"Whether you build dikes or windmills, whether you play soccer or hockey; whether you want to improve governance or marketing in cooperatives: good cooperation will help you to go forward."
Read the blog of Jan Heemskerk, business advisor at Agriterra.
Yes, the countdown to the Olympic Games has started! Since the 5th of August our Dutch athletes will try to become gold-diggers again, this time in Rio. Looking back to our national sport-history, the Dutch have excelled mostly in team sports. We became famous with our Total Football concept, invented by Rinus Michels in cooperation with Johan Cruijff. This influential tactical theory of football, in which any outfield player can take over the role of any other player in a team, was revolutionary in sports and this resulted in many successes in the team sport history of our small country.
Nowadays the national soccer-team of the Dutch is less inspiring: other teams have copied our successful tactics and added some aspects, like physical strength and defensibility. Also in other sports Dutch male teams have a lack of success. On the other hand we notice a new interesting development. Once of a sudden a brand new Dutch generation of individualistic talents is knocking on heaven’s door. Athletes like Bauke Mollema, Epke Zonderland, Tom Dumoulin, Max Verstappen and Steven Kruijswijk are surprising the world with their performances.
Last week Lonieke de Ruiter and I did the second pilot of the Agriterra Marketing Basics training for dairy- and coffee cooperatives in Nairobi, Kenya. To explain why the Dutch have so many successful cooperatives, we sometimes show participants parts of the Discovery movie “Holland’s barriers to the sea”. This movie shows how the Dutch had to fight for their country against the see. The only way to survive was to cooperate and build the dikes and windmills together. This improved year after year our cooperative mindset and explains our cooperative strength.
What a fantastic job to teach people abroad, how to use this cooperative strength in their business! Like Otis Redding I’ve got dreams to remember: the energetic atmosphere during the training, the wonderful speech of Peris Njenga, the great Meru Dairy team, winning the typical Dutch windmill as the most active team. Whether you build dikes or windmills, whether you play soccer or hockey; whether you want to improve governance or marketing in cooperatives: good cooperation will help you to go forward.
Looking forward to Rio! Will the Dutch male teams reinvent themselves and win medals in team sports also? Are we learning from our more cooperative female teams? Or are we getting more and more successful in individualistic sports and are foreign male teams showing us how to cooperate in sports? Let’s hope we find the way back to our roots again. Go, Dutch, go!
Jan Heemskerk, business advisor