Elena Malkova worked in the Dutch fresh produce trade for no less than 25 years. She was responsible for Russia's exports at several trading companies. A burnout ensured a solid reflection. Coaching helped her out of the burnout, but she also left the trade. "I no longer developed as a person and a professional, I was no longer happy and wanted more. Now, through coaching, I am committed to helping executives and their teams. I haven't felt so happy in years."
"Seventy percent of your time is spent at work, but research shows that many people don't experience happiness there. In the fruit and vegetable trade, this is often dismissed under the disguise of a big car and a fat salary. But companies that only have turnover as their objective do not have a right to exist in the long term. I sometimes jokingly say that if money is your only motive, you better get into drugs. New generations are arriving with different values. Earlier a fantastic pension scheme used to be a reason to switch. You really shouldn't go with that to the Z generation."
"The world is going to be hit hard by the current Corona crisis. Commercial teams have celebrated success after success for years, but that is about to change. I hope that the management of fruit and vegetable companies will now realise that not only a few extra orders, but the team can save the company. The people with the right mindset are now much more important than the money. We will end up in a huge economic crisis after the Corona crisis.
Companies that have no vision will really have a hard time. Then it comes down to your added value on the market. Why should customers buy from you and not from a rival? Then your corporate culture and mission statement comes into play. The corporate culture determines the motivation of your employees."
"The fresh produce sector likes to present itself as a fast moving branch, but I have noticed in my fresh produce career how old-fashioned this trade can be. It is outdated to sit at your desk every day from 6:30am to 5pm. Smart working motivates people, not the idea that we have always done it that way. Many people leave because of poor leadership. Managers in the fruit and vegetable sector often pretend to operate low-profile because they participate fully at the sales table, but if dominant leadership is shown there and employees are afraid to open their mouths, no innovation will come about. Without growth there is no lasting success," argues Elena. "That's why I call on directors to focus on human capital. Happiness is the new productivity."
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