Moeidu

Woke up this morning with Wouter Torfs on my Facebook wall. Probably because Mr Zuckerberg decided it was relevant.

Friday is our Herculean Scrum day. We look back one week, try to be thankful, finish stuff that should have been finished, do some serious cheering, learn new insights and start making new plans for the next week…because the world changed again, like every week. And guess what: things you couldn’t predict or imagine DID happen, just like every week.

We believe that an agile mindset, a growth mindset, brings happiness.

It rarely happens that I relate nearly 100% with an interview. And it almost never happens that I listen more than once. This time it was different. Kudos Wouter Torfs, Zwijgen is geen optie and Anthony Bosschem. You made me smile. You made me think and write. Here’s the interview in Dutch.

Want to share a few personal take-aways to remember when I turn 45 at the end of this year (no, not 50!!!)

“Pull yourself by the hair out of the swamp”, is exactly what I told the crowd a few days ago. And it made me very emotional on stage when I said it and looked at Inge and my parents from stage. Being a first generation entrepreneur, chasing your dream, feeling like everything depends on you, having to “fix” everything, is the most difficult part of the job. It’s a marathon. It’s draining. Nobody will do it for you. It shapes you, but it confronts you with loneliness. My family, enough rest and daily meditation keep my energy levels high.

Et Alors? When you are out there, doing everything you can, fighting for every inch, protecting your baby, you often get the feeling that people turn against you. That the gods are testing you to see if you really want to go for it. During that struggle you go from mistake to mistake. You learn and adapt. As I turn older, I become milder. I’m not there yet though, but I should according to my personal coach. Because it’s bad for my heart.

A company is more than a money-machine. As I’m a huge fan of cooperative thinking, this one’s right up my alley. Torfs grew tremendously in the past 10 years. And they did it while being Best Employer for 6 years. Respect! The multiples are comparable, but Torfs’ numbers are a lot bigger. Like…a lot! The challenges are the same I guess, because they don’t depend on the size of the numbers, but on the multiples. A company that grows 1% every year has different challenges than a company that grows with two digits year after year. When I explain our cooperative structure, I still see people think we are not about making money. People who join Herculean sometimes mistakenly think it’s all about “Flower Power”. It’s not. It’s about a lot of hard work and about growing! We ARE about making money and profit (otherwise you go out of business) but we are about sustainable growth and getting the right people on board and doing the right thing. We are about creating a system where the right people stay and other people automatically leave, no hard feelings. Where the right people build amazing experiences for customers, so customers come back and buy more, become ambassador and convince other customers to join, so we make a profit and stakeholders are happy about their investment. Not just happy about the financial return, but happy they could change the world a little bit. Happy they did it together with a lot of Herculeans out there.

“Moeidu”, or speak up! Anthony, the interviewer says: I can imagine that Barbara sometimes says: “Wouter, do shut up, we sell shoes Wouter, SHOES!” I couldn’t stop laughing when I heard that. As I had the opportunity to get to know Barbara a little bit in the past weeks – as she will become our new Managing Director Belgium and member of the Board – I could actually SEE her saying it 🙂 It’s in fact a topic that we discussed regularly during our initial talks: how far can you go as a company when it comes to formulating a public opinion? Inge and myself like to keep a low profile when it comes to our personal opinions. Inge even more than me. Lately, this is changing with everything we see happening in the world. As Hercules Trophy is a corporate festival, it represents a certain group of like-minded people and it’s our moral duty to formulate our opinions from time to time. So, Barbara, it’s now your time to speak up! 😉

 

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