Moving on up....sort of
The Good Enough, The Bad and The Ugly Behavior - 11
Today Lisa Rehurek is the leading authority of RFP success and a bright, fun personality all rolled up in one amazing human being. Lisa was not always the direct and on top of it CEO. In fact, she had a career specializing in operational roles. She was so good at what she did that a former boss and long standing mentor asked her to be a business partner in a new venture. Admittedly a minority partner, but she was anxious to step into what she expected was going to be a new phase of her career and a new role with this person, Mr. X. With all the right contract and partner agreements between them, they quickly acquired and/or built 4 different businesses. With the growing complexity, Lisa's demands shifted. Unfortunately, Mr. X's expectations also shifted back to more of an employee/boss role. Lisa often felt more like an assistant than a partner.
Sensing a shift in his attitude, his satisfaction and well aware of the under performing companies, Lisa waited for Mr. X to tell her what was going on with him. She even had reason to believe that he was preparing to oust her from the partnership. Finally, she got too frustrated to wait any longer. She asked HIM to come to her office.
Lisa asked Mr. X to take a seat. She let him know that she could tell he was upset. She said she sees that the businesses are not doing what they had expected and wanted to talk it out. "So, X, what is going on?"
Mr. X says, "Everything is fine."
As Lisa pressed him, he continually clung to the party line of everything being fine. He didn't know what she was talking about when she asked about him distancing himself. That there was nothing for them to work on.
And like that, a 20 year friendly and professional relationship was over.
Today’s lesson: Be ready for "the talk".
Mr. X, Lisa can look back and see now, truly never treated, nor expected her to participate as a partner. Lisa acknowledges that she put Mr. X up on a pedestal and this facilitated the ability for him to cut her out. She also acknowledges she was not doing everything right. However, Mr. X was neither willing to treat her with the respect of an equal nor in the strategy as a partner. He had made a decision as a Boss and was not willing to share it with someone honest and motivated enough to ask straight out for conversation and consideration.
A great Boss will still have to make decisions for the company that may not always be to the benefit of an employee. However, know that the employees very likely can FEEL it coming. Know that if you are a Boss and smart enough to sense a change is needed, your team may be there too. Certainly Mr. X may not have been able to agree to Lisa's path or solutions but he certainly would have retained her respect and possibly even the friendly relationship.
Instead, a couple of days later Lisa walked into Mr. X's office and let him know she was optioning to dissolve the partnership at the end of the calendar year. Lisa had lost respect for him both as a mentor and as a business partner, much less a "boss". If he was unwillingly to be open and approach issues first with honest conversation, then there was no where for their partnership to go. Lisa's Boss Action was recognizing that this was "bad" and getting the heck out of there.
She was able to negotiate and get the high value she asked for during the dissolution. I suspect partially because he was so relieved she did the "deed" for him. Mr. X made sure to let Lisa know that there would "always be a place for you at one of my companies." Lisa happily responded, "Maybe one of these days there will be a place for you at one of mine." THAT is a Boss exit line.
Scale On Purpose