Marilieke Engbers

What gets her excited?

Unsaid, silence climates, paradigms, governance, conflicts

What motto does she live by?

You cannot change what you do not acknowledge.

How did she end up at Reconsulting?

Marilieke knew Terry from her time at Andersen. When Pim and Derkjan teamed up with Terry, whilst Derkjan was also working with Marilieke on her PhD, she thought: “I might as well join!”

Where has she been on the way?

Born in Makati in the Philippines in a Philips family, then moved to another Philips plant in Monterey, Mexico. When she was 7 she moved to the chilly Netherlands in Veldhoven, near Eindhoven. She did her studies in Maastricht, Liege, Manila and Barcelona. Lived a short while
in Rotterdam, then moved to Amsterdam: the city she will never leave again, she decided, after a one year intermezzo in Curacao with her family. She lives in Amsterdam with her husband and three sons.

Favourite activities

Walking the dog around the Gaasperplas, boxing, reading, chatting.

Marilieke has more than 20 years of experience as a consultant in leadership and change. Increasingly she has focused on strategy realization, strategic dialogue and learning. Her fundamental change architecture is to ensure (silent) conflicts are reconciled by making sure the right conversations take place between the right people at the right time.

October 2020 she completed her PhD on “how the unsaid shapes strategic decision-making in boards” at the School of Business and Economics at the VU University Amsterdam. This dissertation offers an emerging explanation of:

a) how taken for granted and automatic, socio-cognitive processes between board members shape boards’ decision-making
b) how board members who are considered paradigm-attached, unintendedly enact a spiral of unsaid when they try to manage silent conflicts through informal decision-making
c) how four silence climates shape four different levels of cohesiveness and cognitive conflict towards board effectiveness
d) how being aware of different levels of consciousness and perspective taking is required for researching taken for granted assumptions and automatic behavior in boards.

Through her work Marilieke has developed a method that improves board’s decision-making, taking into account governance rules, codes and routines.

She combines her consulting work on board effectiveness, self-evaluations, strategy and leadership with lecturing post-doctorates on strategy realization in the Finance and Control Program at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. During her PhD Marilieke was assigned by the Housing Associations Authority to research how boards monitor the risks of long tenured CEO’s. She published the Dutch report ‘Kracht en Tegenkracht’ (Power and Countervailing power) in 2019 (see also