Column: Keep innovating actively, especially during difficult times!

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Keep innovating actively, especially during difficult times!

As entrepreneurs, we are in the same situation in many ways, regardless of the branch we are working in. We all face shortage of staff and ewe have to deal with the uncertainty resulting from the war in Ukraine and the extreme high inflation.

I think that in uncertain times it is important not to let it bring us down, and to look to positive things and opportunities. That also means: Keep the right focus. A nice psychological sagacity is: ‘Good leaders do not focus unnecessarily on things that they can’t  influence, but they focus completely on thing they can influence. ’In our company that means: As a small logistic provider I won’t be able to stop the inflation and I don’t have a magic stick to solve the shortage of drivers tomorrow. But I cán influence other things, such as the resilience of my employees and the atmosphere in our company. We van also decide if we want to keep innovating, or not, in these hectic times.

And that is where our focus is. Especially in a difficult period we choose not to let our heads hang down. What you often see is that in difficult times companies are very self-absorbed and focus on internal processes, with the aim of reducing as much costs as possible. We chose another way. As a family company we always keep a close eye on the costs, so there is no need for an extra focus on that. Instead we look at opportunities to innovate. For example: we started a new service to France and we bought a new scanning system for our warehouse. We look at the opportunities that arise, especially now. Every period has its own dynamic and if you learn to recognize the dynamic in a turbulent period, you can see the possibilities of such period. And we don’t only invest in new services and better technology but also in the culture of our organization. We continue with our leadership program and embedding a culture of human and customer-oriented organization at all levels of Van Duuren.

If you read my columns regularly, you know that I like the so called ‘aphorisms’, simply because they often are true. Recently, during one of our leadership sessions  we talked about an aphorism of Charles Darwin. His most famous ‘legacy’, the Survival of the Fittest’ often is misinterpreted as ‘the survival of the strongest.’ That is not what Darwin means. It is not the strongest who survives, nor the most intelligent one. It is the one who can adapt best.

And actually, that is what an entrepeneur is doing constantly. You adapt to changing circumstances. We have to face the storm, if we want or not. And you will pass this journey much better with a strong, resilient and optimistic team.

I think that the most important thing that we, as entrepreneurs, never should forget …. Sorry, I have to stop. The first trailer from a new customer just arrived at our warehouse and I would like to see the goods. First things first. I will continue next month……

Every month I write a column about my experiences as founder and director of Van Duuren. This column can also be found on our  social media. Would you like to receive my column every month? Let me know by sending an e-mail to and I’ll send it to you from now on.