Follow Us:
Most Popular Articles:
Categories: Team:
Sometimes I Scare Myself ...

Date:April 21, 2014

Sometimes I scare myself and I’m sure that I often scare others. However, it keeps coming back to me that experience plays a huge role in understanding and being able to predict / assess / estimate future outcomes.

4Growth was retained in an active management role leading the sales area for a technology business. I was the lead consultant and was in the role only a few days when I began to ‘see’ a variety of behaviours that I knew were incongruent with business growth. If allowed to continue these behaviours would stifle any potential change. On a weekly basis, I would report my concerns to my business partners as to the eventual outcome.

It was on the first day of the assignment when a key member of the management team reached out to me to have lunch, which turned out to be illuminating.  While under the guise of a friendly lunch that executive’s real agenda was to:

·         Give me the ‘lay of the land’

·         Inform me that although he wasn’t involved in my being retained, he ‘approved’ my arrival

·         Go to great lengths to share with me his vast knowledge of selling and how he’d done that job before – although he was better at his current job

·         Let me know that he was going to be the next President and to ask if I was ‘OK’ with that

·         Tell me who should stay and who should go on the team

·         Tell me that if the previous sales manager had listened to him, he’d still be there (‘I tried so hard to coach and mentor him’ were his exact words)

·         Inform me that the current owner and President had made several key mistakes over the past year but with good management support (like me and him), we’d be able to help him to be better

·         The company would grow and prosper under his management guidance

Now, that’s a lot of information to consume on day 1! Over the next few months, I learned how this individual manipulated people and situations around him to sabotage the organization. He did it in an understated manner. He wasn’t a yeller, but he was aggressive and overbearing. He began to recruit key individuals around him from his previous company that supported his style and initiatives; even in areas where he had no direct accountability.

Unfortunately, this happens often in businesses trying to grow. People are fearful of change. It’s easier to regress to the ‘old’ way or the way that it used to be. This is simple because it’s familiar. It’s what got to them where they are.

There’s some value in doing what’s simple and easy. There’s a natural tendency for people to do things that make them feel comfortable. When it comes to growing a business though, we often have to do things that are different and cause us to feel uncomfortable. Doing ‘new’ things is scary because we don’t know the outcome. There isn’t the predictability that comes from doing these new things – especially if you’re introducing new models or new systems. The hardest part is waiting to see the results from the newly constructed changes. In today’s environment, there’s a tendency to expect immediate results because we live in that kind of world.

This is where experience matters. In this assignment, it was easy to see the predictable outcome of these behaviours. It was easy to see the potential actions and reactions. It was harder however to convince senior management that the outcomes of this regressive behaviour would not improve or grow the business.

We cited case studies, evidence and examples from our experience that illustrated what ‘might be’. We illustrated outcomes that would occur if these existing behaviours were to continue. Unfortunately, people want to believe that ‘something’ will never happen to them – until it does – and it did. In the end, the business owner couldn’t accept the ongoing behaiour of this executive, which we saw back on day one (the scary part). The shareholder / owner is still there. The other is not.

Experience Matters – and that can be scary. 

Add A Comment

Date:April 21, 2014