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management Opportunity…

by | Oct 27, 2020 | manage, Opportunity, Van Halen

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It was another meeting, another group of people, and by knowing the list, I didn’t even need to know the topic. I could tell you who would say what, what would not be decided, what would not be done… and I knew more than ever it was time to move on. Through a series of adventures, some of which you have read about, I had realized that up was not happening and that I needed to look for something different.  Luckily I had started my practice of interviewing once a year, EVERY year, to ensure I was clear what the market was offering and that I could match up or not… and had 2 offers… but which way should I go?

I have worked now with literally hundreds of leaders to transition into, and out of, situations that … well were at least different 😉  Many of the things we talk through come from hard-learned lessons that I hope they will not repeat. For this lesson, I had adequately pursued something new and different, and being a decent salesperson and closer, landed 2 offers that were both… different but not that great.  One was into a small consulting company with some leaders who were very impressed with their knowledge of wine. The other was with an old boss who was in a company that had some “issues” that needed addressing. And at this point, I had already let my cards be seen where I was so staying was not a possibility… 

By the end of 1984, Van Halen had released albums that each topped the one before, and tours that had layered on more and more dates, with bigger and more elaborate stage shows. After the first album, they had sold out most shows, and ended the tour, and returned to accolades, and a $3 million dollar bill…the net they owed the Record Company.  And like all teams, the creative differences that were vital at the beginning were now starting to tear in different directions.  Roth wanted to head into the movies with his flamboyant persona on full display.  He thought he had a movie deal, and wanted Eddie to do the soundtrack.  Eddie was frankly wanting to do less, and spend some time building a recording studio to allow him more control, more money, and continue his interest in technology.  

He also was a working alcoholic.  (That interview is worth listening to…) Like many musicians, the shy kid who mastered the fretboard had paralyzing stage freight… and learned from his Dad that alcohol could help him get over that.  Starting to drink at 12, he was now well into his 30’s, and while he loved the money, he was beginning to not be able to keep it up as much.  Dave released an EP of solo songs that were much more of the “party” music he was interested in doing, and that started the machinery on breaking up the band.  It was a difficult separation, with Roth commenting what he would do differently, “.. not name the band with someone else’s last name” – a true story – it was his idea and the boys didn’t really like it. 

For me, it was one of my favorite Far Side cartoons:  with the devil and pitchfork in front of 2 doors.  “Damned if you Do” and “Damned if you Don’t”.  Neither job was actually that great, and I realized I needed to add a few steps to my Opportunity management process… is this a good job FOR ME?  Which meant I had to really understand what I was heading for, or running from.  That is easy to say, and very hard to actually do.  As you think about the Opportunity ahead for you, answering those questions is key.  What can you do to close the gap between what both parties “think” they want, and what is actually possible? Step 1 – Fair Warning before becoming… UnChained. 

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