Members' Council Column: "Let us hear from you when things are going well"

March 22, 2022
We are a cooperative. An association with a business of which we are joint owners. Rieneke van der Houwen is the owner of a business. “A business I am proud of. I am not only proud of the flowers we grow. I am just as proud of the people who work for us. Because together, we get it done."

We ensure a beautiful, healthy company, with a fantastic range of products. I would be happy to give them a compliment more often. Because nothing is alien to me. If something goes wrong, I immediately sound the alarm. But when things are going well, I find that normal. And it is normal. But that doesn't mean you don't have to tell the other person that you're happy with the work they do.

Happy with what we have

I see the same thing in our cooperative. So much is going well. What we often do is: only raise our voice when things are not going so well. Let me cite an example from my own experience. Recently, we auctioned our Amaryllis. And I don't know what caused it, but there was a dip during the auction. Some of our flowers went away lower priced than expected during that dip. Other numbers left that auction session for the 'normal' prices. We noticed this, so we went to see the auctioneer. We got the response: 'It's true, maybe we should have looked at it better at the time. But many things have gone very well this season, haven't they? And they did. Then I scratched my head. Indeed: is this the way we should communicate? Just a phone call at a time like this, while it's a very good season? That gave me an insight: sometimes it is nice to let people know when things are going well. To send an app or make a phone call and say: going well, thanks! That's not in our system and that's actually a shame.

Of course: if something doesn’t go the way you like, you should bring it up. Not by kicking it, but by starting a conversation. That's how I do it at the company too. If an employee is not functioning well, we sit down at the table. We discuss what's wrong and try to find a solution. This is also possible at the auction. Or even stronger: it has to be done. Because the auction is us. As a member, you are the co-owner.

Signal meter as an important tool

Believe me: I don't always agree with what is happening. That we have to comply with so many obligations and controls. Sometimes I am completely fed up with it. But then I realise that if I don't like something, I will discuss it. And the auction is not a speedboat, is it? It is a tanker. It sometimes takes a bit longer before you notice anything. Nevertheless, I see that we have already achieved a great deal in recent years. The Members’ Council has found its role. And that is: to hear what members are up against. And to bring those issues to the attention of those who make policy. Via the signal meter, we provide insight into how we prioritise signals. And which actions correspond to the signals.

In March and April, we will again be organising Member Sessions to collect signals from Members. And I would like to call on you: pick up the gauntlet. Think along, take part. You are also the owner of the cooperative. And if you can, pay each other a compliment for once, instead of just giving feedback.

The Members’ Council regularly publishes a column in which a topic is discussed that concerns a member of the Members’ Council, but also observations and developments are discussed. This time, it is Rieneke van der Houwen, member of the Member Council and member of the Member Liaison committee, who shares her opinion with you. Rieneke is co-owner of Amaranthos Flowers in South Holland.

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