Why my experience matters to you.
Hi, I'm Kirk Dando.
About 30 years ago, I was a young and naïve COO and CFO of a company we grew to over $1b in revenue - not just a $1b valuation. I thought I had all the help I needed to be successful: incredible board members, the best-referred consultants, advisors, Executive Groups, the list goes on and on.
I felt leading a business was way more difficult than it needed to be. I didn't know what I didn't know. Implementing other's advice was like wrestling with a ghost. I felt like I was doing something wrong. I knew that I had the raw materials to be successful, but I just had a nagging feeling there was a better way.
I had countless sleepless nights. I had daily sanity checks, asking myself, "Should this be this hard? Does anyone else struggle with the same thing... Or is it just me?" I was determined to find a way to unlock what I felt was just beneath the surface.
We sold that company. Sure, it was an incredible story with a great outcome. Afterward, I was approached to sit on boards and offer advice to other businesses. But I wanted to help others in the same situation I was in. When I was growing the business, I had no problem finding coaches and consultants with a product or service to help me. However, I couldn't find anyone else who had grown a $1b company and was willing to spend time with me, so I didn't have to learn everything the hard way.
Since then, I've dedicated my life to helping other leaders in the trenches. I set out on a journey to help other CEOs predict and prepare for the problems caused by growth and success. The truth is: if you are successful, you will grow yourself into problems.
As a result, I spent countless hours with CEOs and their leadership teams. While I won't pretend to be an academic scholar, I've seen enough game film to quickly see trends and patterns of what works and what doesn't.
In my wildest dreams, I never thought the problems and patterns would be so similar across successful businesses, sectors and teams. Sure, the details are always different, but the issues growth and success cause are eerily similar. The Frameworks and Mindsets that solve these issues are the accidental discovery I now share with leaders around the world.
Every day, I don't take my experience for granted. When I was growing our company, I dreamed of having someone who experienced the same feelings I was having. Someone who would come alongside me. Someone I could trust their guidance when I didn't know who to turn to. Today, I try and be that someone for the CEOs and their teams I get the privilege of working alongside. I understand it's lonely at the top and I want to be the phone call when the leader needs it.
When I was a C-Level executive, I sure wish I had the Frameworks and Mindsets I do now.
Hi, I'm Chip Hanna
Like so many people, I've had a bit of a sideways path to get where I am today.
But, I've always been entrepreneurial-minded. When I was in elementary school, I was frustrated the school "Spirit Store" gum was too expensive. On my parents next trip to Costco, I bought gum in bulk and started selling it at school. A couple of days later, I was called to the principal's office for the first time ever.
The principal told me I was under-cutting the Spirit Store and needed to stop selling immediately. Even though my business was shut down, the entrepreneurial itch was scratched and I couldn't stop.
Growing up, my dad was a minister and my mom was a social worker. During an early job interview at an advertising agency, someone had the courage to say, "Wait... your dad is a minister, your mom is a social worker and you want to sell junk to people they don't even need?!?" I got a big smile on my face and said yes, but that moment was cemented in my memory.
Fast forward 10 years: I was part of private equity group owned by a multi-family office with over $1b in liquid assets. I was getting my Executive MBA and we had to write a personal reflection paper. It asked a somewhat simple question, "How does what you're doing line up with your personal values?"
The moment from the interview suddenly hit me again - how did I fit in with my family's more "noble" professions and was what doing lining up with my personal values? I didn't have the hardwiring to do what my parents did. But I quickly realized there was a different way to make the lives of others better.
I (and Kirk) believe that nothing impacts the wealth, health and happiness of others more than a leader. I know that my work helping other leaders can lead to an even larger impact in the lives of the people working in those companies.
That's why I joined Kirk in 2015. I truly believe that nothing is as important as leadership - from work to home to school and beyond. It's why I wake up excited to do what I do every day.
Nothing impacts the wealth, health and happiness of others more than a leader.