The best way I learn is by doing the work. To that end, doing a look-back on experience is the best way to capture learnings for future use. I’ve long framed the journey with Contactually as business school – to that end, following the acquisition, the post-mortem on 7.5 years was almost sacred to me.
One of the interesting trends that came out of doing a peer review with our co-founder/COO was particularly noteworthy. Both of us kept coming back to the feeling that we never had full permission to execute what we felt best for the company – because of the other one. There were potentially missed opportunities for major initiatives, restructurings, or even pivots, that were muted because neither one of us had both hands on the wheel.
One could easily write off this finding as a crutch – blaming any weaker aspects of execution on permission. However, in later years, I personally found myself frustrated, not because I was actively being blocked from making a change – rather, the perception that it wouldn’t be approved. As part of my routine maintenance of Plan B….n should Plan A hit snags, I explored what would happen if I suddenly found myself sole captain of the ship – and often walked away excited with what major changes I would implement. That those just remained daydreams and bullet-points in a journal, and rarely became plans for at least vigorous debate, is on me.
“It’s all your fault. “Andy Dunn, Founder, Bonobos