I speak with many senior leaders who often share with me that they feel trapped in their role – once sold on a beautiful mission (and/or lured by hefty bonuses), now hindered by clocked-off bureaucracy and admin full of reports and meetings. They say that they have little or no influence over company direction or grand decisions made. They feel like they don’t belong to something greater than themselves.
“I’m just one small replaceable piece of this big corporate machine” –
they tell me.
“Only x years until my retirement.”
….and then you have those (sometimes) awkwardly nagging but eager souls that are called The Startuppers.
You, the Corporate Man, are so absorbed by your day to day tasks that you barely see any reason why should you dedicate your limited time in trying to understand whatever they’re selling. Now it’s not a good time. Now you’re in the middle of digital transformation/leadership reshuffling/short on staff/about to go on holidays* (*delete where not applicable).
In the end, they need you more than you need them, so they can wait, right?
This is your chance to matter. To be a part of a beautiful story. To find your meaning. And, if you’re lucky and there is a good chemistry, you may land a nice advisory role with some stock options as a generous thank you. A way to show that they highly value your expertise and trust you. And if that thing you’ll help building scales £££…
To them, you’re a gateway to a better life. But not only their own. They will pay it forward. They are driven by noble goals (well, at least most of them), and they’ll do everything in their power to create jobs and improve more lives. And they will do everything in their power to prove themselves.
They probably have done a lot of sacrifices already. They may have postponed starting a family because they left a well paid, secure job in order to dedicate to their mission. Things are not moving as fast as they would have hoped, yet they endure. They get kicked out through the door, and they climb back in through the window. They may have experienced a couple of breakdowns while trying to keep their smile on. The show must go on. Doing this weird dance moves with three steps forwards, four steps back. On repeat.
When things go all the way south, your yes to running a small pilot makes their day (you have no idea how many happy dances go there in the background). You represent reputation and trust. Your time can make or break it for them.
You both have the same goal. To build things that matter. To matter. Use this opportunity.
I’ve made many beautiful friendships with our clients and prospects. Business is personal, no matter what movies tell you. Business is people. And people like to bond and enjoy a company of each other. And while I don’t play golf, I’d surely happily go to a Metallica, AC/DC concert or play tennis with some of you.
Next time someone pitches you over linkedin or email, spend a moment providing a quick feedback*. …unless they are a Untrite’s competition. Then you have all my permission to ghost them, ha ha 😅.
*a quick “not my area of interest” response is also very valuable since it allows these guys to move on (and you don’t end up in their eternal loop of follow ups.)
There is no us without you.
And for all our Untrite clients and prospects I say: thank you. To those who put trust in us and believed in us when there was little more than enthusiasm and willingness to challenge the status quo for the better.