Jul 19, 2023

Scary Decisions

When it comes to making game changing decisions in our personal or professional lives, it can be pretty damn hard to jump off the cliff and take the plunge. And this often means we make smaller, less impacting decisions, or no decision at all.

Small and impactful decisions are great for sustainable, incremental progress, but a clear vision of the end game is important so that all these little decisions line up to the goal. Alternatively, bigger decisions need to be well calculated and risk assessed because the bigger the leap, the bigger the fall.

I started with Jenkins in 2016. The business was in great shape, but the team were keen to develop areas of the business outside of produce labelling. We carved out a vision and strategic roadmap, and the team came together over the subsequent five years to do some seriously amazing work. Our business is much bigger, and our portfolio is much deeper and our reputation is applauded across the industry. We are genuine market leaders across several product groups and services in the industry, not just one. This has been due to hundreds of important, but smaller, decisions that all lined up with the vision.

Recently however, I made a big scary decision, and that was to handover the leadership of Jenkins to some fresh eyes and ears. There are many layers to that decision, but central to it is my intuition that I do not have the ‘thing’ this awesome team need to take the next plunge. This is hard to admit in some ways, as doing what I do and the way I do it becomes very emotionally entangled and not easy to step away from. But in some ways it has been extremely liberating. It will be the first time I have openly been moving on from a role without forward plans. The normal process of sneaking around and finding a new job, then advising of your imminent departure is a bit yukky right?

The interesting part of this scary decision, is that it somewhat contradicts my normal operating style which I touch on at the beginning of this blog – the bigger the call, the more considered you need to be. The reality is that I have no firm plans for what I do next and I am putting my families livelihood at risk by not having the next gig firmed up. But just like the intuition that told me its time for fresh leadership at Jenkins, it also tells me that everything will be fine (and rest assured, there is a solid back up plan!).

It has been an amazing seven years at Jenkins and I even look back on the scariest of moments (a pandemic, a government wanting to ban produce labels and a cyclone spring to mind!). I still smile at how incredible the people around me are, the resilience shown and the ability to grab things up, and make a series of small decisions that land us in the best possible position at the end point.

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