Letter from an Inc. magazine coverboy

For any entrepreneur, it’s a great joy to see his photo on the cover of Inc. magazine. Inc. is a publication that I’ve been reading for many years, as have over 700,000 other entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs.

In July 2010, I left Infosurv to pursue a life-dream and embark upon an around-the-world traveling sabbatical. I allowed an Inc. magazine writer to follow my adventure and that of my company’s executives back in Atlanta with dozens of interviews via telephone, email, and in-person. Finally, after much quiet anticipation, I got to read the final article about our dual adventures in the November 2011 edition of Inc., currently available on newsstands across the US.

I’m glad that Inc. could capture in words and photos this critical transition in the history of Infosurv. When I left the company last July it reached a new level of maturity, moving from founder-driven to professional management-driven, a leap that not all companies navigate successfully. Without my day-to-day involvement, new leaders emerged in the organization and exhibited a level of independence, motivation, and creativity that I consider inspirational. A special thanks and congratulations goes out to Carl Fusco, our Managing Director, and the other 3 members of our talented Leadership Team: John Barrett, Kyle Burnam, and Kevin Wilensky.

Not all companies thrive and drive forward, as Infosurv has, after the exit of its founder. This has only been possible with a gifted executive team who respects the values I instilled in the organization while not being afraid to exert their individual styles and philosophies. Of course there are times when our styles differ, as the Inc. article highlights, but I respect those differences and encourage my executives to lead in the manner that suites them best. Autonomy and accountability go hand-in-hand.

If you left the Inc. article with the impression that a tension exists between me and Infosurv management, I’m sorry to say that the truth is much less exciting. Several out-of-context quotes and personal impressions were inserted to give that impression, but it’s a journalist technique to add drama, not reality.

The primary goals of my sabbatical were to travel, unwind, and reflect upon the next steps in my life and career. The sabbatical was an unequivocal success thanks to my trusted team back in the office, giving me the confidence to “check out” both physically and mentally. This is a luxury that few entrepreneurs can enjoy, and for this great gift I will be forever grateful.

It’s my hope that our story will serve as an inspiration, both to entrepreneurs who feel ready to step away from their companies and to professional managers who feel ready to take their reigns. Unfortunately the Inc. article didn’t included any detail about the dramatic changes made within the company in the years prior to my sabbatical to facilitate its success: creating a strong leadership team, solid culture and values, clear metrics and accountabilities, and a formal strategic planning process. If you have questions about any of these please feel free to ask. If there’s sufficient interest I’m glad to devote future blog posts to these topics or whatever else interests my readers.

Thanks for visiting ChasingSummer.net and best of luck accomplishing your own dreams, whatever they may be.

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