Monday, 23 January 2012

They Won, And So Did Canada

RIM co-founders Balsillie and Lazaridis step down

Jim Balsillie, right, and Mike Lazaridis, who have shared the CEO and chair titles at Research In Motion, have resigned. Thorsten Heins, formerly the company's chief operating officer, was named CEO and president.

As a young CEO, I marvel at the phenomenal job done by these visionaries.  It is infinitely easier to 'shoot down' their performance in relation to theoretical prospects for growth.  It is easy to attack failed performance of key launches.  It is easy to overlook the billions of profits and tens of thousands of jobs their passion and vision created.  Without knowing all sides to the story, it seems reasonable to replace them.  However, they leave in my mind as inspirational and iconic figures.  Mr. Balsillie, Mr. Lazaridis, here is how your leadership directly impacted me just through watching, learning and listening:

- 5 years ago, I read in the Kitchener-Record Mr. Lazaridis talk about the key to his business.  "Focus on quality" you said.  When I read that, I connected a part of your success to quality.  At the time, I was hesitant to 'invest in quality' because we did not have the cash and I did not see an immediate return.  Your comment burned in me for months.  I met others on the subject and even had dreams on quality!  From this, sir, we decided to become ISO and eventually AS9100 registered shop.  Your profound comment on quality could not escape me and played a significant role in our recent successes.  Thank you for inspiring this small manufacturing facility.  Two years running, we have won a quality award with Comdev Space (Satellite components builder) and have worked hard to contribute to a small portion of their successes.  Other customers are giving us jobs simply based on their confidence we will make their parts to print.  The investment was and is worth it. 

I often reflect on RIM's successes and failures.  I think, "how can I up my game?".  Please, don't be another shooter in the gallery.  It is incredibly hard to build, and easy to tear down.  Today I determine to build a stronger company that seeks to perform at a higher level. Mr. Balsillie, Mr. Lazaridis, congratulations and thank you for your leadership and vision. 

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