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Case Studies: Darryl Alexander

A tentative leader steps into his potential, takes a senior role in the company he works for and then starts two others.

Darryl had talent and was frustrated with his existing role in the organization. He had been with his employer for seven years. The president, although brilliant technically, was a terrible people manager. The frustration Darryl felt from that relationship was compounded by the fact his role no longer provided the challenge and enjoyment he wanted.

Despite the long hours, he felt he was now “coasting” mentally. He was burnt out, fed up and not sure what to do next.

First, we got clear on what he wanted:
more flexibility in his work arrangement, more autonomy and the opportunity to work on bigger projects. We set up a game plan to make it happen.

It wasn’t long, though, before he got bogged down in obstacles and the day-to-day. This continued for a while. It was then that a pattern of “talking about the problem” emerged. Despite his hard work, he really wasn’t doing anything about the situation he faced.

He simply wasn’t taking full ownership and was blaming his situation on external forces.

After digging some more, we uncovered a belief that he had never considered himself to be a leader. He had defined leadership in such a way it would have been difficult for anyone to live up to it. This perspective held him back from taking all kinds of actions that were possible.

He then reframed the difficult situation with the president’s people skills as a tremendous opportunity for him to take a bigger leadership role in the company. Interestingly, when he did this, all kinds of chances to lead arose. He started taking advantage of them and his confidence grew dramatically.


  • Darryl took various lead roles in the company over the next six months.
  • He addressed key operational gaps in the organization.
  • When the company went up for sale, he became the “go-to” person for both the purchaser and the internal team.
  • He took the lead role in negotiating the best deal for the company and its employees.
  • Since then, I’ve worked with him through the various leadership challenges of starting not one, but two companies. He’s already secured a second round of financing from venture capitalists and has a team of loyal people working for him. Darryl has completely stepped into his potential as a leader and he’s not done yet.

The names in these stories are fictional but the stories are real. If you’d like to talk to the individuals themselves, please email me for their contact information.