Ted van der Put
Twenty five years into a successful international corporate business career, and with encouragement from his wife, Ted van der Put began to explore what more he could create in his life other than being a CEO and using his left brain.
Ted’s search brought him to the Co-Active Leadership® Program and in a quiet moment during the third retreat, he began to envision a way to bridge the world of his private life and the hidden person behind the CEO.
“When I was sitting there on that mountain looking over the sea,” recalls Ted, “I realized that I was having more access to this deep source of gratitude and love inside me that had been difficult to access before. And looking at the beautiful world before me, I deeply felt that it was payback time to the earth.”
“I realized that the whole issue of climate change is not something that can be left over to politicians or to NGOs, but that multinational organizations with all their reach, talent management, creativity, and technology should play their part in shifting the paradigm towards sustainability.”
“I realized that with my background I could be instrumental in helping that shift unfold at a boardroom level,” Ted recalls. “I wasn’t sure how, but I really felt that multinational corporations should lead the way in demonstrating how to move from serving shareholders to serving all its stakeholders including the earth.”
Upon returning to work however, Ted found his working environment not in line with his ambitions regarding sustainability, and yet realized he could not ignore the call to leadership he had felt so strongly and learned to value while in the Leadership program at CTI®. He left his work world behind him and boldly set out to create his own initiative.
“Prior to the Leadership program, I was always more heart-centered and engaged in my private life than in my career, but CTI’s program taught me not to separate the two, and instead be authentic in all areas of my life,” explains Ted.
“Being transparent about how I stepped out of the traditional corporate career path has helped open conversations and deepen engagement. People quickly realize that I’m not suggesting that multinationals should be turned into philanthropical institutes.”
“Instead they see there’s a real connection between longer-term value creation, and sustainability and compassion in leadership,” adds Ted. “I’m now creating a network for reflection on business practices for CEOs and senior managers—many of them from stock-listed companies—to start the discussion about creating a leadership perspective required to prepare companies for fundamental change and transition to sustainable value creation.”
Ted van der Put, corporate sustainability leader
Update: In the months since this interview was conducted, Ted has taken his professional transition dream one step further. He has accepted a management position at IDH, a government and business funded social investor in fundamental changes towards sustainable supply chains of multinationals.