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'If there is trust, people dare to take responsibility and act autonomously'

Tessa Swanenberg

Lead People & Organization, Commercial Operations Bol.com

Background

Bol.com, the shop for all of us, is constantly changing. A little better every day is their motto. Often with small steps and sometimes with big ones. In 2020 this was also the case with a major organizational change of the commercial department of bol.com. Tessa Swanenberg is responsible for the Way of working Team of Commercial Operations: 'Due to the organizational change, the nearly 600 people joined new, sometimes multiple, cross-functional teams. Our challenge was getting those new teams to operate as close-knit as quickly as possible. At bol.com we know that trust is the basis for this. After all, if there is trust, people dare to take responsibility and autonomy, leading to more enthusiasm, better cooperation in and between teams, and better results.

Bol.com asked De Droomfabriek to develop a program for the nearly 100 cross-functional and hierarchical executives within commerce. We see this group as the lever for the results and the development of people and teams. When it comes to building trust, they have an exemplary role.' said Tessa. We wanted a program in which we as managers could learn and experience what trust actually is and how you can build trust in yourself, in others and in teams.

Bol.com was already familiar with De Droomfabriek from an earlier team development program. Tessa: 'We chose De Droomfabriek because they understand the organizational impact for bol.com well and can tailor their programs accordingly. They are open and act as an equal partner, and at the same time they are confrontational and sharp on limiting patterns in our organization.'

The challenge

How do we ensure that we continue to work on trust in a rapidly and continuously changing organization, so that people and teams are passionate, take responsibility and achieve results.

 

Approach
We developed a program of 4 modules in close collaboration with bol.com. Each module builds on the previous one;

  1. Trust in yourself by experiencing how you consciously and unconsciously deal with trust.

  2. Confidence in the relationship with others, including by listening carefully.

  3. Trust in teams by understanding and responding to team dynamics.

  4. Building trust between people and teams in the complexity of the (matrix) organization.

 

In order to immediately strengthen trust between the nearly 100 managers, we worked in mixed groups. With a lot of attention for the bol's daily practice. Because that is where the learning happens. Between each module, participants have 1.5 months to practice with personal experiments. Experiments in showing different behavior and experiencing the effect of this. As a result, the learning curve is extra steep and participants already make an impact during the program. This process is further supported by interim guided intervision moments, in which the participants exchange experiences with each other and encourage each other to do new experiments.

The result

Despite the program had to be converted to an online program last minute due to Covid, it received an average rating of 9 out of 10 from the participants. A few reactions: 'Nice program, stimulates, makes you think!'; "I feel honored to have participated!'; 'Good theory, and not too vague & soft, with practical tools to go continue working with.'; 'I really liked the coaches! They took the discussions further and provided new insights.'

 

'Because of the mixed groups, the program immediately led to more trust between the participants. People increasingly sought each other out. Also about substantive things'.; says Tessa.; And because the modules and methodologies fit so well with the dynamics of bol.com, a common language was developed to create trust in daily work. De Droomfabriek made the elusive concept of 'trust' concrete and manageable so that we could really work with it in our daily work. The program has greatly helped to accelerate working with trust in the new teams.'

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Do you want to know more?

If you want to know more about this case or if you have similar questions, please feel free to contact Marius Maljers or Jeroen Kamphuis.

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