Guest blogger Cliff Oxford of Entrepreneur Advisors watches the dream team transform into a nightmare.
August 22, 2012. So my company needed to add structure to grow to the next level and I was excited to have hired a complete executive team of heavy hitters. In the first two weeks the team had lots of opinions about what we should do – exciting!
But then I heard about a 6 month analysis period with no urgency for action. Uh-oh. As we got further down the road it became apparent that these weren’t leaders who could work in the trenches in the morning, talk to CEOs in the afternoon and rally the troops in the evening. Growing is a culture of doing and the Dream Team wasn’t used to that, coming from their large company back grounds.
Here is a case in point: I noticed a large growing receivable from a Fortune 50 company. The Dream CFO said “I will have someone call them.” As the receivable grew I asked him to call the CFO of the company to get this resolved. His response was “You want me to make a collections call?” He couldn’t (or wouldn’t) do it. Worse yet, he always focused on the negative, which was scary to the fragile ecosystem of a small, growing company.
The Sales Dream Team was an even longer bad dream. They asked for an endless list of support they needed to be effective, while pontificating about how they did things with their Fortune 100 past employers. They seemed like actors who needed a supporting cast, special lighting and all the right angles to close a sale.
Not surprisingly, we had a culture clash. Surprisingly it was not with the dream team and their #2s. It was when the long-term technical employees saw the Dream Team as doing less and making more than anyone else. The last group you want to get upset is your technical people, who are highly employable and the company feels pain immediately when they leave.
So now I have a Dream Team that is creating more problems than they solve. Stay tuned for Part 3 for Lessons Learned and how we got back on track to make it to the Inc. 500 list.
About the blogger: Cliff Oxford
Having launched a three-time Inc. 500 Fastest Growing Company and endowed Emory University’s top-10 ranking Executive MBA program, W. Cliff Oxford is bridging the gap between Harvard and hard knocks. Currently presiding over the fastest-growing entrepreneurial education company, Entrepreneur Advisors, Inc, Oxford brings talent and experience to entrepreneurial industry.