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Interview with Dirk van Liempt, on balance and commitment

25 June 2017


What is your biggest challenge today as CEO?

As CEO of ADD, I am mainly concerned about my people. For insurance business we have specialists. Insurance is actually ‘easy’ compared to people. I focus primarily on people rather than on insurance, because people come first.

What may help people to have a good life?

Balance is today’s key word. People 'must' live their lives to the fullest on all levels: work, children, sports, a good social life, and then stay online with everyone continuously. People work hard: ‘work hard & play hard’. All this ‘must’ outside of regular work will become too much work in the long run. No wonder people sometimes go into overdrive; there is no room left to breathe.

There is a need for breathing space and take a break mentally and physically, but also to think and feel. To feel what is good for you. Think about what you want. Do you want to lead that life? Do you want to do that job? Do you want to book each weekend with friends and family?

How can you stay engaged?

Balance and spine. This means asking fundamental questions. That's harder than to just grin and bear it and continue. But it’s the only way to stay engaged and not live on autopilot. Engagement is important.

The world and our environment in general also change constantly. We don’t do the same thing for 20 to 30 years anymore.

You need a strong personality and an open mind to handle all this, in addition to mental resilience - flexibility - and good health. Stepping away from your job means moving out of your comfort zone. I believe in career guidance: that is, get help with questioning what you are doing, and dare to see alternatives. After that, you can fully re-choose your job with everything that goes with it. Or not, which is also good. Rather than whining over everything and anything, just go and do something else. Authenticity; be very much yourself and stay that way, that’s what it’s all about.

You also follow career guidance, what do you want to achieve with that?

I believe in exemplary behaviour. As a CEO, I also follow career guidance and encourage my people to do the same: it is OK to ask questions. I’m also a major promoter of career guidance internally.

Be in charge of your own life, that’s the message. What is your goal in life? Are you involved with your colleagues, your work, in all aspects of your private life? Some people may be locked in gilded cages. Dare to break out. Dare to say no to that part of your present life that you do not or no longer care about. You only live once…



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