Clarity of intent makes the decision so much easier! - An interview
August 5, 2014
Today I spoke with a businessman. He decided that he needed to leave the company that he grew from scratch for more than 15 years. His reason - so that it can continue to grow. One would think that this is the most difficult decisions he has had make and there might have been a lot of to-ing and fro-ing on the way to the decision. It was actually, completely the opposite. Here is an excerpt of interview with him on his decision making process.
WE: Was this the most significant decision you have had to make over the past 15 years?
HE: Of course. I started this company with little on my back and spilled blood, sweat and tears over it for almost a third of my life. While it is not fantastically successful, it has given me the lifestyle that few can afford. So yes, it is a significant decision.
WE: What made you do this?
HE: The business has stopped growing. We have been profitable 9 years over the past 10. Yet, it has not grown. It is like we were cruising at 60km/h on the Autobahn. Ultimately, everything will pass you by at that speed.
WE: Are you saying that your main intent is to let your company grow faster?
HE: Yes, with more products, more market reach, more profits
WE: Then why not stay around and drive that growth? You are ultimately the most important person in the company. You are the most experienced. And you have created its products. Why leave when the company needs you most?
HE: Actually, that is furthest from the truth. It needs someone most, but that someone is not me. I have done all I can. I have created the products and the systems and it is time it moved on its own. If I continue to stay there, I will micromanage, I will want to change the system, I will want to go along one path then quickly switch to another when I don't see that it is working; when all the while, I have not allowed the system to settle down. So, no, I don't think I am the best person to lead the company now.
WE: This is a big insight. How did this come about?
HE: I applied thinking-in-time. I looked at all our past years' results - something I had not done previously - saw our financial performance, and saw that we never did anything to change the outcomes. Hence, we got what we've always done. Something drastic needs to happen, I realised that the most drastic would be me leaving the company.
WE: So thinking in time helped you come to the decision?
HE: It helped me understand why we are in this position, and that something needed to be done to change it.
WE: What did you do after you made the decision to leave?
HE: Instead of just saying - here's the business, good luck; I actually gathered all my people together and we strategised the next steps. We decided to expand our product offering, our market reach, and our service delivery. All in one sitting. And with a sense of urgency that I had not seen before. It was as though they were driven by a wind that suddenly picked up speed.
WE: So the decision to change invigorated your people?
HE: Absolutely! 100%! I think that the people also realised that now there is a good chance that the company will take off and do even better than before.
WE: How do you feel about this?
HE: I think it has been one of the best decisions I had ever made. I think by doing this, the company would be financially stronger, and use the money to grow more, and put changes into motion. These would not have been possible if I was still hanging around. And you know what? I feel great about this decision. It is suddenly that a dead weight has lifted off my shoulders.
WE: So clarity of intent makes you feel better about the decision?
HE: Absolutely. Without clarity of intent, and without clarity of execution, I would still have remained in limbo. And that is a fate worse than death!
WE: Congratulations. So what's next for you?
HE: I don't know yet. I want to see who needs a person like me and how I can contribute to society. Maybe run for president? Haha...