Members' Council Column: "Trust is indispensable for any good conversation to succeed"

January 19, 2022
Herman de Jong
The Council of Members regularly publishes a column in which a topic is discussed that concerns a member of the Council of Members, but also observations and developments are discussed. This time, it is Herman de Jong, member of the Council of Members and the Finance committee. Herman is the owner of De Jong Flowers b.v. in North Holland.
If you're talking about financial issues, then trust has to be there. I have been a member of the Finance Committee for a number of years now. This is one of the things I have learned. Together with the other committee members, we discuss important financial issues with David (van Mechelen, financial director) and his team. Think about ict, Aalsmeer-Oost, order picking and also the rates for the next year. We represent the interests of our members. Sometimes there are tough discussions.

Trust is there

Why is trust so important? You have to be sure that you can say anything to each other. That you can be critical of each other. That the other person enters the conversation with an open mind, without a double agenda. And that trust is there. Between the members of the Finance Committee, between the Committee and the Members' Council and between the Committee and David's team. Any question that arises can be asked. And if something still bugs us afterwards, we can always turn to each other. That makes the cooperation within all these bodies very pleasant and useful.

Member council maximally connected

The Finance committee's role is to prepare decision-making in the Members’ Council. We have already done the preliminary work for everything that has to do with finance in the Members’ Council. In a clear memo, we explain to the other members what our advice is. We also explain what pros and cons we see. And whether we have any objections. In this way, every member of the Members’ Council can make a well-considered decision. And they should, because every member is personally responsible for the choice he or she makes. That is why we do our best to get the members of the Members’ Council as involved as possible.

Solid discussion

A good example of how this works is the rate structure. That is a subject that recurs every year. This year, there was quite a bit of substantive discussion. And we had a robust discussion with the management about it. In the end, you can't be right on every point. It's about the total package. And that package is good for the whole sector. That means that sometimes we as a committee have to make concessions in order to win something else. Ultimately, we also share this in the memo to the full Members’ Council. So that they understand how certain choices have come about. And can make a well-considered decision based on that.

We do it for you

The great thing about my membership of the Finance committee is that I can directly help keep our cooperative financially strong and healthy. That is in the interest of all members and of the entire floriculture sector. We live in a rapidly changing world. Scaling up, digitalisation, and so on - and we have to keep up. But in the meantime, we have to keep our operations running smoothly. And that is why we are here. On behalf of you, the members of the cooperative. And I hope that we can continue to count on your trust. Because as I started this story: trust is essential for any good conversation to succeed.

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