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The KNRM [Royal Dutch Rescue Company] has been offering assistance 24/7 to people in trouble on the water since 1824. This is done through the efforts of more than 1400 volunteers. They work from the 45 rescue stations distributed along the coast, the IJsselmeer and the Wadden Islands, using 75 rescue boat to offer the assistance required. A professional organisation supports the volunteers from its office in IJmuiden.
The management team at KNRM has been working on a new strategy to strengthen the professional organisation. The sub-project “collaborating on the mission” is part of this. This sub-project was created along with Involve, highlighting themes to flesh it out and translate it into behaviour in conjunction with managers and teams. An important starting principle in all this was to clarify the different roles within the organisation and make it easier to discuss expectations.
Using interviews, a workshop with a broad mix of people from the organisation and the results of a staff survey, we arrived at themes under the overall heading of “collaborating on the mission”. In concrete terms, this was about a good balance between pressure of work and enjoyment at work, as well as creating connections during times of Covid when many people were working remotely. We also supported sessions with the management team and after that with team leaders and teams. For the management team, the emphasis was on clarifying roles and how they could support their supervisors with the deployment of strategic themes from a common narrative. At the level of the teams, extra attention was paid to patterns of conduct, the influences these have on others, what the various teams were dealing with and what action that required. We worked towards increasing awareness within the organisation through a range of interventions and points for reflection. The result was that those involved:
Working on improvements to collaboration and professionalism often yields quite intangible results. By working with different layers and elements of the organisation and facilitating conversations between them, those who were involved could see and feel that a developmental shift was underway at an increasing rate.