- Sizeable revenue loss.
- Impending litigation with a former CEO.
- Contract dispute with a large financial institution.
- Derailed development project.
Could it get any worse? The company was literally on the verge of being forced to close its doors.
The key was identifying and attacking each problem individually. While this led to healthy arguments, it also led to decisive action and a path to success. This troubled company had spent an inordinate amount of time talking about company issues, without really addressing how to resolve the underlying problems. One key board member summarized the company status reports by saying: “I don’t need a weather report . . . I need to know what actions you are taking to solve the problems.”
The underlying reason behind the lack of progress, however, was the fact that there was really no one in charge so issues were debated ad nauseam without a decisive plan of action.
As the four problems above were starting to come to a head, I was appointed CEO. I forced decisions. While I strove for consensus, I didn’t always get it. Instead, after an appropriate debate, I made a decision and moved the company forward issue by issue.
We bought enough time to create software with meaningful differentiation in the marketplace which allowed us to sell the company to a larger entity. This afforded the founders new positions and the resources to pursue a renewed vision of success.
What were the key steps?
- Trimmed costs to minimize our burn rate despite the sizeable revenue loss.
- Eliminated distraction of the lawsuit with the former CEO by settling the case.
- Forced the major financial institution to the negotiating table and resolved contract dispute; this bolstered company revenue and allowed it to operate in the black.
- Fired original development team and moved the project to new software developers. They got the project back on track which drove real intellectual property value to the organization.