Article by Michael Bouwens
CEO & Founder bij bouwens&
It is in challenging times that you really get to know people. Interesting things are currently happening in terms of cooperation and partnership.
Although it is very rare, there are certain relationships that were close pre-corona, but have unfortunately chilled overnight. Suddenly there is a distant tone with sometimes even a threatening legal touch. Obviously panicky behavior, and therefore understandable, yet still unpleasant for everyone involved.
From an entrepreneurial perspective, I believe that we currently benefit collectively from choosing professional solidarity. As far as I am concerned, that means above all: showing understanding for each other's situation and supporting each other where possible. Make clear to customers and (other) partners, for example, what challenges you have, how you think you will deal with them and delve into the challenges of the other person. Then discuss what you can do for each other. This is of course what one would do under normal circumstances, but it is currently very important to do it in a completely different context. Under a completely different form of pressure.
“We will come out of this better and stronger and not in the least part because of our employees. They are strong, brave and confident. Exactly the qualities that they also show in good times.”
Transparency is key in times of crisis. That requires a vulnerable attitude. For example, it means that the regular text "of course we can manage that" may be replaced by "we will do our best to manage it". That is usually not the text you use in a business relationship, but it is a text that better reflects the - new - reality. Please note that this does not mean that you have to indicate in advance that you may not achieve a certain objective. On the contrary. What you do mean is: I'm not going to disappoint you, despite of the circumstances.
Although we as an organization are also experiencing headwinds, we are rock solid. We will come out of this better and stronger and not in the least part because of our employees who are at work in the office, at home or at the client. They are strong, brave and confident. Exactly the qualities that they also show in good times.
But a factor that’s also very important is the excellent relationship we have built over the years with customers, suppliers and other partners. It’s the reason we can honestly ask each other in these challenging times: can you help me out?