woensdag 26 december 2012


If there is lack of confidence, does it help to talk about it extensively?

At the Amsterdam Municipality they thought so. A few years ago, officials noted that there was much mutual distrust within the civil service. Some refused to talk to others and there was a lot of time and energy lost by legitimizing to others of what one was doing. To change this a meeting was organized for senior management to discuss the topic of trust.

After the participants had split up into groups and had begun their conversations, the chairing committee soon noted proudly that indeed people were talking about trust. The then newly appointed municipal secretary was still enough Rotterdamlike to note that if the issue is trust, you are entitled to expect that people will talk about trust. But apparently in Amsterdam this was quite a lot already.

But even then, does the premise hold true which says that talking about confidence yields confidence? If only it were that simple, I tend to think. In many cases talking about something is no more than enthousiastically –  see photo – going around the core of the issue. Unless you structure the conversation solidly, control the structure closely and collect the results and store them; then you may win something.

Meanwhile the budgetcuts make sure there is less talk in Amsterdam. The lean years have come and a lot of talk turns out afterwards to have been primarily a luxury phenomenon. That it has largely passed the core may appear from the fact that trustless talk now in some cases has been replaced by trustless management, simply top-down. Too bad the fat years have not been better utilized.

Also see Unlearning