The Intern, episode 5

Leaving the nest – again

by Yanniek van Dooren

Every company needs brand ambassadors. You know, those people who follow everything you do and accomplish and spread the word. Who are always the first to try out new products and services, and get others excited about them, too. Before I got accepted for my internship at ING, the social media manager told me that was one of the objectives of the social media team: to get employees excited about changes and communicate about them on their own social media pages. A year later, whilst wrapping up my internship and preparing to move on, I realize I will leave the organisation as one of those ambassadors. Not because anyone asked me to or because I feel like it’s part of my job, but because I truly appreciate the organisation. And here’s why.

First and foremost, this internship allowed me to learn more about myself and the field of communications than I could ever have imagined. I was actively encouraged to choose and follow my own path, to explore my own interests and to work on projects that I was truly excited about. Remember my last blog post, where I wrote about my experience working on a campaign to encourage positive feedback in the organisation? That wasn’t part of my job description, but I was invited to take on this project because my colleagues knew how much this topic interested me. These kinds of opportunities not only helped me explore my drives and career ambitions, but also tremendously increased my work satisfaction.

And then there’s the culture. Imagine working at a bank: static buildings, stern people, steep hierarchy, right? Well, not at ING. If you’ve read my second blog post, you know that ING NL is going through a restructuring to makethe organisation more flat, innovative, and flexible. During my time in the organisation, the restructurCouching was still in full swing, people were getting used to a completely new way of working and my office was rebuilt into a Google-like environment to keep up with the changes. The space on the picture is one of the “living rooms” of our floor. Not what you would expect a bank office to look like, right?

But throughout all this change, everyone I met was incredibly motivated to make it all work. That was very inspiring to me: the motivation and ambition to show the world that a bank can be radically different from what most people think. And it’s the people who work there who create and reinforce that culture every day.

Today was the last day of my internship at ING’s Center of Expertise Communications. I finished all the work I had left, handed over my work laptop and phone, and said my last goodbyes before leaving the office for the last time. And as I stepped through the familiar revolving door into the rainy outdoors, I realize just how much this office had become my home. For the second time this year, I was moving out. But this time, it was with a suitcase full of great experiences, new friends, valuable lessons and a lot of self-confidence.

Goodbye ING, I’m sure we will meet again.

The Intern, episode 4

You look great today

by Yanniek van Dooren

Hey you! Yes, you. You look great today, you know that?

Giving and receiving feedback has been a recurring topic throughout my internship at ING. It’s one of the cornerstones of ING’s corporate culture, and it was necessary for me to ground and grow within the company. It has always been one of those topics that is in the back of everyone’s mind, but not practiced as much as it probably should be. ‘Cause giving feedback is hard, right? And be honest: how excited do you get about critical remarks from others?

you-rock-you-ruleOver the past weeks, I have been working on a campaign to promote this kind of behaviour for employees of ING Netherlands, with a colleague who really masters the art of positive feedback. As a result, feedback has definitely been moved top-of-mind for me, and I learned a thing or two in the process.

Let me start by telling you something about the campaign. It centers around the introduction of an app that allows users to give compliments to their colleagues, and is supported with messages, posts, discussions and talks about the art and science of positive feedback. But the exclusive focus on positive feedback struck me as odd at first. Why only encourage the exchange of compliments? Shouldn’t we be promoting critical feedback at least as much? After all, that’s what helps you grow, isn’t it?

Actually, working with this colleague, this positive feedback star, has convinced me otherwise. Right from the start, she focused on the things I did well – she praised me for my drive and ability to think critically, and instead of pointing out my weak spots, she emphasized how we complemented each other as a team. As a result, I experienced a real boost in confidence and motivation, allowing and encouraging me to experiment, to think creatively and to make this project my most successful one so far. And as I started to become aware of my strengths, I got motivated to use and develop them more. On top of that, my colleague and I grew increasingly closer, making us a better team than we already were from the start.

204815500064e9d0f92582100a00f2808822c9549bThis got me thinking about other instances where I got critical feedback. Before I started my internship at ING, I had a job as a waitress in a restaurant, and whenever I was told I did something wrong, I was dedicated to better myself. I put all my energy in improving that one skill, only to perform worse at the skills I had already mastered. And at the end of the day, I didn’t feel empowered. I felt disappointed.

So do we need to stop giving each other constructive feedback altogether? Definitely not. A culture that doesn’t have room for healthy criticism is a bound to fail, and being open for improvement is a very valuable characteristic for any working individual. My point is that sometimes, we need to realize that a compliment can be just as powerful. And maybe, just maybe, this realization can make the world a tiny bit more of a positive place, too.

The creation of a sea of red and white

By Jeroen Adriaanse

Following the opening of the second edition of the Sportfilm Festival Rotterdam, first year IBCoM student Jeroen Adriaanse attended the première of ‘De geboorte van het legioen’ (the birth of the legion) – a documentary on one of the first mass migrations of football supporters.

Back in 1963, 1500 Feyenoord supporters, who are now known as “het legioen”, entered the river Taag.  In other words, two crowded boats full of enthusiastic Dutch men and women created a sea of red and white. It is hard to imagine that this mass migration happened 460 years after Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama set sail to India from Lisbon. Yet it did really happen, 13241726_618353548315747_1730727249_oas Rotterdam-based football club Feyenoord became the first Dutch club to reach the semi-final of the Europacup I in 1963.

After Feyenoord succeeded in drawing 0-0 against a world-class side that is Benfica, a lot of supporters in Rotterdam started to believe in a miracle: beating the great Eusebio and his companions at the Estadio da Lu to progress to the final.

This opportunistic feeling gave Wim Hollander, who worked for the Dutch newspaper Het Vrije Volk at that time, enough inspiration to arguably reinvent the wheel. With some significant help he began to organize a nine-day trip to Lisbon, that became reality after two boats were found to sail to Portugal.

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At that time, in the 1960s, there was a boom in commercial aviation. However, despite the fact that still thousand supporters decided to fly to Lisbon, the “cruise” initiated by Wim Hollander was far more popular. Keep in mind, though, that these boats were not the Harmony of the Seas as we know them right now. On the two boats, there were neither extravagant buffets nor Jacuzzis etc. Nevertheless, the well-known Dutch “gezelligheid” made the trip really popular.

So, when the two boats cruised down the Nieuwe Waterweg, it would be an understatement to claim that the atmosphere was as if Silvio Berlusconi just started off one of his infamous bunga bunga parties. Essentially, on the 6th of May, several thousand people gathered at Hoek van Holland to wish the supporters good luck and wave them goodbye. One cannot imagine what it must have felt like to experience the revelry when the two packed boats traveled to the Southern Europe. Back then, a short vacation with your parents to Teutoburgerwoud in Germany was considered to be the million-dollar jackpot.

Despite the fact that Feyenoord was not able to reach the final after losing 3-1, the whole journey was considered as a great success. For the first time ever, Feyenoord supporters travelled in such big numbers to experience an international “away day”. During the documentary, the trip itself reminded me of the IBCoM Bootcamp, which is an event organized to introduce all new students to each other.  During Bootcamp, the group was significantly smaller but it was still a great way to get to know new people and form friendships. For Feyenoord supporters, however, the trip had a much bigger impact as not only friendships were formed but it also marked the birth of something special, namely the birth of the legioen.

Pictures by: Sportfilm Festival Rotterdam