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When Unicorn Hires "Fail"

Sometimes small businesses court a ‘big dog’ from the industry or a unicorn from a fortune 500.

They need someone with big experience to take the company to the next level.

Big dogs know about sophisticated processes. They have an expansive network. They “know’ things. Employers have every high expectations for their unicorns.

Simultaneously, the new leader wants more autonomy and an opportunity to make a difference.

Sounds like a match made in heaven….a win for all.

Until it isn’t.

I see these relationships go south all the time.

Everything looks good on paper. But old habits die hard and the novelty fades.

I commonly see 5 things that signal trouble:

  1. Expectations are vague

  2. Autonomy isn't given soon enough

  3. The new employee struggles to 'get their hands dirty'

  4. The rest of the leadership team feels alienated

  5. Boredom turns toxic

So what should you do when the relationship is on the rocks and the stakes are high for everyone involved?

It’s never too late for a reset.

A facilitated conversation and a few months of 1:1 coaching can often bring back the magic.

It’s ok to need a little help.

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