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Today I read in the newspaper (NRC Handelsblad) an interview with Jan Terlouw. He is 85, a children’s book author and former politician. He gave a seven minutes speech last week in the most popular tv talk show about trust. Our small nation was impressed. And inspired. In this interview he states that people don’t change, in thousands of years they didn’t. How they manifest themselves depends upon the circumstances. Currently we live in circumstances that breed distrust, [..] but this can change in a moment.

In the same paper there is an interview with the Nobel price winner Kahneman. He states that if you want to change behavior, you need to change the conditions people are in. Create conditions that support the desired behavior. Don’t force people, don’t give incentives. You need to increase the power and quality of gossip.

I fully agree with them. I’ve had problems believing that humanity is becoming more and more beautiful and altruistic as spiral dynamics and other approaches are suggesting. Just look around please. I’m not pessimistic. It’s just what it is. Not good, not bad. The reinventing organization ideas of Laloux are wonderful but skip the Teal part (although it was my mother’s favorite color). It’s just about creating circumstances in which people can flourish. For some the circumstances need to be strict and you end up in holacracy and for other’s they can be more open.

In workshops it’s always wonderful to see how conditions can support people to open up, change behavior and create a more loving atmosphere. Explain the four levels of listening, team them up in pairs and ask them what life circumstances have made them who they are today. No dialogue, just sharing. It’s hard to have them stop talking again. But how to do this in a bigger context? We’re pretty good now in creating circumstances that generate distrust. How to change this around? I’ll start tomorrow with a new Management Team. Let’s sleep on it. TBC

Pieter van den Hoogenband (three times Gold Olympic swimmer) shared (again in the same newspaper! What an hour well spent!) that the Olympic Games are not once in four years, but every day. At least for top athletes. They need to improve every day. It’s wonderful to make plans and set goals but eventually it’s all about blood, sweat and tears. And that’s no different in real life: what are you yearning for? Athletes don’t wait for tomorrow. They start right away (don’t wonder what’s holding you back, just start).


Humanity isn’t changing. But you can.

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