Together with his brother Henk, Klaas Kroezen founded WUA! in 2008. As a CEO, he is ultimately responsible for WUA!, and Klaas mainly focuses on customers, the team, and business & sales development in his daily work. He takes a cold shower every morning, takes a deep breath according to the Wim Hof method, and he loves yoga. And eating crisps.
Today is February 15th, 2016. How was January?
Klaas Kroezen: “January was a great month. It was the start of a year full of challenges, and the point where the counter goes back to zero. It was the month in which annual plans with customers are completed, and WUA!’s own plans and main focal points for 2016 are finalised and shared with the team. We do this every four months on the beach with our regular coach. Additionally, January is the month of the annual WUA! winter sports. The last quarter of 2015 was the busiest and best quarter ever in the history of WUA! Everyone in the team has worked very hard and has gone the extra mile, and as a result we have some very satisfied customers, international customers, and a substantial growth in revenue. And how cool is it to celebrate the joint success together in the mountains. On the slopes, and perhaps more often at the bar. Or underneath. That is pure bliss.”
Why did you found WUA!?
“I founded WUA! together with Henk in order to be able to live our own dreams. I want to organise my life the way I want. In addition, it has always been our vision that we want to gather people around us who are also living their dreams and who are working on this on a daily basis. Those are usually the best people to surround yourself with and who give you the most energy. I am convinced that you get more done this way, and that some sort of “magic” can develop within teams. With people who believe that the impossible is still possible. At WUA! we often say: “Together we live our dreams.” Perhaps that is what it really is all about for us: using your own strength to live your own dream, and to then inspire other people to do the same.
“When we founded WUA! on January 1st 2008, we took on a coach and we first thought long and hard about the ‘gap’ in the online market for a year. The key principle we have always applied: ‘First who, then what’, inspired by the books Good to Great and Eckart’s Notes. In other words: culture first, and then the rest. This is a sacred principle for the recruitment policy at WUA! and how we work within the team every day. We invest heavily in our people by allowing them to express their dreams and ambitions, and we will always continue to do so. Even if those ambitions were to lie outside the professional opportunities WUA! has to offer.”
What can we wake you up for in the morning?
“For a smile from my future wife, Rosalie :)”
Who are your heroes?
“Oh, there really are quite a few. Wim Hof (the Iceman) with whom I’ve set a world record to the summit of Kilimanjaro (48 hours, 5,895 meters). Every day I do the exercises I learned from him. Breathing exercises and cold showers. Anthony Robbins, without his lessons we would never have gotten to where we are now with WUA!. His ideas were implemented within WUA! from the beginning. In April we’re going to London with the WUA! team for a 4 day seminar. With one goal, knowing what everyone is really going for. Personally and professionally. Tijn Touber: Tijn allowed me to experience the power of meditation at a young age, and I continued to do this and I really got into it. Fantastic! Yogananda: This is the person who brought yoga to the Western world. The philosophy behind yoga fascinates me and I apply it to my daily life. Ambition and results outside your door. Focus on becoming slightly stronger each day. Richard Branson: As a little boy I read Richard Branson’s books. Amazing! Couldn’t put it down! An example for me. For him is it always about people as well. Steve Jobs: In one word, brilliant. Maniacally genius!”
You have to choose: Having to brush your teeth with steak tartare every day for the rest of your life, or sleeping in a bed full of cheese and onion crisps. Why?
“Let’s just go for the bed full of cheese and onion crisps. I really love food!”
What do you like most about working for WUA! and what are your ambitions?
“The best about WUA! is the team of professionals who aim at delivering the highest quality every day, with satisfied customers as a result.
“My dream ambition is to put WUA! on the map worldwide. With our philosophy about culture and how to create teams. With the benchmark. With many winners of studies in various sectors and countries. With perhaps at some point a campus on WUA! beach in Thailand where we build THE worldwide knowledge centre for the ultimate digital experience for sales and service. In other words: a knowledge and training centre where we can help all companies in the world with Digital Excellence.”
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned from 8 years of WUA!?
“To always operate from my own strength. Focus on continuous improvement in small steps with the long-term dream ambition in sight. For me, a dream ambition is something that makes me excited and seems impossible.
“When you’re dealing with the end result, you easily lose 50 percent of your focus. It’s better to let go of the end result and focus 100 percent on the improvement process and improving continuously in small steps by finding the points of resistance and overcoming them. And enjoying that kind of stuff in particular! You have real influence on the ‘journey’ you embark on together, but not so much on the actual end result. Then the result is only a consequence, and you’ve done the maximum to get the best possible result.”
If you could bring three things to a uninhabited island, what would you bring?
“Fire, a fishing rod, and Rosalie.”
Are you like your friends?
“I asked Rosalie this question. Well… Erm, no. Apparently I’m one of a kind… :)”
When was the last time you cried?
“January 2014, when my favourite uncle passed away (53). He was an example to me in entrepreneurship. At the end of January 2014 I climbed to the summit of Kilimanjaro and in my mind he was climbing with me.”
What book is on your bedside cabinet?
“Various ones. Bhagavad Gita and the seven spiritual laws of success. I read books you can keep rereading because every time you’re in a different phase of your life.”
What’s your motto in life?
“Anything is possible! Live! Do what you really want to do. There is always a way!”
What’s the worst thing you’ve done after a Christmas party?
“I remember very well that there was a layer of snow after a Christmas party, and it was very slippery. And yes, before I knew it I was sprawled in the street on my own…”