by Matt Thomas

I spoke with a gentleman a few years back who was hoping to find a new opportunity in Colorado. He was a VP at a mid-market SaaS company on the east coast. He made good money and his career had progressed steadily upward. With strong income, a stable job, and an environment that seemed to value and celebrate his contributions to the company I asked him why he was looking for something new? He responded, “You know, on the surface I am living the American dream. I’ve received promotion after promotion at a reputable company. I’ve made lots of money and for the most part I’ve enjoyed my work. The truth is my marriage is falling apart and I don’t know my kids. It’s time for a fresh start.” After a few seconds of silence that seemed to last for an eternity I told him I’d see what I could do to help. As impressive as his resume and obvious talent were, I was most encouraged by his vulnerability and willingness to do whatever it took to right the ship. He went on to share that the executive he reported to was a hard driver, expecting each of his VPs to put in 80+ hours / week plus regular travel. He hadn’t made it home for dinner on a weeknight in two years.

In a few months we found him a job with a good company on the Front Range. It was a lateral move with little to no increase in compensation or responsibility. Not the kind of jump that VPs making six figures typically make.

by Matt Thomas

A few months ago I met with one of our long-time clients. He’s had our company on retainer for nearly two years now. Needless to say, we’ve spent a fair amount of time “in his kitchen.” We’ve helped him secure talent, assessed his culture (twice), built out mentoring and training programs, and helped with strategic planning initiatives. Our meeting didn’t have any pressing items on the agenda, just a check-in to gauge progress and hear how things are going. I asked him, “so, how’s it going?” His response? “Pretty rough right now. We’ve got all these things in place to help strengthen our culture. We know where we want to go and have a clear vision for getting there. I love our people and I like most of our clients, but productivity has fallen off a cliff and I can’t figure out why.”

Over the years we have placed nearly half of his workforce, so I went one by one through each person, asking how they were doing. As he updated me on his employees I could see the light turning on. One was going through a nasty divorce. Another had a teenager with a drug problem. Another had been diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease. On and on he went. Key employees’ personal lives were a train wreck and it was impacting the entire company.

We’ve all been there.