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Just do It!#1: Tijn Vuijk

This interview is the first in a series of ‘Just do It!’ interviews with inspiring leaders.

Tijn Vuijk is responsible for guiding the organization-wide culture change at the Facility Management Services of the City of Amsterdam. A division of 600+ employees. Tijn has an impressive and diverse background. She was the Dutch Ski Freeride champion in 2015 and 2017, owned a successful catering company at the Zuid-As, is a certified Breathing coach and now works for the City of Amsterdam.

What is driving you in life?

The key word is adventure! I like to discover and do new unexpected things, develop new skills and grow. It’s a bit like Pippi Langstocking’s motto ‘I have never done it before, so I believe I can do it’. I like to challenge myself all the time. Personal development and getting the most out of life are important energizers for me.

How does the desired organization culture look like at Facility Management Services?

The approach we took is to engage the entire organization in shaping the desired culture and we have a lot of fun doing it this way. Personally, I don’t believe that culture change can be successful if simply managed top-down. We have defined 4 key themes; Ownership, Trust, Collaboration and Service orientation. We are currently identifying and implementing small behavioural actions across the organization to visibly experience we can change. Everybody is participating. Very exciting and powerful stuff.

What is your role in making this all happen?

My challenge is to enable the Management Team to own the culture change in a practical way and get everybody in a Grow mindset. Collaborate with change pioneers in the departments, to shake things up, bring energy and last, but not least creativity. I am lucky to have a great project team to support the organization, maintain momentum and speed.

Did COVID-19 have a big impact on the organization and the culture change project?

It had a huge impact. The Facility Management Services organization is simply said the backbone of the City of Amsterdam. We keep the City’s 180 buildings and sites running, ensure citizens can engage with the municipality in dozens of locations, are responsible for security, procurement, catering, equipment management, etc. Simply said, without FMS nothing functions. We have adapted incredibly fast to keep the City running, with a lot of teams working remote. During the past months, we have shown to ourselves that we can change behaviour quickly. So, in a strange way, it helps to boost the culture change project in a positive way.

How does diversity & inclusion come into play in this process?

The City of Amsterdam aims to reflect the Amsterdam society and I am proud to see the public sector take a real stand in driving D&I. We are fortunate at FMS to already have a diverse leadership team, but we are not there yet. We are in the process to implement a new strategy and change our organization design accordingly. I am hopeful that we can and will appoint diverse leaders in every department. This is much wider than just gender or colour. It’s all about having the right can-do mentality and embrace people with different backgrounds.

Why did you choose to partner with InspiringPeople?

We were looking for an experienced hands-on partner with a clear and practical approach & methodology towards behavioural change. What plays out really nice, is the way you coach us how to lead and implement the change ourselves. There is a clear roadmap and you keep things simple with a smile. And we have a lot of fun while running!


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