Over a 48-hour period last month, CEO’s were falling like mayflies at dusk.  There are Lesson Found for owners to glean from these resignations.

The carnage began on September 24th when WeWork founder Adam Neumann resigned because “[t]oo much has been placed on me.”  The next day saw the resignation of eBay’s Devin Wenig citing differences with eBay’s board.  Also on September 25th, Juul’s CEO Kevin Burns resigned under mounting regulatory pressure.

As owners, we don’t have the “luxury” to follow these CEOs’ example and simply resign.  Our lives are wrapped up in our businesses. For many, our companies are financed with loans backed by our personal guarantees.  Others have fiduciary and ethical responsibilities to our partners and backers.  And there are the other emotional attachments.  Unlike eBay’s Wenig and Juul’s Burns, we’ve built the business on our own, from the ground up. It is our “baby”.  (While Neumann also built WeWork from nothing, his actions reveal his very unfatherly relationship with the company.)

The company’s success is our success. There are three fundamental components to ensure both.

Goals: I’ve written extensively about goals.  But the importance of having clear, documented goals cannot be understated.  And these should extend beyond the business to incorporate personal goals.  After all, aren’t personal goals the motivation for building the business?

Accountability: We have ideas for how to achieve these goals but all too often find ourselves extending deadlines as “life gets in the way.”  But, as the person in charge, there is no one to hold us accountable and guide us.

Support: We hire the best people possible but still need to be careful with what we say to them to avoid having the intent of our words being misconstrued. Even our outside trusted advisors may not fully comprehend the complexities involved in running a business like ours.  And, as supportive as our spouses try to be, it is unwise to constantly be bringing work issues home.  The result is Lonely-At-The-Top Syndrome.

A cure for Lonely-At-The-Top Syndrome is a peer advisory group.  That is why I have become a Vistage Chair.  The Vistage model is simple yet quite powerful: Owners coming together in a confidential, non-competitive environment where we bring our most significant issues and opportunities and we work together to make the very best decisions possible.  That’s why a Dunn & Bradstreet analysis showed that companies who join Vistage grow 2.2x faster than other similar companies.

I am currently building a Vistage peer advisory group specifically geared to Small Businesses.  For this group, I am looking for business owners with a growth mindset; integrity; and who are open to both share and receive honest assessments of each other.  Since it is a non-competitive group, each business category is limited to one-member company but I still have openings in some categories. If you’d like to see if your category is still available and learn how peer advisory groups can benefit you, email or call me (717-439-6254).

Life brings us lessons every day.  Sometimes from expected sources.  And sometimes from sources and situations we never would have thought possible.  Either way, they are a gift found. I am fortunate to find these types of lessons regularly and wanted to share them with you with this weekly series of “Lessons Found”.
Did you recently receive the gift of a Lesson Found that has helped you with management, marketing or another aspect in business? I would love to hear about it. Comment below or send me an email to let me know.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT:  Headlines in image from The Wall Street Journal.