Jan Terlouw

Our source of inspiration

Empowering people

After we adopted the name Stach for our new company, we wanted to talk to the writer of ‘De Koning van Katoren’, Jan Terlouw. In October 2010 we visited our source of inspiration.
We know him not only as a writer of children's books, but of course also as Minister of Economic Affairs and the Queen's Commissioner. And with that Terlouw has a wealth of managerial and leadership experience.

Our estimate was that Stach has a lot of qualities in common with Jan Terlouw himself. During our conversation about Stach, about issues in organizations and society and about leadership, Terlouw made a number of striking statements about leadership that are woven into our programs as starting points:

Leadership is not the same as management

"Management is how things are organized. Who does what. But the success of teams stands or falls with Leadership. A good leader has four qualities:
  • - vision: where are we going
  • - empathy: especially in this current time; attention and care for the other
  • - self-confidence: stand for what you stand for and be clear
  • - charisma: get the inspiration from yourself and know how you can translate this from your own strength what people feel, what must be conveyed. " 

Hear what someone is trying to say

"It is a basic problem for leaders when they cannot listen. In processes with resistance to a decision, it helps enormously to say: "You will not get your way and that is really annoying for you. But we are going to do it that way". Then that person feels heard and seen, and he or she will stay on board."

Show you trust people in their abilities

"We often see that managers want to do everything themselves and have little faith in their own people. Why do I trust people so much? I think that I might be able to do less than the others . That the other can do it much better. And in my previous political party, D66, we all have a strong faith in the strength of people. And people like it. They will just do it for you if you trust them."

Take action

"Much is said, but not it’s not always the case that much is done. Don't put off what you can do today, until tomorrow. And at least: DO SOMETHING! Only then can you make a difference."

Get the people involved in the process

"It is important to involve the people in the process who are part of the process or outcome. You see such stupid examples in the political system. When appointing a mayor, for example, the confidentiality committee full of council members follow the procedure. And those who have to work with the mayor, the aldermen, are not involved in the process. And it is just that group of people in particular who have to have a good chemistry with the new mayor."

Appoint things

"Often thoughts or feelings are put under the table. Things that make us uncomfortable. At departments in organizations, but also in society. For example, how we deal with people in wheelchairs. We are embarrassed that we can walk and we keep looking at that wheelchair. When I thought about that, I learned that it is best to ask directly: Why are you in a wheelchair? Then it is on the table. He knows that I am thinking about that. Once that issue is on the table and the answer is known, you will see the man again instead of the wheelchair. And so it is with many things. It must first be discussed, what is there."

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