At the end of 2015, our partnership with a firm was brought to an end, after mutually determining it was no longer a strategic alliance, and we ventured out independently as Victorio Consulting in 2016. The decision to be an independently owned and operated consulting firm was not made lightly or quickly. Not to mention we didn't have any money to fund the transition - although we tried our hardest to forge new partnerships, it was up to us to make it all happen in real time. We were in the middle of total uncertainty and very rapid change. All we knew for a fact was that we were going to meet this challenge head-on and together. It was scary, because it was a new experience with serious consequences if we failed. I had launched two of my own little companies in the previous years, but nothing on this scale or with business partners that had skin in the game.
David Robertson makes a comment in Brick by Brick that descriptions that describes how I felt about initiating our declaration of independence,"even though LEGO was in a death spiral, many staffers greeted the leadership shake-up with unmitigated joy" (p.97). It was going to be the hardest thing we had taken on as a business team. Yet, I irrevocably knew that we were going to break through the market barriers with our innovative approach, unhinged from traditional corporate structure and build a stable, brand new, financially advantageous client base.
Due to a lack of financial resources, my mother (Ricci) and I took on the monumental tasks of rebranding, integrating into new tech platforms, communicating to existing clients, designing and creating a new website, and launching the marketing campaign. We had to divide and conquer according to our skills, strengths, and high functioning abilities to tackle each component of our "new" business, while utilizing a strong network of professionals and experts that were able to provide guidance (and a few client referrals) along the way. In two short months, we had to flip our business to continue revenues in order to cover the salaries for our two households with minimal gaps in income. The pressure was unlike anything I've ever felt in my life. There were moments of doubt and concern. What if we have to get J_O_B's? There is no way Ricci or I would be able to handle "normal employment" after so many years of functioning under our own discretion; we are flexible and collaborative by nature, but we're also owners, creative innovators and Entrepreneurs.
Throughout the transition process, we kept the dialogue open and honest, and looked to each other for support when the outlook was dark. No matter how many hours we put in, and sacrifices we made, we all retained a growth mindset and focused our intentions on what we would manifest: a consistent client and financial pipeline for sustainable organizational growth. Every obstacle in our way, we faced as a team and agreed that it was okay that we didn't know exactly what we were doing and that mistakes will be made. We decided not judge it until we see what happens - some of the biggest successes result from failure.
There were months when the budget was tight, and expenses (salaries) had to be greatly reduced, and we knew that it was for the bigger picture. As the year progressed, we were able to see what we could improve, and do things differently in order to alleviate the financial stress. It was empowering to experience how we came together as a business team and a family to make our dream a reality.
Partnership with Ricci taught me more than advanced organizational development during the transition. She showed me how to: handle pressure and difficult situations without breaking a sweat or mentally crumbling; get back up after every door gets slammed in your face; cope with deliberate sacrifices of business ownership while continuing to thrive; and that it all can be done gracefully with positivity and a smile. I learned that in order to be truly sustainably successful, remain mentally and emotionally positive, and achieve my greatest goals, I need to see problems and failures as oportunities. There is a reason why something did not work, and if you find that reason and work diligently to fix it, an entire world of possibilities opens up.
I believe our ability and determination (or "grit") to push past fear and jump head-first into massive change, responsibility and commitment, are the cornerstones of our success. If we had let fear or doubt control our behaviors and attitudes, then we absolutely would not have made it happen. The initial chapters in Carol Dweck's Mindset really resonated with me, as it outlined the growth approach I/we operated in; "why seek out the tried and true, instead of experiences that will stretch you?" (p.7). The motivational styles that dominated this experience is the mastery-oriented and adaptive patterns, because we were not going to let anything stop us or derail our mission. We were focused on both performance and learning goals, as described in Dweck & Leggett's, A Social-Cognitive Approach to Motivation and Personality. Their article also mentions that the mastery pattern requires a lot of confidence to maintain that high level of performance output; when I was feeling a lack of confidence I looked to Ricci's, and reminded myself that we CAN do this.
Sometimes the strength of an individual comes from the strength of their team.
Dweck, C. (2007) Mindset the New Psychology of Success.
Dweck, C. and Leggett, E.L. (1988) A social-cognitive approach to motivation and personality, Psychological Review, 95, p. 256 - 273.
Robertson, D. (2013) Brick by Brick