June - Be Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

June 1, 2018


I know the subject of this “Be” message may seem a bit unusual at first, but please allow me to provide some background on this paradox that has been nagging me for the past few months. First of all, it’s important to share that OneDigital is having an incredible year of growth and success. Everything that we have been discussing together over the past year is playing out exactly as we had planned. Our financial relationship with New Mountain Capital is providing new ideas, financial strength and a comfort level that we have the right investment partners for this next chapter. Our strategic alignment with Zenefits has gotten the attention of the entire industry and is contributing significant revenue and growth for the company. Most significantly, our company culture and our industry leadership continue to create enormous momentum in M&A as we look to attract the most talented firms to join the OneDigital team. In fact, we have closed 14 new acquisitions this year and are well on pace to have our best M&A year in company history. When you roll all this good news together, only five months into 2018, all signs point to a tremendous financial year for OneDigital with financial projections targeting close to 35% growth over 2017.

So that’s all great news and provides lots of excitement, but there is another side to this story. We would be naïve and out of touch as a leadership team if we didn’t acknowledge that all this growth and success puts tremendous stress and growing pains on the organization. Since the beginning of the year, we have hired and acquired over 300 new team members. This type of hyper growth puts strain on our support teams like HR, Technology, Integration and our overall platform. Our Zenefits partnership is not without its bumps as it puts tremendous work volumes on our enterprise and shared service teams and sometimes pushes us beyond our comfort zone as we are forced to think a bit differently in our approach to business. All of these realities about explosive growth, while exhilarating, do in fact create some discomfort throughout many parts of the organization.

At times, I’ve caught myself shying away from talking about our growth as I understand the stress that may come along with it. But I know that’s not the right approach either as we should all be celebrating the tremendous success we are experiencing together. Then it struck me as Bill Carew shared some feedback from a recent planning meeting with several of our top leaders and Managing Principals. Brian Driscoll reminded us of a profound saying, “We need to Be comfortable with Being uncomfortable.” Yes, its ok to be uncomfortable! It’s good to be pushed personally and as a team outside of our comfort zone. That’s when we learn, that’s when we have the opportunity to work as a team, to rely on those around us and to push ourselves to develop new ways of doing things. These are the times when our culture and fresh thinking become so important and ultimately lead to opportunity and innovation.

For many of us at OneDigital, this uneasy feeling has become second nature. Our organization has an incredible track record for growth and we have always felt that one of our greatest assets is our ability to adapt, to take on new challenges and to thrive in times of change. Growth and change is part the of our culture and part of what we love, but it certainly doesn’t come without some sleepless nights and natural emotion. As a leadership team we are spending a great deal of time planning and working through some of these growing pains. We are continuing to invest and expand our support staff to ensure that we have the infrastructure to help us through this growth period. This month at our senior leadership retreat, our primary topic for discussion will focus on this area and continued enhancements to our platform, our processes and how we best plan for the future and look to become comfortable with our continued growth.    

So, I realize it’s not easy for us to just snap our fingers and say “be comfortable with being uncomfortable” but I can assure you that you are not alone in these feelings and we are working hard as an organization to get comfortable together. I have experienced times in my career when change and discomfort were not as a result of growth and success, and those are not fun times. Team, we have much to celebrate and much to be proud of but it’s not without some work and growing pains. Please join me in embracing these feelings and the opportunity in front of us. BE comfortable with being uncomfortable and take a step back to acknowledge that we are on an exciting journey together that not many get to experience in their careers.      

I couldn’t ask for a better team to be a part of this journey. I’m confident in all of you and that makes me more comfortable with being uncomfortable. 



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