I have little faith in the European Union and governments that, in their zeal to provide as much as possible for Europe or their country, try to regulate almost everything with innumerable laws and rules. However, it is important to consider the merits of the European Union and a stable government. In particular, ensuring safety, health and providing education are essential functions of a government and the EU. The EU is successful in this area and in particular with the greatest of all: peace and freedom. Without a European Union, there might well have been another war. Another important task is to create the foundations for healthy economic development. The abolition of frontiers and the introduction of the euro have benefited our economies.

And it is no different for a business. As a company, you have the responsibility to provide a safe and healthy working environment for your colleagues so that everyone can work effectively and enjoyably. If a company is burdened by too many regulations, it becomes increasingly difficult to operate and it is increasingly unable to be competitive.

With regard to ensuring a safe and healthy working environment, something always strikes me in the Netherlands, both in politics and business. If a politician does something wrong, or something goes wrong in the department of a minister, his fellow politicians try to tear the minister to pieces like a pack of hungry wolves. If a mistake is made, heads must roll.

In many companies and with many Dutch people, I see the same phenomenon. Mistakes are not accepted and anyone who makes an error must be cut down. The managers that I see in the larger companies are often “hedge-yourself-and-burn-the-other” types of managers. Actively identifying what others do wrong with the seemingly sole purpose of punishing the person in order to benefit from this.

I rarely encounter this phenomenon in Eastern Europe. People are more patient and nicer to each other. It also seems to me that they more easily accept the mistakes of others and together try to make the best of a situation. And if I look at a number of our highly successful clients in the Netherlands, I notice they have a company culture of openness, understanding, and mutual support – a safe workplace for everyone. Safety is also of utmost importance at a company. Not only physical safety but also mental security. The acceptance of errors without punishment and the acceptance of freedom of expression allows a company to be a healthy “society”. Countries and companies which provide this for their people will succeed.

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