Many are the every motivational speaker bombards entrepreneurs and business leaders on the need for pressing on, even in the face of adversity. Furthermore, most executives and professionals often fear that pulling out of a project or commitment throws a shade of doubt on their leadership skills. But after walking in the shoes of a business leader for more than three decades, especially in a respectable institution, like Michael Burwell, you get to learn that quitting is sometimes as good as winning.
Burwell reckons of the most memorable quitting move he had to take while working as a financial consultant with Price Waterhouse Coopers. Together with his team, Burwell had been involved in developing a technological project that they all initially believed would be revolutionary. However, long after the process was sanctioned, and millions of dollars already spent on its formulation, he realized that an even more advanced and more disruptive technology had already hit the market.
The longtime finance expert, therefore, opted to pull out his team out of the project and refocus their attention on other activities. This decision was quite controversial and even attracted failure remarks from some quarters. However, to Burwell, it was a learning opportunity and a disguised future win. By deciding to halt the project, Michael saved the company millions that would have been spent in finalizing and launching a redundant technology. Ideally, while most people viewed the project as a fail, Burwell viewed it as a future win.
What can business leaders learn from this?
The key takeaway here is that leaders shouldn’t be afraid to lose, at least in the short run. Leaders also learn the importance of keeping an analytical eye out for competition, particularly in matters revolving around the ever-changing technology. He believes that some of the times you had to quit not only presented learning experiences but were also a success in disguise. The business administration graduate warns business owners and leaders against playing in the losing game of investing resources in existing technologies.
More about Michael Burwell
In his current role of the Chief financial officer for Willis Towers Watson, Michael runs the insurer’s global finance department. According to Willis Towers CEO, Burwell joined the company at a time when they were considering reinforcing its grip on the world of insurance. Michael Burwell’s experience in valuations, audit, and experience in dealing with different companies operating in varied industries would add the much-needed operational insights to the insurer’s executive team.
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