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F&D Blog The road back from the Nightmare on Corporate Street

Guest blogger Cliff Oxford of Entrepreneur Advisors wraps up his three part saga of hiring in a Dream Team to grow his business…

I had hired in the Dream Team  – a group of executives from large, highly successful companies – to help me grow my $35M company to the next stage. But the dream had exploded into a nightmare. Only the Controller had been a success. The CFO, COO and sales executives had not worked out.

Why had the Controller been such a big success? Lesson learned: he had been with his “Big Company” since they had started from scratch. He had been through the stages of building, branding and scaling the enterprise. The folks from the mega corporations didn’t understand the urgency of growth, Getting Stuff Done and leading with positive attitudes.

When I terminated the Dream Team it officially became a nightmare. Although they had not accomplished anything they expected large severance packages. We had not put in place a “prenuptial” agreement when we hired them and now we had a new financial burden.


So once the Dream Team was gone, how did we make it to the Inc. 500 for the next three years? We regrouped at a weekend retreat where we talked about why we existed as a company, our shared values and renewed our roles and responsibilities.  We realized we couldn’t do it without some new blood, but had learned that we needed to hire people who had gone from scratch to scale to success.

Having re-energized our passion to succeed we hired a new CFO who had taken a company from scratch through a successful public offering. He had been through it all. We then reorganized the leadership team, making some of the original team #1s again, some #2s and even a few #3s. Was the dream team bad apples? No, they were just misplaced apples by an entrepreneur who didn’t know better.  Just a lesson learned the hard way.

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