How do you make a lasting difference? Be human! Be you!

Erikjan Lantink
5 min readApr 26, 2024

One of my favorite exercises to do with teams is the lifeline exercise. A lifeline exercise involves a conversation among team members who share their life journey, focusing on those moments when life takes a turn for the better or worse.

Moments one will never forget when reflecting on life.

One of those moments was when I decided to take on a job opportunity in the Czech Republic in 1995. As a consequence of that momentous decision, I now have a wonderful family, enjoyed a great career in food retail, and spent more time living abroad, which has enriched my life. Living abroad has changed who I am. Working in retail has made me a better leader. Being part of a multicultural family has changed my perspective on humanity.

Gaining perspective is the key skill here and is tough to master.

It’s easy to say that we put ourselves in the mind of the customer, our people, or family members. I challenge you to try it, really try it. Try to listen to your conversation partner without any prejudice or judgment. Try to silence that voice in your head that’s telling you that what the person is saying is not valid, exaggerated, too vague, or judgmental in itself. Do not feel blamed when somebody comments…

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Erikjan Lantink

Business & Leadership coach. Interim Leader. Writer. Speaker. Former Retail Executive (general management; operations; HR)