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Wendy van Ierschot: ‘Never lose sight of possibilities’

Organization & Teams

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April 22, 2020

August 26, 2020

VIE’s CEO Wendy Van Ierschot is disappointed by yesterdays press conference. ‘If I would lead my business the way our government is leading the country, my company would not survive.’

What did you think of Mark Rutte’s speech yesterday?

‘I think his way of communicating is very good. He chooses his words wisely and shows his emotions. But in terms of vision, I’m disappointed. He didn’t give us any perspective on the future – and that’s exactly what we need right now. We can’t keep the entire economy in lockdown much longer, without a vision on how we can emerge stronger.

The truth is: if I would lead my business the way our government is leading the country, my company would not survive.’


What are the main problems in the current strategy, according to you?

‘First of all, I think the Outbreak Management Team, on which the government bases its policy, is not inclusive enough. The vast majority consists of only people in the medical field, but there is a financial, economic and psychological side to this crisis as well. The number one rule when it comes to making decisions, is: look at the problem from different angles. Right now I get the impression the government is suffering from tunnel vision.

Which leads me to the second point. We entrepreneurs, adaptable as we are, like to say: never waste a good crisis. As painful as they are, I believe they can be a chance to start doing things differently.

It has become clear that many people at risk have other, related health problems.  Where are the investments done in health care that we will benefit from in the long run? Where are the solutions to make us live more healthy lives? I don’t see any of that happening right now, but these measures could have a great positive impact on society.

Last bust but not least, I think the government is somewhat patronizing at the moment, not relying enough on the sense of responsibility most of us have. I think so much more is possible in this pandemic –– as long as we would have a bit more space to be creative.’


What does the current situation mean for business owners? How should they act?

‘Like so many other questions in the current crisis, it all depends. If you’re in events management, your problems now are much bigger than if you’re in the IT business, for example.

First and foremost, keep paying close attention to your team and their needs. Their sense of safety is essential for your business. Even though we’re still working from home, already start thinking of ways to make working from the office possible in the near future.

I’m happy to see that many entrepreneurs, in close contact with their staff, are already returning back to normal a bit, within the health precautions they need to take. Don’t push your staff, but lead them.  

Finally: never lose sight of possibilities. Have a look at your product, your marketing and your sales and think of ways to them thrive in the current situation. Work on the foundations of your company. Would you hire everyone again if you could choose? Are your finance overviews focused on cashflow? If not, now’s the time to repair and build.

That’s what we entrepreneurs are good at – and what our government is not showing enough.’

Links:

Listen to Wendy’s podcast ”Deze tools heb je nodig bij het werken in een nieuwe wereld”

and read Wendy's personal note to Mark Rutte about the intelligent open-up which we we're all hoping for

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