Man at the top 20 talking heads What's NewS Issue 2 February 1996 Recently appointed operations divisional chief Henk van der Stelt (37) brings a broad range of consultancy and corporate experience to his new job. Over 1 5 years with top Dutch consultants Twijnstra Gudde took him into almost every bank in the Netherlands. 'But Rabobank is special,' he says. One of the first things that strikes you about Henk van der Stelt is an almost tangible energy. Another is his ready laugh and obvious humour. He has the distinct air of someone who's up against a real challenge - and clearly enjoying every minute of it. 'I am,' he says with his rather boyish grin. 'My time with Twijnstra Gudde was hard work, but also a lot of fun. That's very important to me. I had great colleagues there who are real professionals and very critical - I thrive on constructive criticism. But after 15 years I was ready for a new challenge. I know it's an over-used word. Yet, it's how 1 see it. There is so much to do here at Rabobank. Operations and the IT systems and know how that support them have already become a dominant factor in maintaining a competitive edge in the banking industry. I'm really looking forward to being part of creating that kind of edge here. Again, it will be hard work - however sophisticated the systems, IT essentially starts with people. My job is to motivate them. For me, the real challenging and fascinating aspect is generating a synergy between all the disciplines, and to me that means the people, in the bank.' Van der Stelt clearly relishes the prospect of the work ahead. 'It's the Calvinist background coming through,' he laughs. 'There are people who would say I work too much, so can't really enjoy life. But work is part of the enjoyment. Yet in true Calvinist style, even the enjoyment has to be functional. You have to earn your money, sweat for a living. At the same, a day without a laugh is a lost day. I've always worked. My parents are working-class people. They created the opportunity for me to go to university but I had to work my way through. 1 delivered telegrams for the PTT, worked on production lines and in stores. It taught me a lot. You have to be a self- starter to combine study and working for a living. And I was always active in university oganizations and committees. I learned to organize there as well as everything else.' Committee work remains a part of Van der Stelt's life. In fact, until his appointment as operations chief, he was on the supervisory board of the local member bank in Amersfoort. 'I had to give that up when I joined the bank,' he says. 'You cannot be an employee and a board member at the same time - it's a conflict of interest. I have always been involved in board work on a voluntary basis, such as our local library and kindergarten, and other community services.' Asked how he finds the time to fit in all of these 'hobbies' as he calls them, he says: 'I'm fortunate in that we have a manager at home. My wife runs our household and takes care of our two children, a girl of almost 13 and a boy who is eight. It's a tough job, not least because she is also in her third year as a theology student. She creates the strong home base which enables me to do things. I'm very, very lucky.' Van der Stelt finds time for his 'hobbies' because he believes strongly in contributing to the community he lives in. 'But it also has to do with interacting with people,' he says. 'I think that's one of the leit motivs that runs through my life. Management has to do with people. You know, everyone needs attention. I need attention. If you don't listen to people, if you don't understand them, then you can't motivate them. Getting the best out of people is more than a matter of salary, it has a lot to do with satisfaction, with a sense of holland update ENVIRONMENT (1) The Dutch Association of Banks and the Ministry of Economie Affairs have signed a letter of intent to explore ways to improve banks' efficiënt energy use by between 2 and 3 percent per year over the next decade.Concrete plans will be launched next year. ENVIRONMENT (2) Rabobank cheque cards are made from PVC which is not a particularly environmentally friendly material. However, between 95 and 98 percent of old cards are recycled into a variety of other products. appreciation. Of course, people want to earn good j salaries. But if you're not earning enough, that is only a dissatisfier. Satisfiers are challenges, good colleagues, a pleasant environment in which to work, the opportunity to develop your skills and talents. If you have those things, then you can reach almost impossible goals. And there's that incredible sense of achievement when you have reached them. That's how you motivate people. I want to continually push our borders further. I would like to see our team working on the basis that everything we do today can be done better tomorrow. I want them to come up with constructive criticism. I'll certainly listen.' He has done a lot of listening in the first few weeks in his new job. 'I already have a lot of impressions - on the culture, the organization, the informal way people work together, but they are still only impressions' he confirms. 'It would be wrong to come up with conclusions at this early stage. It would be wrong because I want to avoid becoming trapped in first impressions which may be incorrect. I've promised my colleagues I will teil them what I think after I've been here for three months. Come back to me then and I'll teil you, too.' LOYALTY PACKAGE The bank is to launch a customer loyalty program for retail customers in response to aggressive marketing by the Postbank, part of the ING group. PAYING IN CYBERSPACE Early next year, the Dutch banks' payments organization, Interpay, and KPN, the telecommunication company, are to start a pilot program fo payments via Internet. The pilot is designed to explore how a safe and reliable system can be developed.

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blad 'What's news' (EN) | 1996 | | pagina 20