Whenever I think about a former VIM Executive Coaching client who built his business empire on adhesives, I have to smile. He is the kind of person who just makes you happy to be around.
First of all, he had, and still has a great sense of humor. Now I need to say that he takes his business very seriously, but he never takes himself too seriously. He long ago chose a path of openness and compassion for others, rather than investing in ego and self-centeredness.
His story is sad, or redemptive, depending upon the way you want to look at it. Long ago, he was a senior manager for a major accounting firm. He had a great salary, benefits and the respect of his clients and peers. Through absolutely no fault of his own, people in power above him engaged in what I shall term, “unethical activities.” The executive leaders above him, and indeed the company itself, got into legal trouble and with it the company collapsed.
He was “on the street” as they say. Sitting in front of his computer and clicking on job sites, networking, looking up old contacts, and going to CPA events. My future client received his share of interviews. Nothing seemed to fit. Part of it was not his fault. Hiring managers at other firms saw the name of his former company on his resume and while they realized it was totally outside of his control, they always seemed to choose other candidates. He called that time period in his life, “character building.”
After a few months passed, he started to feel the heat of not having an income. One day at a networking event, he had a chance meeting with the president of a glue company who was looking for someone to take over his business. The president of the glue company liked my future client.
“He said I seemed like I was a humble man,” laughed my client. “Maybe he sensed that I was staying up most of the night trying to figure out how to afford my kid’s tuition!”
My future client, a man whose clients once included a major hotel chain, an international airline and a medical center, announced around the dinner table he was going into the glue business.
“I told my wife and children that I would make the most of the opportunity. More than that, I would never do anything to hurt those who worked for me. I knew what it felt like to get let down.”
He went into the glue business and turned it into a success. In time, he took over the company. He knew virtually every joke about glue, even telling his top sales people that he was sticking with them (ugh!).
As the company grew, he acquired a firm that manufactured fasteners, an adhesive competitor and added several product lines. As his business grew, and he added layers of management, he had the wisdom to seek business coaching and that is where he called us at VIM Executive Coaching.
Surprisingly and despite the growing complexities of his dynamic corporation, he did not need a tremendous amount of coaching. He had several elements that we value here at VIM Executive Coaching built into his personality. He is a deeply compassionate man, he listens to his employees from the guys on the factory floors to his executives and most importantly, he takes a deep breath and responds to situations rather than reacting to them.
We focused on helping him to be a more effective manager, especially to allow him to choose the best possible candidates and to be willing to delegate some responsibilities. Overall, he became successful not because of the products, glue and such, but because he never lost his authenticity as a person.
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