Business and Leadership Thought Capital

Don’t Let Past Resentments Crush Your Future

When The Current Self Rebels Against Past Self-Destructive Decisions

At the beginning of the 2008 recession, I found myself without a job after losing my position as the Head of the Strategy Business for Hitachi Consulting. Fortunately, I quickly landed a new opportunity as the CEO of the Association of Management Consulting (AMCF). The organization was almost bankrupt, but with a team of just five people and working closely with the Chairman of the Board, I managed to turn it around, the organization became so profitable that within two years I had built reserves of 50% of our operating expenses.

It was difficult but satisfying work and generated a working relationship with the Board of mutual trust and respect. But a pivotal incident would shatter this success and ultimately lead me to resign in a very unprofessional and public way.

The incident occurred during an emotionally charged confrontation with the assistant of my second-in-command. Miscommunication and misunderstanding led to a heated argument where accusations were hurled, and tempers flared. In a moment of intense frustration and loss of control, I fired her, an action taken in the heat of the moment without careful consideration.

This thoughtless action marked a turning point in my experience at AMCF. It triggered a series of repercussions, including strained relationships with the Board, mounting pressure, and a growing sense that I couldn’t save the situation. On top of this, the Board wanted the team to do even more, even though we were given no new resources or money to make it happen.

The breaking point came during the Annual Meeting in February 2013. Frustrations reached a boiling point, and in a moment of defiance, I lashed out at the Board, telling them to go f*** themselves before promptly resigning. In that moment, I believed I was walking away with my head held high, asserting my control. But I was wrong.

For years, I struggled to understand the source of my actions, attributing them to issues of control and maintaining my public image. It wasn’t until years later when I began working with a coach that I uncovered the deeper roots of my emotions— I harbored a lot of resentment towards the Board for putting me in this position. This realization forced me to confront the truth – I had harbored a lot of resentment over the years towards people who I thought weren’t treating me unfairly.

That idea was foreign to me but once I thought about and accepted it, other situations started to make more sense and I was able to stop a crushing behavior pattern that had gone unchecked for so long.

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