September 30; A Helpmeet Gives Free Consulting MANAGEMENT BY THE BOOK: 365 Daily Bible Verse & One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful
Chapter Nine: Finance; September 30
Pride goes before destruction,
a haughty spirit before a fall.
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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