Why you should sail against the wind now

22 Jun 2020

Jan Rotmans, professor of Transition Studies at Erasmus University Rotterdam, was a guest at Talk of the Town last week and spoke about leadership in times of crisis. According to him, many large companies in the Netherlands are again making the same mistake in this crisis: they step on the brakes instead of seizing the corona crisis to change now.

The same mistake: necessity to change now

Jan: "I see that many large companies are making the same mistake again. They step on the brake and say: reorganize first and only then change. But that is short-term survival. Those who want to survive in the long term must change now. You have to do both, and keep the existing upright and renew it. If you don't, you show that you don't actually have a healthy business model."

Rotmans, who has been arguing for many years from his chair of Transitions at EUR for "tilting" society towards a more sustainable system, sees few real leaders setting a good example in the current crisis. According to him, another common mistake is that people only look upwards in times of crisis. "You will find good leadership everywhere, at companies and organizations at all levels. Everyone can show good leadership. Connecting leadership is necessary to connect the old with the new. But authentic leadership is also needed, with the guts to brave the storm. But the reflex of many people in times of crisis is looking up and waiting for a decision by a manager, often the director. Or they use the company's decision to stop spending money as an excuse. However, good leadership means being a little recalcitrant. Dare to row against the wind. Do what others don't expect. That is good leadership, but I see that relatively little in the Netherlands. "

Do you dare to change the course a bit or completely during these turbulent times?

Written by
Saskia van de Schoot

directeur new business

Saskia van de Schoot
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