Breaking isn't always bad

By Jon Tanner

Single_2b7798a6f930f79b

Some years ago I was dealing with a difficult situation, and one of our advisors offered me some sage advice; "Sometimes people outgrow companies, and sometimes companies outgrow people.”

The more time goes on, the more I appreciate the value of an elegant dismount. All things tend to grow at different rates, people and businesses are no different. Ambitious people need the space and latitude to evolve. If that happens more quickly than an organisation can accommodate (or vice-versa), then breakups tend to occur. There are always lessons to be learned when things don’t work out, but the key takeaway is that there is rarely any value in taking seperations personally.

Over the past 17 years, including our current team, we have had nearly 200 remarkable Lakers pass through the doors of our business. Because we typically stay in touch, we know that many of our alumni move on to challenging and significant opportunities and challenges. We are lucky that we still get to work with some now as clients, partners, suppliers, and even the (very) odd competitor :)

Without question, many X-Lakers outgrew us for the right reasons. It never feels good when someone leaves your business (or your team), and it’s just as hard to make the call. The upside is a bit like cell division. As you get older you realise that every personality leaves something of themselves behind and also takes a little bit of your DNA with them. Ideally, you both learn what you can from the relationship. Where there remains a substantial alignment of values, you can stay connected enough to be good partners, ambassadors or advocates for each other.

The image above represents a brand map of where nearly 50% of X-Lakers are now working. I find it interesting that so many of our alumni have kicked on from providing services externally to working inside some of the worlds highest profile ventures and brands. Some have even transitioned to product roles and founded their own startup companies. I like to think that in many cases we played a decisive role in developing and accelerating their interest and passion in startup ventures and the technology landscape, even if we were only a small chapter in their story.

We started off as a team of two in Sydney in 2001 and grew up slowly, then sometimes quickly through numerous cycles. Every growth spurt more often than not has been accompanied by some pain. Through two booms and two busts, growing from our first office to our second state, then one country to four continents. As is the experience for many of our growing clients the pattern is often one step back for every two forward. Change is the only constant.

MitchelLake is about to take some significant steps forward. If you appreciate change and want to advise some of the world's leading ventures and entrepreneurs how to identify leaders and build teams, we should talk. We are currently looking to make senior principal to partner level hires for our executive search and growth practices in Sydney, Melbourne, San Francisco and Singapore. We are also looking for Partners in other cities in Europe, Asia, and North America.

Please reach out if you would like to find out more about MitchelLake. For inquiries about current opportunities contact Kyle McGinty, our Group Manager, Talent & Culture.