So you think you can write a book about your ideas? #cultivatethatmindset

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Ever since I joined ABN AMRO I’ve actively been thinking about how we could do things in a smarter way. I’d initially start with small experiments, then, once I’d got some feedback (through a little pushing and tugging) I’d scale things up a bit. Now it has become my job, and I’ve even written a book about it!

It had to be written

I’m now responsible for modernising our job classification system, for defining the knowledge and skills people need to fulfil specific roles at ABN AMRO. At the moment, these job specifications often cover five or more sheets of paper. We’ve decided to jettison that approach, make things more transparent and base them on the capacities people have. Obviously, though, it’s going to take some effort to turn things around. After all, we’ve been doing it in the same way for years. For example, I began trialling Performance Management more than two years ago, and we’ve only just adapted our CLA accordingly. We’ve stopped conducting performance appraisals, and our employees and teams now set their own targets. That also took two years. But by starting small, you can sometimes get big changes under way. One day, when I was telling the parents of a friend of mine (both aged 70+) what I do at the bank, my friend said: ‘You ought to write it down; it’s something lots of people need to know about.’ The idea appealed to me and I started jotting down notes the very same day. I then got things moving by persuading my manager to sponsor the first print run. So now it had to be written!

We can always do better

And now my book has been published, which is great! It gives tips on how ordinary employees can work from within their organisation to really change things. Do I think my co-workers still need my book? We seem to be doing pretty well at the bank, but I think we can always do better. It’s also clear that some departments find it easier to get to grips with change than others. One of the most important lessons in my book is to recognise what was good about the old processes, structures and mindsets. After all, they had their value and proved their worth over many years, so it’s only natural that people will want to hang on to them. So don’t be hostile if they don’t come on board as quickly as you’d like. Let the system work for you, keep lines of communication open, stay positive, and slowly but surely you’ll convince people, and then you can work together to get change under way!

A team effort

The same thing applies to my book. When I told my co-workers about my intention to write it, one of them, who’s good at drawing, said he’d provide the illustrations. Another suggested a person to write the foreword, while others offered useful feedback in the early stages. Like the process of change itself, the making of this book was a real team effort!

If you’d like to read Nathalie’s book on breakthrough thinking, entitled Give me a break, you can order it from KidsRights, the children’s rights organisation that invests in children as change-makers. All proceeds from the sale will be used to benefit KidsRights.

To order a copy and make a direct donation to KidsRights, click on the link below: https://www.push4kidsrights.nl/givemeabreak

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