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5 insights of Wouter Kolk

Corona podcast Wouter Kolk

In this podcast, entrepreneur and boardroom consultant Salem Samhoud speaks with Wouter Kolk, CEO of Ahold Delhaize Europe and Indonesia. In this podcast you will learn more about the behaviour, feelings and thoughts of leaders during this Corona crisis.
Read the 5 insights from the conversation with Wouter Kolk here in 5 minutes.

1. Heart-warming what is happening

Wouter Kolk has had several moments of goose bumps lately: “Everyone knows very well what he/she stands for. That he/she has an important role to play in society. That we can really help.
Not only our customers who want something on the shelf, but we can help colleagues, and other people to find work and foremost; we really do it together. So, I have to say that from time to time it really gives me goose bumps. ” Salem: “Have there been other goose bumps?” Wouter: “I recently met a young man who had said to his father: “Dad I have to work a little extra this week.” He works at Albert Heijn in Wageningen and he had proudly said to his father: “Dad it is not just work, I am a very vital part of society.” He also noticed his own role changing. And that made him proud. And his father as well. And me. ”

2. Christmas every day

Salem feels that the people at Ahold Delhaize work harder than ever. Wouter Kolk: “I also have that feeling. Not only in the shops, but also at the distribution centres. Of course it is now Christmas day after day. With a regular Christmas this is fine, because you prepare for that for weeks and it only lasts 2 days, but now of course it has been a while and we do not know where it will end. Everyone works hard in the chain. Just as those people working from home, whom you would expect to be
“on the couch”. They also work very hard because they have to ensure that suppliers remain connected, that programs continue. And they also find themselves in a strange situation where they are suddenly alone, without social contacts. I actually notice that everyone is putting their best foot forward. ”

3. You really have to do it together

Salem: “I have the feeling that your shops are actually local heroes in society at the moment. Do you feel that way yourself? ” Kolk: “At least I see very beautiful things happening. I see it within Ahold Delhaize and beyond. People also seek contact in a different way. Suddenly everyone really has an eye for each other. I also like that very much. And I think everyone also realises very well that you really do it together. Only together with your team you can keep that store open, together with your team you can run the distribution centre, together with your team you can work with certain suppliers… So I think everyone is somehow very aware of it. ”

4. We have to watch out for each other

Salem: “What new customer behaviour are you currently seeing?” Wouter Kolk: “I see that customers are also simply anxious and afraid and they don’t know what to do.” According to Wouter Kolk, this sometimes leads to strange behaviour but also to very modest behaviour and helping each other. We applaud the caregivers and at the same time we see that people are stocking a lot of toilet paper for themselves. Kolk: “But I also see really beautiful new things happening. New creativity, funny things that happen on the shop floor, but also on social media, etc. I think we should just keep a close eye on each other, keep communicating well in any way. … Because we just really need each other. ” Salem: “What appeal do you have to society?” Wouter Kolk: “I think that is very clear. Just be nice to each other. This is not a time when you should think solely about yourself. Also think about your environment, think about each other. It is a terrible time, of course. Also for many people who are now out of work or are faced with even greater uncertainty. I think there are a lot of people who are really worried and let’s just be there for each other. ”

5. Take care of yourself

Salem: “We are now entering a new week of the corona crisis, what is your advice for the coming week?” Wouter Kolk: “Just take good care of yourself. I think that the most important thing is that you keep fit, that you stay healthy. Because we need you. In any case, all people within Ahold Delhaize, but also beyond. I think it’s good to do your very best at work, but please take good care of yourself.

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