On March 5th, 2015

I sent the Articles of Incorporation to the state of Illinois. On December 31st, 2016, the state of Illinois received signed Articles of Dissolution. Less than two years after I started my first solo endeavor, I accepted the result of failure. Failure in this case, was in the eyes of the state as I officially dissolved the company. From my perspective, failure wasn’t even close to what I felt.

The story

of my business got its start back in 2009. In February that year, my wife and I moved from Illinois to Florida. At the time I worked for a very large insurance company and accepted a transfer to manage a department in the Orlando office. As fate would have it, only two months after I transferred, the company started a pilot in a type of continuous improvement methodology. It just so happened that they invited me to participate in the pilot.

By August of 2009

I wasn’t doing what they paid to move me to Orlando for. I embraced the pilot and the continuous improvement methodology – Lean – so well that they put me on the project full time. The next nine months I learned from highly experienced consultants on how to develop strategic and tactical plans, implement a plethora of improvement tools, and manage change in all types of situations. Little did I know at the time but my professional career had forever changed.

For those that aren’t familiar with Lean, it’s essentially a methodology underpinned by a mindset and tools focused on driving waste out of processes. You’ll typically hear people refer to it as Lean Six Sigma but that’s an entirely different post right there. Anyway, by identifying better, more efficient ways to complete processes, Lean helps drive improvements in productivity, profitability, and even morale. Many very large and reputable companies leverage the Lean methodology on a daily basis.You can read more about Lean here.

By early 2010

I knew enough to be dangerous. A successful pilot in Orlando and two other offices was enough for the company to decide a nationwide roll out was the best path forward. I was about to embark on a three year adventure that would take me around the world. Before that though, since I would be traveling every week, the company agreed to move my then seven month pregnant wife and I back to Illinois to be closer to friends and family. My wife and I got a little lucky with that one. 

Fast forward to 2014 and I had amassed a mountain of experience. From change management to conflict resolution and from front line to executive management, I was was pretty comfortable in what I did for a living. Just then, everything changed. My life took an unexpected turn that I’ll get into more in the second post in this series. Stay tuned for more!