The Art of Consensus

Lastly I spoke to my former boss.  He is a French man. In the time we worked together he was Managing Director of the Netherlands. In our conversation we talked about cultural sensitivity. In a multicultural environment you have to adapt to the different cultures, especially the French because this culture was clearly dominant within the company we both worked for.

Three key learnings which he welcomed from his experiences working in the Netherlands;

  1. The art of consensus: we talk with all people involved and find solutions. The solution is something which anyone embraces and at the end is accepted by everyone at the table
  2. Transparancy: in directness a certain efficiency is included. You know when a project starts or when it ends. Clarity from begin to end.
  3. Balanced work/private life: we work hard, but evenso find time to relax within our private time.

Of course these generalisations will not apply to every Dutch person. But in general I recognise the constructive critical behaviour of the Dutch in business. We are not reluctant to raise our voice, not because we are over confident, but more related in an urge to contribute.

Consensus has had a bad connotation in terms of “Hollanditis”. In my opinion this attitude still exists. Another attitude is after we found consensus we don’t stop talking or discussing and sometimes fail to act.

In the end there is nothing wrong with finding the better solutions by listening to all stakeholders at the table. Angela Merkel puts it in her own words.

The art of consensus brings us closer to an agreement in which all parties are heard. In that respect this is a gain.
Pleasure to do business with you as a Dutchman.

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