Friday, March 11, 2011

Define: Fellowship

There have been many pages written over the course of human history about the bonds formed between people during the heat of battle. Most of these writings are from the perspective of those who have served in the military, but I submit that the same dynamics can exist within business as well (save the heavy artillery).

This last week drove this fact home to me in some dramatic ways. First, was my meeting on Monday with some past colleagues from Excite@Home. For those of you not familiar with the rise and fall of Excite@Home, you can read about it here. The experience of working for dying company teaches you many skills that you rarely have a chance to learn. It teaches you how to keep your chin up in the face of adversity as well as how to be successful in a highly caustic and depressing environment.

When we heard the news that E@H would be filing for bankruptcy and that we would be "turning off the lights", our team did something amazing; we rolled up our sleeves and got to work. In fact, some of the best work I had ever seen the team perform came out of this period. Now this was not the first time that this team had faced adversity, in fact, we had many "death marches" under our belts but this one was different in that it had a scheduled finality.

This brings me up to Monday's meeting with Nate, Otto and Jeff all of whom were at Excite@Home with me leading up to the final days. When I walked into Nate's office there was a sense of relaxed familiarity and ease. It is the kind of feeling you experience when you reestablish ties with a long lost friend. But for me, it went deeper than that; for me it was like coming home and reconnecting with a long lost relative.

The experience repeated itself when I met up with the other two gentlemen as well. We immediately rediscovered a long forgotten rhythm and familiarity that only those who have gone to Hell and back together can have.

I have had the privilege of having many of these "Hell and back" experiences over the last elven years, which has allowed me to build up a fellowship of men and women that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt have my back.

Another example of this amazing dynamic at work manifested itself in the action of a former colleague of mine from Sento. Lacee Locke works at Adobe, and when she saw that I was back on the market, she went to work on my behalf. Lacee was determined to get me an interview at Adobe, and set about the work of making that happen. This kind of altruistic behavior is not uncommon when you have gone to Hell and back with someone, but it never fails to amaze and humble me.

Lastly, I had lunch with my former Kynetx team members today and it was like breaking bread with family. In fact, they ARE family and I would take a bullet for each and every one of them, as I know they would for me.

As I assess my options, one of the drivers will be my desire to once again work for and with people who I have fellowship with. It not only makes for a more rewarding and enjoyable work experience, but helps to crystalize and catalyse vision and passion.

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