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Life without the word ‘despite’ – Eimantas Kiudulas

30 Dec 2021

Dear colleagues and friends,

For the second year in a row, I am writing my New Year’s greeting ‘under extraordinary circumstances.’ It seems that this and related phrases have become a standard that either strengthens one’s achievements or works as an excuse for slower progress.

‘The project was completed on time and on budget despite the pandemic,’ ‘expanding despite uncertainties in supply chains,’ ‘a successful event despite being carried out remotely,’ ‘smooth operations despite remaining challenges’ – we hear this wording almost every day.

I don’t mean to say that the challenges are over, but I wonder: what if we just skipped that ‘challenge’ part – first when talking, and then when thinking?

After all, we really got used to major parts of these challenges, others should not have been surprising from a historical perspective, and some others would probably not even be considered ‘extraordinary circumstances’ in ‘the old days.’ At the end of the day, business is all about tackling challenges, right? Dealing with the unknown and overcoming hurdles is something that paves the way for innovation and competitive advantages. On the other hand, wouldn’t our latest achievements be worth celebrating in ‘the old days?’ I think they definitely would.

I looked over this year’s highlights from the Klaipeda FEZ business community and tried to rethink them without adding thoughts like ‘despite’ and ‘under extraordinary circumstances’ — the Green Corridor for large investors initiative with dozens of public institutions, joining and contributing to the civic air monitoring initiative, strong results from customer and resident surveys, NEO GROUP starting production of more sustainable PET, partnerships with key partners in Nordic markets by AD REM LEZ, our initiatives focusing on the local youth, our Industrial Innovation Competence Center vision, Glassbel’s expansion, supporting initiatives by local communities, strong expansion projects by companies such as Roteksas, Elme Metall and Vingės Logistika. Let alone the exceptional story of REHAU – just 10 months from the start of construction to the first test batches. We also received several international awards and had meaningful local partnerships and joint initiatives with other players in the Klaipeda ecosystem. And I certainly didn’t mention everything, but all of these would make an incredibly strong year under any circumstances. What’s more, early data suggests that 2021 might be a record year by turnover, exports and other metrics.

Of course, I do understand companies. It’s not easy to make important decisions when there’s still quite a bit of uncertainty. The times are indeed a little ‘different.’ But I believe that the biggest shock is already over, and I don’t remember a time during my three-decade career in business when those who sat idly by were eventually victorious. Clearly, not every decision in life is the correct one, but the pursuit of progress and the efforts to achieve it are always the right direction!

I don’t mean to say next year will be easier, however we have already been ‘vaccinated’ with experience, and so decision-making should be less stressful. So for 2022, I would like to wish you courage and self-confidence.

I believe our work and achievements speak for themselves, and we did incredible things – both over the course of the past few years and decades. Let’s not hesitate to take pride in our achievements, but more importantly – let’s not stop. I was delighted how during the pandemic our business community was tackling such ‘eternal’ challenges as talent, efficiency, innovation and business environment – they will not go away even after the pandemic. However, I am certain that our creativity, fresh thinking, and ability to make decisive and accurate decisions will persevere.

Always yours,

Eimantas Kiudulas

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