Three weeks into 2015, I got some bad news. Read Part I of these posts to find out exactly what happened on that day. On January 19, 2015, one of my best friends and co-worker confessed that he’d been stealing from the company… and had been for the last 7 years. It left me dazed and numb.
The next day, he lost his job.
Thankfully I had the help of friends and family (Wes, Ryan, Brent, Braun, Haley, Clint, my dad) to help me process the situation. But when it came to the state of the company, we were hurting, and I was in over my head. There were just too many things needing to be paid, signed, allocated, reimbursed, invoiced, withdrawn, etc.
I had several people at the office step up in amazing ways (Clint, Kathleen, etc.), but we were still a company in darkness. We were already dropping balls. Bills and debt were growing, optics on our business were blurry, and innovation was at a stand still.
A bright spot for us was meeting Caleb. He's a financial guy that had worked previously with Wes and Ryan (my church community guys) at Watermark. Caleb agreed to meet with me to lend financial advice to our situation. He wasn’t looking for a new job or career but was nice enough to meet for lunch.
I met with him on a Friday… only days after the bomb was dropped. I was depressed and tired that day and not nearly myself, but I explained our situation as best I could. I then listened to him kindly give advice on a lot of things… mainly financial things. There was just one problem… I didn’t really understand about 70% of what he was talking about. And the stuff I did understand, overwhelmed me as I thought about the magnitude of what needed to be done to get from under this rock. In our conversation, he kindly offered to give us a couple hours of his time, just to look at our books, etc.
I remember saying, “Why would you offer that? You don’t even know me?”
He basically said that I was his brother in Christ, that’s why.
I hate crying in front of people and that day, I had to work extremely hard to hold it in. I was unable to speak for a long 20-30 seconds. I thanked him.
At the end of our lunch, I simply asked him to say a prayer about what his role with our company is suppose to look like. It was a weird request and out of character for me, especially since I knew he wasn’t looking for a job and in fact, loved his current job. But I felt peace knowing that God would do what He wanted. I left lunch, and bawled all the way back to my office.
Apparently, praying about his role with our company caused a stirring in Caleb. A stirring to learn more about us, at the very least. So we got together again. Then we got together with our wives. Then, he visited our offices. We did as much due diligence as we could to discover if there was a role for him at our company. After weeks and weeks of this, I finally had Clint (my coworker) and Haley urging me to do the obvious… make him an offer. For us as a company, it made sense. We needed a CFO. We needed someone with his skills desperately.
We offered a salary package. He accepted it. He even asked if we needed to lower the amount, knowing it was probably more than we could afford… all while taking a pay cut. More tears.
We had a new CFO! Praise God for that. Caleb immediately became a vital part of our team and future.
**I must make a note. While we filled and replaced certain roles, we didn’t replace a person. The loss of my friend and ex co-worker was still felt everyday and still is.
Caleb started in March and as he begun digging into the books and getting optics on the state of our business, we soon realized it was worse than we thought. Between the stolen money, flat revenue, and extra costs from our new office space, we could barely even run payroll.
We were like an anchored ship, unable to move forward without a major cleanout. In fact we used the analogy of an anchored ship internally. As we started cleaning the vessel, we realized there was more to clean than we thought. It would take time, energy, and focus. And it would require the whole team to participate. This led to our next phase of 2015 we called the 100 Days of Transformation.