Reader’s Letter: Change management

POSTED: 02/6/13 12:31 PM

I agree with Minister De Weever who does not want to appoint Mr. Willemsberg as director of SZV and that he wants to start a new selection process.

Minister de Weever wants change and in order to make a change you need a visionary leader and it’s sad to admit that Mr. Willemsberg lacks this gift. Change in regards to the operations of the institution, culture, governance, implementation, provisions just to name a few.

Before making my point why I agree with the minister I think it’s important the public understands what is meant with change management and what skills are needed for top management.

Change management is an approach to shifting or transitioning individuals, teams, and organizations from a current state to a desired future state. Change management uses basic structures and tools to control any organizational change effort. The goal is to maximize benefits and minimize the change impacts on workers and avoid distractions.

“Management in all business and organizational activities is the act of getting people together to accomplish desired goals and objectives using available resources efficiently and effectively. Management comprises planning, organizing, staffing, leading or directing, and controlling an organization and motivation, in an effort for the purpose of accomplishing a goal.

The first thing the public would think regarding such a brave act by the minister is that it is political. The reason why the public will view it as political is because Mrs. Buncamper has been mentioned as a candidate. Now I know my Sint Maarten people are a lot smarter than this, because let’s be honest, Minister de Weever is actual the competitor of Mrs. Buncamper and why would you put your competitor in such a powerful position. Think about this Sint Maarten: The former health minister in charge of the most important institution on the island that resorts under a minister that replaced her; really? Doesn’t make sense does it?

I am not in a position to inform you exactly how many years Mr. Willemsberg has held a top position at SVB (branch manager) but for sure it has been longer than 5 years. 5 years is normally the benchmark that a director (in this case branch manager) gets in order to make a change within an organization and Mr. Willemsberg was unable to do such at SVB. Thus in my view, this means that Mr. Willemsberg lacks vision, he had no mission therefore it was impossible for him to execute anything. Therefore the minister said it right in his comments;

The minister told the board of SVZ that he does not believe that Willemsberg has the required knowledge to upgrade SZV to where he would like it to be in the next few years.

As we all know SVB’s head office was located on Curacao and Mr. Willemsberg was filling the position of a branch manager. To me it’s more than obvious that a branch manager without the necessary qualification cannot all of a sudden become CEO of an institution. It’s like one of the local bank branch managers going to Canada and becoming the CEO of that bank; doesn’t make sense does it?

Today Mr. Willemsberg holds the position as COO at SZV (formerly SVB) and was denied being appointed CEO. This was based on good governance and not on politics. I am strongly under the impression that the board’s advice was rejected because of the way it was presented.

Let me clarify this point; there is no organization practicing good governance that would allow a COO of a company to be promoted as CEO without looking for a replacement (transparent recruitment process) and for a deputy director.

As such, the minister stood firm against a process that was merely transparent and based on good governance requested that the entire procedure be repeated.

Additionally, it is commonly said that an organization represents the culture and attitudes of its management. Therefore I am confident that Sint Maarten will agree that the employees at SZV lack the necessary motivation and interpersonal skills (below par). When one seeks change it is common practise to look outside the box and not from within especially when the top lacks the capability.

Further, I think the minister should also take a serious look at the number of European born Dutch nationals that are being hired at SZV. I was shocked to learn that the Human Resource Manager is a European born Dutch national. How can he interview a local and relate to our values, morals and worst yet, our culture. Every week new (top) positions are being advertised and I am very curious who are filling these positions.

David Williams

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