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What we can all learn from the Rookie Mindset


The election battle erupted extra hard this week. On every talk show, a leader of a political party sat down to showcase his or her views. After more than a year of living with imposed Corona measures, today we finally have the liberty to make a choice ourselves.

The elections to the House of Representatives are the pinnacle of democracy. Citizens who can indicate with a red pencil which course the country should take. After a year of lock-downs, restrictions, health care shortages and riots, the recovery of society is top of the agenda of many party programs. Apart from all medical, social, and economic problems, the Corona crisis does not seem to have a beneficial effect on tolerance and solidarity in society. The debate has hardened and differences of opinion, sometimes even within families, are becoming increasingly difficult to bridge. A frequently heard position of political parties is that we should ‘do it together’, ‘be there for each other’ and be tolerant.

The irony of politics

In the run-up to March 17, it was big business for our country’s talk shows. Every evening there was at least one channel where a party leader sat down at the table. The more talk shows I watched, the more annoyed I started to feel. Night after night I saw the same scene: two politicians who dig themselves into their own position and don’t give an inch. Zero interest in understanding the other’s point of view, only in conversation with the aim of exposing discrepancies in the other’s argument and defending one’s own point of view. And all of this is led by a table host who tries to elicit high-profile statements by cramming complex subject matter and nuanced answers into one box or another. “Do you agree or not?” “So you think that…”. The irony of politics: calling for tolerance, understanding and real conversation, but fiercely debating, spouting opinions, and asserting yourself.

Rookie Mindset

I wish our country, and especially politicians, a touch of the Rookie mindset. Our core values are curiosity, humility, and courage. Curiosity is about the will to learn and continuously improve, a genuine interest in the other person and the ability to listen without judgment. The latter contributes enormously to understanding the other. What a relief it would be if in four years (or sooner, who knows) Rutte asks Wilders a sincere question. And that Wilders doesn’t express a rigid opinion but gives a real answer. About what he believes in most deeply and especially why.

It helps the conversation when both parties dare to show their humility: the ability to reflect on themselves, to ask for help and to receive feedback. I realize that showing humility may be a bridge too far for some of our politicians today. On the other hand, there are also politicians who have already shown that they can indeed have a good conversation. These are mainly the female party leaders. The gentlemen from The Hague can learn a thing or two from their female colleagues in that regard.

However, showing humility and curiosity does not mean that politics becomes a cozy tea party. Our final Rookie Minds core value takes care of that: courage; having the guts to speak out about what you stand for and defend your ideals. Oh well, I don’t think it’s a problem with the current party leaders.

The moral of this story? Ode to the Rookie Minds values! So dear politicians and all others who feel addressed: ask a question. To the other or to yourself. That requires not only curiosity and humility, but also courage. You will see that it provides you with a more deepening and clarifying conversation.

PS: You can always give your opinion later… 😉