, what is your favourite hobby?)
Ha, you got me! I will let you in on one of my secrets; I am as far from a musician as one can get —not by choice, by the way. My reality check came early; my primary school teacher would have me play the triangle and even that I managed to mess up. It’s safe to say that, much to my regret, playing a musical instrument is not for me. Instead, I like to run. Running allows my mind to wander – it’s a great way to reflect. Sometimes I secretly sing while running, so perhaps there is a musician in me after all.
Thank you very much for the interview, Ron! We wish you a good start at Sennheiser and are looking forward to the development of the business communication division in the future.
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