I’ve spent 12 years working in cleantech and supporting startups. I’ve talked A LOT about change. It’s the very heart of what we’re all here for.
But in all that time, I don’t remember many conversations about the nature of change. What it looks and feels like, what it’s like to experience change, the reality of it.
My chapter as CEO of Life Size is coming to a close. The company is preparing for an employee-owned future. I am preparing for the next part of my story.
Here are some reflections from my personal experience of change.
It can be really slow
It took 12 years to get to a place where I was ready to hand over my company. The transition to Employee Ownership will have taken nearly two years from conception. I will still be part of the company for several years to come. There’s no “disruption” and I’m glad of it. The changes I see are profound: my team stepping into their leadership, our accountability culture developing, our understanding of what it means to “own” something deepening. I believe slow change is just as radical, perhaps deeper, and certainly long-lasting.
It’s hard, messy work
I’m a visionary person. I am naturally most comfortable when I’m strategising, creating and imagining. Execution is much less comfortable for me. I’ve had to train myself to become more of a details person and I can get very impatient. The spark is the part that most people get excited about too. The “big idea”, the “innovation”. Our fantasy is that it’s all a straight upward trajectory from there. Of course it never is. I wished we talked more about the courage, perseverance and just showing up again and again and again that it takes to really deliver change.
It’s f***ing emotional
This is the most overlooked aspect of change. The human part. The heart part. Letting go of my company is one of the most emotional things I’ve ever done and I am committed to letting myself feel that. So much has come up for me in recent months and will continue to surface. Anxiety, fear, nostalgia, jealousy. I want to experience that emotion because it honours what I’ve built, it honours everything I’ve put in. A couple of week ago I sat with my team in Sweden, tears streaming down my face as I spoke of how grateful I was for each of them. That’s the reality of change and that’s the kind of leader I want to be,
It’s very beautiful
I love stories. They are the thread that winds my career together from acting and film making, through all my years telling cleantech stories and into the unknown future. I can think of no more beautiful ending to my story with Life Size than handing over to Jan, Lee, Manon, Lucia, Inès, Helene, Martha, Peter, Farah and Katja. Throughout this slow, hard, emotional process I have never questioned whether I was making the right decision. I never built this company to sell it, I built it to last. Thank you for being part of that story.