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Tour de France in Zeeland: Delta Dynamics

On the 5th of July 2015, the second stage of the Tour de France finished at the Delta Works in Zeeland, in the South-West of the Netherlands. During the stage, there was a lot of (inter)action between the individual cyclists, their teams and organizations behind them, but especially much dynamics in the context that they were acting in.  In other words: there was a lot of Delta Dynamics going on. That is the theme of this 43rd edition of the Change Letter: Tour de France in Zeeland: Delta Dynamics.


Tour de France in Zeeland

Surprisingly, early in the morning, many spectators had already installed themselves along the trail, close to our old farm. It would still take many hours before the tour caravan and the cyclists would pass, on the way to the finish on the Delta works, a few kilometers away. It was a colorful scene, dominated by the color yellow. An endless long line of motor homes and touring caravans, interspersed with colorful tents, umbrellas, banners and flags could be seen. Especially the people themselves looked colorful and cheerful, and enjoyed the sun beams from the blue sky. Apparently no one took into account the bad weather forecasts about possible showers and thunderstorms later in the afternoon.

However, despite the weather forecasts on radio and television and in the newspapers, the local weather had not been predicted exactly. Before the cyclists arrived, they had to cope with heavy rainfall and thunderstorms, and hard winds. The combination of the local weather conditions and the competition between cyclists, the roundabouts en route and the massive public present, caused many falls. Because of the heavy weather conditions, no spectators were expected to be present at the finish of the stage at the Delta Works. But fortunately, also here the general weather forecasts did not match the local circumstances exactly. In the final part of the stage, the weather suddenly changed … things started to look bright. Hence, it became a special, unpredictable finish. Not just in terms of results, but also because of the unpredictability of the interaction between the cyclists and their teams, the conditions en route, and the not that exactly predictable weather conditions. Together, they were responsible for the dynamics in this stage of the Tour de France in Zeeland: Delta Dynamics.


Delta Dynamics

As Hugo Letiche and Michael Lissack stated in their work Coherence in the Midst of Complexity (2012, 4):

“When the measurement-based coherence of computers has taken over for the experiential coherence of humans and the context changes, then there are (can be) miracles and nasty surprises.”

That was what was happening at the second stage of the Tour de France in Zeeland. Computer based information about the weather forecasts on radio and television, as well as in the newspapers, hardly matched the actual weather conditions during the event, particularly in Zeeland. But this happens not only in a sportive context most of the planned (and controlled) change and transition trajectories fail because there is little or no awareness for the dynamics during the course of action ... as it evolves. Not only because of the social interaction between human beings, e.g.: individual and group perceptions and perspectives, but in particular because of the unexpected or unpredictable in- and external change forces that are at play, e.g.: social, economic and environmental flux, in the dynamic context at hand. In short: too little emphasis is given to the individual, organizational and contextual dynamics in change and transition programs: Delta Dynamics.

Delta Dynamics is also the name of my new program: guiding people and organizations in transition. In this new program I combine academic knowledge in business administration and social sciences with over 15 years of practical experience with change and transition processes. Typical of the new program is the ‘open approach’, with a focus on the social interaction between (groups of) individuals, related to their (dynamic) course of action.

If you are interested in more information about Delta Dynamics: guiding people and organization in transition, or have personal experiences that you would like to share with me, please feel free to let me know. You can mail me or contact me via my LinkedIn account.

Dr. Martin Loeve

More information: see our website or contact us directly.
Source image: detourdefrancezeeland.nl


Dr. Martin Loeve is the founding director of Delta Change Management, an international consultancy firm specializing in research, consultancy and education in the field of change management, with a focus on the human factor.


Martin has, authored the management book De Change Maker® (Loeve, 2004) on managing small-scale change processes and the article Mindset Change in a Cross Cultural Context (Loeve, 2007). He was awarded the Ph.D.-title for his thesis Ander-ing On-Stage Addressing Expatriate Loneliness at the University for Humanistic Studies in Utrecht in March 2014.


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