September 30; A Helpmeet Gives Free Consulting
MANAGEMENT BY THE BOOK:
365 Daily Bible Verse &
One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful

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Chapter Nine: Finance; September 30

Pride goes before destruction,

a haughty spirit before a fall.

Proverbs 16:18

A Helpmeet Gives Free Consulting

Hubris

Your Business Professor was giving the medical device a close examination. Not because medical sales used to be my interest; not because it used to be my business. But for two other reasons:

  • The device was sticking out of my body. And,
  • It was imprinted with the trade name of one of my old companies.

***

Your Business Professor signed the offer letter. The deal awarded me 2.75 % of the company for my expertise as hired gun as Vice President of Sales and Marketing. A big percentage and even bigger bucks. I lusted after that wheelbarrow loaded with loot. I was blinded by the money.

I could not see. I was, I thought, simply the best manager on the planet for that company. I had extensive product knowledge; I had close relationships with potential customers; I knew the blood and bones of that market.

I could see through the sales complexity as clearly as a peeled-back illustration in Gray’s Anatomy of the Human Body. I was, in a word, perfect. And I knew it. The New England based venture was lucky to get me.

Charmaine raised some questions. But what does she know about High Risk; High Reward? The Big Picture? What could she know? A woman…?

Anyway, while waiting for the start-up’s legal beagles to get their signed copy back to me, I got down to work.

Even before the job offer I had proven the value of my customer network by selling the product and opening a new account delivering a purchase order to the CEO. The technology solved a problem that my clinicians had been struggling with for years.

Life was good and going to get better. I would launch sales and marketing, drive the numbers, then I would cash-out and get his and her Lamborghinis.

I brought in key salesmen and some two dozen clinical trainers from my previous start-ups. I opened-up my customer list of helpful contacts and decision makers.

A few months later Charmaine joined me while I worked a trade show with my new CEO. He was a smooth guy. But around Charmaine he went from slick to slimy. He would drop the F-Bomb. At a memorable dinner he recited to Charmaine passages from some bodice-busting Harlequin novel. More distaste would follow.

On the drive home from that meal, Charmaine asked, “Jack, did you ever get that signed offer letter?”

I am silent.

“You never will,” she says. She was right. She always is.

***

In every class I tell students why Your Business Professor is driven to have students review the “why?” as Simon Sinek outlines in his book, Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.

I tell the story of the “Why” in why I teach because I don’t want people to make the same mistakes that I did. And why I made them. For example, a job had better not be all about the money as it had been for me.

And that attention-to-detail in paperwork is important…

***

As Charmaine predicted, I never got the “executed document,” as the lawyers called them. I got nothing back on the signing-off detailing the equity position or compensation. We soon parted company. No stock and no final paycheck. A few decades later, the medical device company was sold for hundreds (hundreds!) of millions of dollars.

I got 2.75% of nothing.

I got nothing but a good story and an eye-opening lesson in humility.

###

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18

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