Five months back, I quit a nearly perfect job as the Procurement Leader at Adobe. I had an amazing team and was working for a terrific leader. Thanks to ADBE stock growth, I was making plenty of money. And, our team was enjoying a well-earned improvement in our reputation for excellence. But I found an opportunity to fix some fundamental problems in B2B procurement that couldn’t be fixed inside Adobe, so I set out on my own so I could dedicate 100% of my time to this problem.

As you can imagine, this has been a HUGE learning experience. So, I figured it might be a good idea to share some of these learnings along the way. Some of these things may be just the encouragement some of you need to believe in yourself and your idea and you’ll have the courage to jump. But I think many of these startup learnings can strengthen your career and your team in corporate life.

If you like raw and genuine insights, this is for you. No fluff and recycled social sludge.

Lets get started… (what a difference it makes)

So, 5 months in, and our team is almost 10 people. If you’ve never done this before, you won’t believe the intensity and commitment. Everyone is engaged and focused on the same goal. Not only do we work a few more HOURS in the day. But we WORK more hours in the day. That alignment and intensity creates results that are unbelievable!

Discussions and debates are intensely focused on what’s best for the customer, product and project. Position or title is meaningless. The only thing that matters is progress. Personal agendas don’t exist. Either we succeed together or we fail together.

I’ve worked on a few amazing teams in my corporate life so I don’t want to infer it’s not possible in corporate life. But somewhere between the ‘boat burning’ intensity of startup and large organizations the magic is lost.

Before I jumped, I was afraid that some big company could chase us down. While I’m still afraid (I grew up in Andy Grove’s paranoid Intel world), I feel like we’re sprinting unburdened by overhead, agendas, politics, meetings, and drama. How can corporate teams and individuals RUN FAST carrying their giant backpack of nonsense?

Imagine what a difference it would make if you could simply set down that 100 pound backpack you and your team members are carrying. Your crawling or trudging could quickly turn to sprinting and winning.

How do you strip down to what REALLY matters? Is that level of trust and respect possible in your team? In your company? In YOU?

I don’t know you – but I believe you have unlimited potential. In the short term we maybe limited by our environment. But you don’t need to accept mediocre results from yourself, your team or your company.

If you want to jump and do something else. JUMP! You’ll almost surely land on your feet in a better situation. But if you don’t — then stop trudging, set aside the backpacks and burdens. Get engaged! Get aligned! Be a LEADER in whatever role you play! I have lots of ideas of how to do this… but I’d love to hear what you wish you could unburden from yourself and/or what you’ve done that worked.

What a difference you can make.


1 thought on “What a difference it makes

  1. It does make a lot of difference. But it also takes time to bring yourself to that mindset where criticism or perceptions don’t matter to you. But once you have set sight on your goals, one step at a time, you really start brushing off your baggage of expectations and sprint towards self improvement first. Many of us may not know where we want to go and still await for that strike to happen. But till then, does that mean we wait for that? I guess no. We all can simply work the best in whatever we are working upon.
    Thanks for the words Conrad. Reinforces the belief that deep down we all are retrospective and introspective humans. 🙂

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