By Jean Paul Wyers, director of the Institute of Protocol The Hague.
The Dutch and protocol; it is an ambiguous relationship. For many, protocol stands for unnecessary formalities but in my view protocol holds the future. Leaders and managers can only survive with a good network and by knowing the right people. In The Grant Study researchers came to a similar conclusion; “It is the capacity for relationships that predicted flourishing. Culture has become more attuned to the power of relationships.”
The need for a good network has created the need for good network management, or protocol management as we call it. A State Visit is much more than a meeting of two Heads of State. At all levels meaningful meetings are planned and protocol is used to structure all this. The private sector has the same need for meaningful meetings and thus for protocol management.
There is another reason why protocol has a future. Time has become a luxury. Personal time is the greatest good we can give to someone. It is the modern currency of relationships.
For example Banks divide their personal attention into several groups of customers: retail, preferred banking, private banking and private wealth management. The more interesting you are to the bank, the more personal attention is given to you.
Modern protocol management offers an efficient and effective way of managing a network. It optimises those few moments of personal contact and maximises the added value that personalised attention can bring. Modern protocol officers are vital to the successful management of a network.
The classic protocol officers will cease to exist, because they put the rules of protocol first. A modern protocol officer understands the greater picture, the goal of the meeting and even the strategy of the organisation. He or she is an expert in translating this into a different protocol every time. Modern protocol management is not only about protocol rules; it is about analysing, translating and finally applying.
At the Institute of Protocol The Hague this has always been our vision and it has made us successful. The ambiguous relationship the Dutch have with protocol has provided us with some challenges, but it also resulted in a modern view on protocol.