3 times hurray for the new Belgian Government!


(image by Bruno Desclee)

Belgium finally has a new government after 541 days of negotiations.   A new world record, that is!

This feels absurd to many, including myself.  It feels even more absurd when you look back at the events during that period.

Many roles were introduced to solve the formation blockage. We had :

  • a informateur
  • a pre-formateur
  • 2 mediators
  • a clarificator
  • another mediator
  • another informateur
  • a negotiator
  • and finally a formateur.

Many started with great energy and the best intentions, but soon threw the towel in the ring.

Even stranger was the ease with which all parties around the table ignored the sense of urgency.  At many times, the public had the impression that these politicians were just goofing along, not to be stressed by the growing discontent amongst the Belgians.  Several times, the media used terms as ‘final deadline’, or ‘point of no return‘.  Our dear politicians, however, could not be bothered by these expectations.  They could not be stressed, certainly not by a deadline.

Not even when the absence of a government started to influence the local stock exchange.  In the meanwhile, 2 large banks got into trouble and had to be nationalized.  When a 3rd bank got into sight of the nervous market, they kept their cool and continued their steady pace of negotiations.

We Belgians are calm people by nature. We’re living in a small country that has been invaded many times in the past.  The best thing to do was to shut up and play along, until another invader came along.  I wonder what would have happened if this scenario took place in … Turkey, for instance…

But that’s not the way of the Belgians, we riot on Facebook and keep our cool in public.

Sure we feel frustrated, by my biggest concern is about the bad example that has been set again by our dear government officials.  Don’t stress, take your time, avoid commitment until things fix themselves.  This approach already lives in government and private companies in Belgium and has an effect on organizational efficiency.

If our ‘role model’ doesn’t lead by example, what is to be expected of its followers?  How can we create a culture that grows innovation, leadership and accountability, if the system that should be supporting it is promoting the opposite values?

Just had to get this off my chest!  Feeling better now 🙂

About Nick Oostvogels

Hi, I'm an independent management consultant. My biggest strengths are located in the fields of teamwork, motivation, leadership and continuous improvement. In the IT industry you find a lot of these values in the agile movement, in which I often act as a project leader, product owner or coach. My interests go a lot further, into other industries where we find these values in lean production. Besides that, I try to broaden my horizon as much as possible, always looking for better ways of doing business.

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