Gerard Lenstra 'Dealing with disappointments'
  • Internationalizing

Gerard Lenstra 'Dealing with disappointments'

Gerard Lenstra 2021 01 Gerard Lenstra

You have probably heard the quote from the Twente comedian Herman Finkers: "The course in dealing with disappointments is once again cancelled. It is a somewhat light-hearted opening to this story, but dealing with disappointments is undoubtedly part and parcel of working at a regional development company, especially in acquisition projects.

Information backlog

And that's generally not because entrepreneurs have disappointing plans. Around many innovations, I and my colleagues have an information gap. After all, we cannot be exactly up to date on all areas. Sometimes this can be solved with a brief explanation, but certainly in the case of scientific developments, a few more teeth are needed to be able to understand the matter adequately. We have to get to the point where a development can be explained and substantiated in understandable language and I can see the logic why this can find a good place in our region, complementing what is already there. After all, that is surely a minimum condition for convincing other interested parties of this.


The disappointments I am referring to are about projects we have worked on for a long time. Where our region went from the long list of possible locations to the short list. Where we pulled out all the stops to answer all the questions, solve bottlenecks and organize networks. And where in the end another location is chosen after all, for a reason you can't change. Sometimes a rational reason, sometimes something completely intangible that you could not have foreseen. This is the process of acquiring.


Being able to deal with disappointments was the main focus of my last job interview at NOM a very long time ago. Because acquisitions of foreign companies fail more often than they do, you have to find the energy again to bite into the next opportunity with all your might. In terms of numbers, you could compare it to an iceberg: the tip of the successes that pass by in the media are only a small part of all the acquisition efforts that remain invisible to the outside world. Fortunately, the positivity of the efforts generously outweighs the disappointments.

This is how it can be done

There are also occasional projects that spontaneously fall into our arms. Everything fits: location fits, people fit, network fits, and more. Everything is prepared and arranged down to the last detail and, so to speak, a few phone calls are enough to complete the soft landing. And it goes without saying that we are also happy with these results for the region.


More interesting, however, are the projects with greater challenges, where we as an organization can ultimately make a difference. Working with the entrepreneur and others to see who to involve, making sure all parties in the game find each other, seeing the importance of a development and all pulling together to make it a success.

At NOM, we work with a dedicated and enthusiastic team on many such projects to make the region healthier, more sustainable and smarter. In this, we always try to take a surprising approach, to stand out and stay on the customer's radar. But the most important thing is and remains that we give them confidence that they will find a good home in our region and that we do our utmost to guide them smoothly past all the obstacles surrounding the setting up of a new activity. If all the pieces of the puzzle then fit neatly together and the trust is there, we will be awarded the project and media attention will follow. And if it fails, the outside world will rarely hear about it.

Nait soezen

We cannot do more than our best, let alone predict the future. In other words, dealing with disappointments, it is simply part of our job, or as the Grunnegers say: Nait soezen!.... On to the next opportunity.