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The death of a company

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20 August 2009

The death of a company

I went to a meeting this week at Aston University with Professor Michael West who is Executive Dean of Aston Business School. The meeting which, was over lunch, was fascinating. The Business School facilities alone are outstanding and nothing like the rest of the Uni there. The reason for the meeting being so useful though was not only because Mike was so lovely and gracious but his interest in the process of insolvency from a human point was immense. During our discussions he commented on how painful and raw it must have been especially considering the age of the company and that it was a family business. This of course is very true but then he likened the loss to that of losing a friend or family member. This is something I have also used to explain how it felt and in many ways still feels even now. Mike suggested that I read a book which details the 5 stages of grief called On Grief and Grieving by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler. Following my lunch I went to buy this book, intrigued to know what Mike was referring to and on hurridly turning to the Contents page I knew exactly what he meant. Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance. When a business goes into administration these are stages you pass through. I could even say that added to this we saw 'survivers guilt' for those who worked under the administrators and have since been given permenant jobs under new ownership. There are a few other emotions that I have to deal with including relief, trust and guilt - at the top it's hard to trust anyone else and guilt because of wondering if anything else could have been done, not for my own sake but my mother and employees. Relief that I can move on and carve my own future now as I want to. I  am even more determined to use this to help other directors and leaders through the process so watch this space.