Expertise and trust

Good news

The Mobilé 4 flow & innovation team is very busy with projects. Together with our clients, we accelerate the flow of work in project organisations. Our target is 20%. On our WHY page, our clients tell to what extent we are achieving this:

Despite these fantastic results, convincing people of our expertise is not always easy. Good results do not always lead to trust, probably due to a general mistrust of consultants.

We have found an answer to that.

No consultants …

I regularly meet directors who are convinced of the possibilities for accelerating project throughput in their organisation and yet decide against using the solutions. “I know we should do this”, they say, “but my people don’t want to…”. I believe the low level of trust in consultants is responsible for this.

 Leaders don’t accept that.

Consultants have largely themselves to thank for this scepticism. Many jokes are circulating that illustrate this mistrust.

A client asks a consultant what time it is. The counsellor answers by asking if he can borrow the client’s watch for a moment, he looks at the watch and tells what time it is. Then he puts the watch in his pocket…

Another joke asks what consultants and seagulls have in common. The answer: they make a lot of noise, shit everywhere and then they fly on…

Serious criticism comes from Mariana Mazzucato, Professor of Innovation Economics and Public Value at University College London. In her book “The big Con”, published in 2023,, she and Rosie Collington report on their research on the practice of management consultancy. She concludes that the Big Con weakens our businesses, infantilizes our governments, and warps our economies. This criticism is not mild. Both consultants and their clients need to face up to this criticism.

… but experts

The short answer from Mobilé 4 flow & innovation is: We are not consultants, but experts. Profound expert knowledge in the field in which you work is a necessary prerequisite for effectiveness. The members of the Mobilé 4 flow team are experts in complex project organisations and innovation. A necessary but not sufficient condition. In addition to expertise, you also need trust in each other and in the approach.

Motorbike with sidecar

The age-old wisdom “Trust comes on foot, but leaves on horseback” has sunk into oblivion. In the improvement processes that Mobilé 4 flow organises with its clients, we take this wisdom as a guiding principle.

So, we start by taking steps to get to know each other well. We create openness and build up knowledge and appreciation. We get to know each other’s blind spots and weaknesses and appreciate each other’s strengths. In this way, we create an improvement team made up of employees from the customer organisation and Mobilé 4 flow, who divide up tasks based on strengths and work together in a spirit of trust.

The approach we are taking is based on the experience and commitment of John van der Steur. He has already used this expertise as mental coach of the Dutch women’s hockey team, which won the gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Coach Teun de Nooijer, himself a multiple Olympic champion and World Hockey Player of the Year, says of John’s approach: “We always had a lot of talent, but it was only when we invested in our development as a team that we won one championship after another.” With John as the mental coach for his club team, de Nooijer became national champion five times in a row and now Olympic champion with the golden women’s hockey team.

In order to “win championships” together with our clients, we apply the following principles in addition to John’s insights:

  1. We have two ears and one mouth and use them in this ratio.

We listen carefully and only contribute our expert knowledge once we really understand the problems and challenges. In this phase, we learn as much from the client as they learn from us. People feel they are taken seriously and trust grows.

  1. Motorbike with sidecar: Employees of the customer organisation ride the motorbike, employees of the Mobilé 4 flow team ride in the sidecar for a while to transfer their expertise.

With this principle, we ensure that the employees of the customer organisation are familiar with the solutions from day one. Or rather: it is their solutions that they develop themselves using the information and experience from the sidecar.

  1. It’s not about being the best girl or boy in the class, but about being the best team.

The experts at Mobilé 4 flow are not smarter than the client, but they have relevant experience and knowledge that the client can use. We soon realise that the employees of the customer organisation find better and more appropriate solutions than we do. As a result, trust grows even more. And with it, self-confidence. A winning mentality develops.

Once we have achieved the goal of accelerating the project throughput, we uncouple the sidecar and the client continues alone. Strengthened with FLOW expertise and a modern, super-fast project organisation.

Expertise and trust

We call the solution I described above Balanced Improvement. In our assignments, we combine FLOW expertise and Balanced Improvement. FLOW expertise is the knowledge we use to help project organisations become faster. Balanced Improvement is the knowledge we use to shape the collaboration with our clients in such a way that trust in FLOW can grow and flourish.

If you want trust and FLOW, the Mobilé 4 flow team is there for you.

Willem de Wit
4th July 2024
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