News - May 12, 2015

‘I'm not a routine manager’

Albert Sikkema

To everyone's surprise Laan van Staalduinen, manager of the Social Sciences Group, decided to resign. ‘Every four or five years, I want something else.

Since December 2010 she is part of the management of SSG and three and a half years ago, she became the general manager of the LEI, the CDI and the Social Sciences Department of the University. Next year in March her term as the general manager would end. ‘Half a year prior the question arises: Do I continue or not? The answer was not entirely yes. After five years, it often starts to itch and I need to do something else.’ So she resigned, allowing her to go sea-sailing enthusiastically coming summer and think about her continuing career. 'I had three months sabbatical left and I did not want to take them in the winter’

She leaves with mixed feelings. ‘I have become very attached to the Social Sciences Group. When I arrived, the earning capacity of the LEI was a problem. I have introduced a new management philosophy, invested in new themes and reduced the overhead. There were 21 managers at LEI when I started, now there are only ten. Often this is the case: the fewer bosses, the better it goes. Also the baffles and internal competition between the groups disappeared. I stopped to square up at group level financially and stopped to settle individuals on only 165 billable days. In the new philosophy, everyone contributes to the goals of the organization. The LEI stands firmly on its feet again and the gaze outwards has increased.’

The results of the institute over 2014 was more than seven tons. Also the result of the CDI (Centre for Development Innovation) was positive last year. And in the department there are many challenges to cope with the growth in student numbers, but the quality and impact of the chair groups rose significantly, she claims according to the self-assessment for the international visitation committee that passes by this summer.

She can quit satisfied. ‘If there still had been a crisis, I would have stayed. You want to achieve something; otherwise all that hard work would have been for nothing. It is running now. And I am less fond of the routine. Troubleshooting, improving things and working in intense periods, such as in a crisis, when it really matters, I enjoy the most. The work should challenge me so that I can puzzle, improvise and be creative - that gives me the most satisfaction.'