Magazine article Management Today

Wise Words: What's Your Problem?

Magazine article Management Today

Wise Words: What's Your Problem?

Article excerpt

Stop being resentful that you no longer own the company: you chose to sell it, remember?

Q I sold my start-up to an established rival, I'm six months into a two-year earn-out and I'm hating it. After all those years running the show I can't work with a boss again, especially when she and I never agree on the big calls. I can't afford to bail out early, but it's spoiling the memory of the business I nurtured, and all the good things I have achieved there in the past. How can I make the best of the time that's left?

A The terms of your earn-out are presumably dependent on the company meeting certain quite demanding performance targets? And presumably your role, despite having to work with an uncongenial boss, is crucial enough for you to have an appreciable effect on those targets, one way or another?

So at its worst, what you face over the next 18 months is this: being locked into a job for which you no longer have any enthusiasm and so failing to meet the targets that tempted you to go for this earn-out in the first place.

I have a certain amount of sympathy for your predicament - but only a certain amount. You, alone, got yourself into this mess and you alone can make the best of it. So the first thing you've got to do is stop feeling so mawkishly sorry for yourself. Face up to the fact that if you fail to meet those targets, you'll not only have wasted two years of your life but will have forfeited much of the satisfaction of having launched and built a successful company. Stop being resentful that you no longer own the company: you chose to sell it, remember? Grit your teeth and make yourself work with this boss. Concentrate obsessively on the company's performance: excellent results and a healthy end-of earn-out cheque are the only things that, retrospectively, will make the whole adventure seem worthwhile.

And it's only 18 months.

Q One of my directors has always had a touch of the hypochondriac, but with all the flu that's been around things are going too far. He's started picking on people with a sniffle, telling them off for coming in to work and spreading their germs when they could have stayed at home It's annoying the team and driving me crazy - our absence record is great and I want it to stay that way, but it won't if everyone with a winter cold stays at home. …

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