Time to reflect

By Marc-André Alary / Unison Workplace Strategies

It’s been more than a year since my son Christian returned to the organization after working 3 years working for a manufacturer.

How about we do a postmortem of this first year? The best summary I can do is with this sentence:

A bad day for my ego is a bad day for my soul.

Why this affirmation?

I was a partner in the company for 15 years until 2017 when I became CEO and sole owner of Unison. It was at that point that I decided to put my growth plan in place.

After 4 years, if I rated myself for my performance as a CEO on executing my plan, the results are obvious, it is very disappointing. If I had a board of directors, I believe my job would be in jeopardy.

Although we had a good foundation cash wise to support our growth, I have learnt that you can burn cash faster than you think. Hiring mistakes, lack of focus, a business not ready for change in ownership and my forcefulness on moving forward has had a very disappointing impact on our financial performance.

When Christian became aware of this, he was disappointed. I had to let my ego aside and explain the situation and not blame anyone or anything other than myself. I made decisions that did not bring the expected results. Not easy to admit your bad decisions to someone else, especially your son.

With that being said, strategically speaking, we have made giant steps. Our mission, vision, values, and all other strategic concepts such as the sandbox, BHAG, ideal customer, our differentiators, our flywheel has never been clearer to me and my team. Now our focus is there, and we know where we are going while remaining open to the unexpected.

On a very positive note, I’m thrilled to see that Christian’s vision on what he intends to do is pretty similar to mine. My role now is to help him build a company that will support him in achieving his mission and vision.

Our 2021 results, while still disappointing, have had a beneficial impact on me. I want to accelerate the implementation of my plan, our plan, while remaining cautious. Our determination is fueled by passion and weekly actions that are moving the needle in the right direction.

The reality is that Unison depends on me way too much, which is not the best scenario since it anchors me to the business. I need to start working towards my freedom and Christian’s freedom to build a well-run and profitable business.

On a final note, here’s a quote on humility.

“Humility is not denying your strengths, humility is being honest about your weaknesses.”