Like our director, I too am old school. At the same time, however, we are both progressive and want to share our experiences with our younger colleagues at ICA. But this is only beneficial when you have the ability to learn from the past. Falling down is not a bad thing. You can always get back up. If you have never had to deal with setbacks, you do not learn anything.
I always compare it with a ‘little trip’ I once made by bicycle from Italy to the Netherlands. This was a ride of about 1400 km and, believe me, I suffered and even almost blacked out. Sport is a great way to use your energy and I have always taken part in various activities, from football and triathlon to cycling. Giving up is not part of my vocabulary and that is the ethos I try to convey to those around me.
It is so easy to compare everything with the past and say it was so much better then. We say it, our parents said it and I guess today’s younger generation will conclude similar in 30 years. History always repeats itself. But is it really true? Partly, perhaps. But it does not have to be that way.
It is scientifically proven that our environment influences our well-being. For example, a study was once carried out on the recovery of patients who had either just a bare wall to look at or a view of nature. What did it show? Patients with a view of greenery recovered better and faster than patients who had a view of a wall. It is the same in the workplace. We are all influenced by various factors in our everyday lives: it goes without saying that if you are surrounded by many positive and inquisitive colleagues, you will experience your work differently than when surrounded by 50 doomsayers.
Over the past few months, a number of people have applied for positions with ICA. They all provided feedback indicating that we are on the right track – ‘outsiders’ who follow our publications on social media. A nice compliment that we appreciate, but we do not want to dwell on it for too long.
After all, we wish to move forward. For example, we meet every two weeks with our field team and office staff to discuss areas for improvement, exchange knowledge and up our game. It is essential that our colleagues at ICA develop a kind of natural instinct in order to see opportunities and capitalise on them.
Like many others, I also had to roll up my sleeves to learn the trade. There is nothing wrong with hard work and it is a great learning experience. Nowadays, a lot of young people do not want to put in the effort and starting off in the warehouse is almost considered insulting. Some young people who have not long left school expect to immediately take the director’s seat. In bicycle racing, a leader was once a domestique and a professional footballer needs thousands of training hours under his belt. He will not be a captain at 20, apart from exceptions such as Cruyff perhaps.
The tile trade is a fast-paced business. You must be both flexible and patient. If not, you could easily make a mistake. By sharing knowledge and experience with each other, we aim to better serve our clients. We want to be proactive and not wait until something just happens. As I get older, I feel a growing sense of responsibility, a need to impart my experience. Time is short. Maybe that is why I often feel it is speeding up.