We are pleased to offer this week a blog from Ingrid van Zutphen of CPM, our partners in the Netherlands. 


‘You can’t change the wind, but you can adjust the sails.’  The Dutch government have shown incredible flexibility and adaptability during this crisis by following a clear direction (‘flatten the curve’) and adjusting the sails continuously. With 50% of the information, they take 100% of the decisions. Crises demand flexibility and adaptability from everyone. You are the captain of the ship. You determine the direction and adjust the sails.  

Be reliable

In turbulent times we need something to rely on. For you as a leader to be reliable means do what you say, say what you are doing and don’t say things you cannot realise.  Don’t make well-intentioned  but empty promises. They don’t help and they make you unreliable. 

What does help? 
The US research professor Brené Brown (University of Houston) makes a difference between sympathy and empathy. With the first we try to take away someone’s discomfort by silver lining it. But this drives disconnection. What fuels connection is empathy. Empathy is feeling with people, without a silver lining. Only connection can soften it. An empathetic reaction makes you reliable.


Ellen Coopmans (CHRO bol.com) says in Management Site: ‘I call and Skype much more nowadays. I show myself and discuss much more than usually. As a leader in periods of crisis you have to be visible and stay in contact with your team’.  In prehistoric times people lived in tribes to survive. Now colleagues are our tribe. And in turbulent times we want to know that we belong to the tribe. By connecting with your tribe, you as a leader set the example. Not of knowing it all. But an example of humanity, with all the feelings, discomfort and insecurities that come with being human.

This is the time for investing in learning. Contact us to find out how we can help you.

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