CEO Dennis Molendijk

CEO Mediation
CEO Coaching
CEO Creative Interventions
CEO Films

CEO Impressions

CEO Narrative Mediation

CEO specialises in a way of working known as narrative mediation.
A fact is a fact, but perception is reality
. A conflict is seen as a confrontation between contradictory stories, which are involved in a struggle for dominance. Deconstructing the conflicting stories and perceptions creates space within which constructive work can take place on the creation of an alternative story.

The practice of this narrative approach is far from abstract or vague. On the contrary, this corresponds precisely to how the majority of people experience reality (and truth) around them. Narrative mediation focuses on what is going on beneath the surface of the conflict. By homing in primarily on the underling structures and mutual interests, a lasting solution to the conflict is sought.

Why mediation?

Mediation is the joint resolution of a dispute, with the assistance of a neutral, professionally competent intermediary who is used to dealing with conflicts: the mediator. Many conflicts are not helped by legal wrangling. Not only do legal proceedings consume vast amounts of time, money and energy, but a court judgment by no means guarantees a solution to the conflict.
The mediator on the other hand does not occupy an elevated position, superior to the parties. S/he does not make ‘pronouncements’ from on high, but rather supports the process of negotiation. In mediation, it is the parties to the conflict who themselves come up with the solution.

mediator Dennis Molendijk

CEO Mediator Dennis Molendijk

Mediation, conflict management or coaching

During my training as a mediator, I was often asked incredulously: What’s someone with a background in the theatre doing in mediation; surely this is the natural terrain of lawyers and P&O officers? What in fact brought me there, was my intuition. What I have learned is that it is precisely my background (see ‘CEO Dennis Molendijk’) that allows me to bring a different perspective to my approach to conflicts. My experience in the management of complex group processes means I am not quickly intimidated by a conflict. However heated or complex a conflict may be, there is almost always a path towards a constructive resolution. This is what makes mediation so inspirational for me. Especially when I have interesting encounters with a hugely diverse range of ‘decision-makers’ in other branches of the ‘sport’ (i.e. not in the arts, but in commerce and government). And seeing parties take responsibility to use the conflict constructively in order to make progress together. It is this dynamic between the parties themselves that is the key to the success of a mediation. The mediator can only support this process.

Conflict management and coaching
It may sound strange, but I am frequently approached by people who are involved in a conflict that has not yet escalated sufficiently. In such cases, I see my role principally as a conflict manager or coach. It is important to make this distinction. It is crucial how not only the parties, but also the conflict manager, act and see their roles within the process.

In mediations, the conflict has usually become so serious that legal action seems inevitable, but is not desirable owing to the cost, the lengthy proceedings or – and this is often the most important consideration – because a binding decision will not adequately reflect the interests at work below the surface of the conflict. The neutrality of the mediator is an essential factor in this respect. The parties themselves determine the outcome and success of the mediation.

If you would like further information on CEO mediation and my way of working, please do not hesitate to contact me. We can then determine together whether I can be of help to you/in the conflict and if so, which approach would be most effective.


Motto CEO

A fact is a fact but perception is reality

Reality is an overrated concept. "Give me the facts!", we often hear. It is not the facts that are crucial, however; it is our interpretation of these facts that determines our reality. Really!

Take the photo below, for example. It is a fact that blocks A and B are the same colour. However often I look at it myself, I still think, "it can’t be true!"

Optische illusie: de vakken A & B zijn van dezelfde kleur

CEO online

The menu on the left-hand side of the website gives specific information on Dennis Molendijk and the various activities of CEO.

In the box below, you will find a more associative elaboration of the CEO’s motto.

A fact is a fact.....

Not convinced that the two squares really are the same colour? Or very convinced... that this is not the case?

Did that go too quickly?

Just to remove any lingering doubts – click on this link for a slower film: 


We live in stories

Nothing is true. All actions and all communication is distorted. This applies to large-scale conflicts, but also to the smallest action you undertake every morning in the bathroom.

Take, for example, this great experiment by Derren Brown, on how to influence the creative process.

A fact is a fact but perception is reality


We live in stories. This is reality. Who we are and how we function are determined not so much by the events that shape us, but by the interpretations we give to these events and the stories we tell about them; to others and to ourselves. This perception of reality determines who we are and how we do business, enter into friendships, quarrel, et cetera, et cetera.


Everyone is a master storyteller
Of course, only a few people can really tell a story really well; nevertheless, the narrative structure is in the genes of every single human being on earth. This means: we all have the ability to think in cause and effect, to filter information and then select from it based on relevance and usefulness; the art of thinking and acting in terms of structures, plot and theme. Stories are not only the reflection of reality – stories create reality.

This is the motto of CEO

Optische illusie: hangen of klimmen?

The other perspective

The factor that links together all the activities of the Creative Executive Office is a fascination for the story as the driving force behind our behaviour.

In both mediations and conflict management, but also in training, coaching and the creative interventions, the other perspective is central: 'can we look at this situation from another, new and unexpected angle?'

Take conflict management, for example. You could describe every conflict as the struggle between two opposing interpretations of the same events. In narrative mediation, the mediator and the parties together go in search of another perspective: 'are the parties capable, regardless of their own convictions, of working on an alternative story that is constructive and even inspirational?'

Een ander perspectief

Do you have a different point of view?

A fact is a fact but perception is reality.

True, or nonsense? Do you have anything to add, or do you see things differently? Then let me know!

Responses / stories / films / photos can be included both in this 'blog' and under CEO impressions.
Send a mail to:

Optische illusie: bewegen of stilstaan