Considering the Future as a Stakeholder


Hi, everybody. I’m Mike Staver. This is Mondays with Mike, a weekly video series where I answer questions from people just like you. Here’s this week’s question.

“I’m a consulting partner and shareholder in a failing company. I have no authority, but I do have influence. I am about 60% sure it’s going to fail. Customers love the company. There is reasonable loyalty as a consulting partner with no power. Do you have any thoughts about how to approach those in leadership about considering the future?”

That’s a rough spot to be in. I love this idea of “I’m a consulting partner”, I assume that means they listen to you. For some of you watching, a consulting partner and shareholder means there are certain kinds of stock or shares that companies can issue to people who are investors where they don’t have any real voting authority. They just have a certain number of shares in the business. So, he or she has some influence, but doesn’t have voting rights, which means they don’t really have the authority or power to weigh in with gravitas. So this individual is asking how to approach those in leadership.

Well, I think as a consulting partner, what you want to do is crate a space where you consult about the future. I am often a consultant, and I’m often a coach to companies that are not doing very well. And what my role is, is just to simply come in and say “let’s look at the future and let’s do a program called Worst Case, Best Case, Most Likely Case.”

Those of you who have been watching Mondays with Mike for a long time know that I use this all the time, and I’ve used it with a lot of different managers in the mix. So I would consult with them and say Let’s look at the trend, go get some data and follow the trend, then it’s a worst case, best case, most likely case for what’s going to happen next. Next, let’s put a plan together.” That is my recommendation as the consulting partner, and see if you can get them to do that. If you can’t and these shares are sellable, you might want to bail. If they want to listen to you as a consulting partner, and you see the writing on the wall, you may not want to write it into the dirt, particularly if they have covenants or requirements relative to the other shareholders. I assume it’s not a publicly traded company.

So, that’s what I would do. Consult with them consider what is their plan, not for making it successful (hopefully they already have that plan) but what is our plan if we continue to fail, you know, if you believe it? 60% sure, that’s significant. By the way, the same exact thing goes in marriages, if you’re a solopreneur, in any relationship or business. If you’re 60% sure this thing is going to fail, you have to sit down and talk about what’s the strategy if we do fail, not what’s the strategy to save it, because you should have already had that conversation. If you have not, it’s time to! Right? So verify that there’s a strategy for success, and then talk about what’s the best plan if we fail, if we’re starting to fail, or if the trend continues.

I hope that’s helpful, take care.

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