Winds of change

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything

Herbert Shaw

A decision for transition

Late autumn of 2012, I decided it was time for a different way of managing the organisation.

A friend of mine gave me the book Maverick by Ricardo Semmler with the words: “this is you”. The book showed how a different type of management, the one I believe in, can work. I was inspired.

I decided to initiate a management transfer to 3 senior team members. One senior financial manager with many years of experience and two others who were in the organisation since many years. One of them I considered to be one of my closest friends, he was at the funeral of both of my parents.

This decision effectively took me out of the “CEO” role and leave the daily management to them, each with their own area of responsibility: sales, finance and operations. Decision making would be made “in consensus” by the management team.

I shared the principles which believed and which should underpin the management, drafted the budget based on my friends inputs and pushed start.

I would help with business development and more long term decision making. Since I was grateful my fellow companions were enthusiast about taking things further, i wanted to make sure they got their share, literally, so i decided i was going to give them stock in the company we built together.

Transition in action

The first months of 2013 went well, ahead of schedule on our plans, financial turbulence behind us and my fresh management team properly moving things forward. I was convinced i made the right decision. The only thing that bit us was – you guessed it – the business angel that didn’t come through.

We didn’t have any other choice left but to phase out our development team. We looked for a workable solution for all people involved. Especially the team lead was a cause of concern for me since he was my partner in the HR software company. I ensured that he could transfer to the new company, earlier than expected but I was convinced this could work.

It was tough but it was the only way forward.

The problem was that he couldn’t accept this and he actively started “boycotting” our plans. He was even proud to admit this to my face but only after he called me someone who “exploited” people.

I pushed through and by the end of april, the main issues were solved, I thought we were finally in calmer waters.

The numbers were good, my friend was managing sales well, things were moving forward operationally as i decided to hire a coach for my fresh operations coordinator. Things seemed to fall into place so i put out the official announcement to the entire team and left it to my team to take things further.

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