Leaders facing a crisis is one of topics we are going to cover in our blog “AT THE MANDELA HOUSE WITH ILCO VAN DER LINDE“. Check out the other topics.

  • 19th May, 2020
  • 7 minute read

How to deal with changes as a leader

WeR1 Connection and Heart voor de stad recently became partners. The founder of this initiative is an inspiring leading social entrepreneur, ‘future architect’ and initiator of various national and international campaigns and movements — Ilco van der Linde.

In the last post, Ilco and WeR1 Connection talked about how job applicants can use some extra time during the lockdown. Instead of sitting idly while opportunities are passing by, we proposed some practical advice you could use.

In this section, we are focused on making sense of the corona crisis and how it’s impacting business leaders in their decision making. Ilco, as a member of the Lunar Institute, mentions what is one of the most important traits every good leader should have. Besides that, we tapped into the topic of climate change. Change can (and must) start, not only from ourselves as individuals, but also from our business.

How leaders dealt with changes in the past

WeR1: The Lunar Institute is teaching personal leadership development and it has multiple programs. What exactly is the institute focused on?

Ilco: “The Lunar institute was inspired by the Lunar Society, which was founded 250 years ago. This informal learned society consisted of regular meetings between scientists, inventors, entrepreneurs, innovators, natural philosophers, and intellectuals, such as Darwin and Watt. It was called ‘lunar’ because they met once a month when there was full moon. It all started during the period of the big transition to the industrialized society, when a lot of people started fearing for their jobs. Besides the problems arising in the society, they were discussing about new chances coming along.

I believe that one of the major merits of a good leader is that they always try to see the opportunities in every situation, especially when there is a crisis. When things are changing, we become depressed and anxious about what we can lose, but changes can also bring new opportunities.

Don’t be the smartest person in the room

We tend to surround ourselves with like-minded people and this way, we get tempted to think in columns. However, we need to connect with people from other areas and fields that have a different and open mind. Minds are actually parachutes, they work much better when they are open. And that is what the Lunar Society is doing. Inspired by it, the Lunar Institute trains business leaders, decision makers, and future leaders to be solution and future focused.

“Minds are actually parachutes, they work much better when they are open.”

Moreover, we want to inspire and help leaders to opt for social impact and develop their company in a more sustainable way. Respectively, they will be prepared for the next decade. That’s what we do, and I love to do that.”

Create value by being sustainable

WeR1: The job position you have in the Lunar Institute is called ‘future architect’. What does that mean?

Ilco: “Yes, that’s the name they gave me. In the coming years, there will be a lot of new challenges, there will be new viruses, work will be taken over partly by robots, which creates competition for certain jobs. New technology will be implemented and if you don’t start understanding it as soon as possible, you may be at loss.

“If you have a certain purpose for your company, your clients will appreciate you more. It shows you have a sort of value, a sort of social heart and that you are not only money driven.”

There is an extreme need to work on the global refunding system and the climate change. If we don’t set up our companies and our ways of production in a more sustainable way, that will kill all future generations. Hence, we must opt for the UN method: sustainable development goals.

However, it’s important to have purpose as well. If you have a certain purpose for your company, your clients will appreciate you more. It shows you have a sort of value, a sort of social heart and that you are not only money driven. If you want to achieve that, it requires a change of running your business. Consequently, if you want to be ready for future, you need to work on it right now. Otherwise, the next crisis will hit you again.”

WeR1: You need to be prepared for change, it’s inevitable in the end.

Ilco: “Absolutely, and it can be fun. If you are in time it’s fun. Nevertheless, if you run from the facts then it’s absolutely fearful.”

Prepare for the future

WeR1: The Lunar Institute is now working on sense making sessions. More precisely, making sense of the current events.

Ilco: “Normally, we did our sessions live, face to face. Now we are forced to work online. We got webinars and podcast sessions, which you can find on the website of the institute. I recently had a webinar on the importance of togetherness, which brings us back to the ubuntu philosophy. The sense making sessions are here because now you have time to reflect on what you are doing and how you can be prepared to change for the future.”

“If you want to be ready for future you need to work on it right now. Otherwise, the next crisis will hit you again.”


It is not easy being a good leader. A lot is expected from you, there is a lot of pressure. However, if you were walking side by side with the current events, instead of limping behind the developments happening around you, you could save a lot of time and stress. This method is not only relevant for when a possible crisis might hit you, it’s always relevant. Because whether you like it or not, change will be around the corner, ready to ambush you.

The collaboration between Hart voor de stad and WeR1 Connection is yielding a lot of positive attention. We know that the coronavirus has taken a grip of the entire world. Leaders and decision makers around the globe are going through the same difficulties as you are right now. You can show support to them by becoming a partner with Hart voor de stad, like WeR1 Connection did, or visit the website and upload your heart.


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