We celebrated this last week by inviting all our co-workers of the past decades. I asked our first training-actors how Cordes had influenced them: Teun shared that because of Cordes he was stuck, for the first time in his life, early morning in a traffic jam. He realized himself that he was now part of the real world and felt happy about it. Khaldoun confessed that he had become business savvy. In the early days he called Marga, our assistant, where he had to be during the day. He didn’t have a clue himself. He lost the confirmation of an assignment the moment he received it. Now he is the star of the ABN AMRO theatre play ‘De Prooi.’ Business savvy indeed. One of my first actions in those days was to make a fight over my salary. So my colleague Rieteke decided within a year to ask me to become partner, and entrepreneur.
Jeroen, Marieke, Marianne, Petra, Bas and Judith, they all started a company themselves and make now more money than what they earned working with us. Several other colleagues got a decent job at real organizations or other consultancies (Coca-Cola, Municipality of The Hague, University of Groningen, C&F Report, Albeda College, Ministry of Infrastructure, Turner). We like to think that Cordes acted as a springboard for them.
Marga created a slide show of all the pictures of our ‘away days’ of the past 20 years: France, Finland, Belgium, Limburg, Rome, Greece and many more. No grey hair to be seen in the those days, no kids and no marriages either.
I feel grateful for everything I’ve learned the past years from my colleagues and partners. I became a ‘junior partner’ 20 years ago and led our firm during the difficult years of the internet bubble. Not many people can say that they have been working with a core group of people during 20 years! I worked for multinationals and small NGO’s, in huge strategy projects and on one on one coaching assignments. The picture above was taken for the website 7 years ago. My favorite quote was: ‘If it shows on the compass, you’re late.’
But now I’ve decided that it’s time for me to leave… ‘Letting go’ is a key element in our Theory U approach but far easier said than done. Especially if it’s not yet so clear what the wind is going to do. Or ‘what is emerging for you’ as we call it euphemistically in the U proces.
One thing is, that I want to dedicate more of my time to the prototype UNOO, the organization that I founded 3 years ago (only my son found out that it actually exists in 2012: 25 years! My mother started in 1987 her company. When she turned sick, I bought her shares, kept the legal entity and supported her with transferring business and co-workers to another Public Relations consultancy. Her firm was a sleeping beauty for many years and is revived again). Next to that I like to write more. I enjoyed writing my book ‘I am back-with love’ so much, and got such wonderful feedback that I am keen to continue this. The combination of Art, real creativity and business is another line I am going to explore the coming period. Talk to you soon! I am looking forward to it, and I am still in time.