Podcast Ep 166 | Necessary Endings

“Necessary Endings” is a self-help book written by Dr. Henry Cloud. It explores the concept of embracing and initiating endings in various aspects of life, such as relationships, careers, and personal growth, in order to create a positive and fulfilling future.

The book emphasises that endings are a natural part of life and are necessary for personal and professional growth.

While endings are a natural part of business and life, we often experience them with a sense of hesitation, sadness, resignation, or regret. But Dr. Henry Cloud sees endings differently. He argues that our personal and professional lives can only improve to the degree that we can see endings as a necessary and strategic step to something better. If we cannot see endings in a positive light and execute them well, he asserts, the “better” will never come either in business growth or our personal lives.

In this insightful and deeply empathetic book, Dr. Cloud demonstrates that, when executed well, “necessary endings” allow us to proactively correct the bad and the broken in our lives in order to make room for the professional and personal growth we seek. However, when endings are avoided or handled poorly—as is too often the case—good opportunities may be lost, and misery repeated. Drawing on years of experience as an executive coach and a psychologist, Dr. Cloud offers a mixture of advice and case studies to help readers

  • Know when to have realistic hope and when to execute a necessary ending in a business, or with an individual.
  • Identify which employees, projects, activities, and relationships are worth nurturing and which are not.
  • Overcome people’s resistance to change and create change that works.
  • Create urgency and an action plan for what’s important.
  • Stop wasting resources needed for the things that really matter.
  • Knowing when and how to let go when something, or someone, isn’t working—a personal relationship, a job, or a business venture—is essential for happiness and success.

In this, the final episode of the Growth Whisperers podcast, we talk about the book necessary endings, our journey together, and why you should consider what endings are necessary in your life.

Thank you for listening, it’s been an honour to help you. From Kevin and Brad.




Brad (00:00:13) – Welcome to the Growth Whispers, where everything we talk about is building enduring great companies. My name is Brad Giles, and as always today, I’m joined by my co-host Kevin Lawrence in Vancouver, Canada. Hello, Kevin. How things today

Kevin (00:00:28) – Doing? Good. It’s summer here. Life is good. We’re doing episode number 166 and, uh, yeah. Yeah, I’m feeling grateful. Life is good.

Brad (00:00:42) – Good. Yep. Episode 166. This is a very special episode today. Yes.

Brad (00:00:48) – Um, because it’s our last episode, uh, we are recording this, uh, in late May, 2023, after 166 weeks in a row, uh, talking to each other, helping you to build enduring great companies. Uh, and this is our last one. We, uh, we have made the decision that, uh, it’s been a great ride, um, but it’s time for, uh, necessary ending. Um, and today we’re gonna talk about necessary endings, and in particular, a book by someone who we, we love, uh, someone who, who has mm-hmm. just nailed this principle of necessary endings, uh, and why they’re important, why it’s important to make room for necessary endings so that you can build your, um, business and your life and continue to grow. Because unless we stop some things, we’re unable to grow and to make room for the things that we need to. Yeah.

Kevin (00:01:57) – And it’s something that we talk about with ourselves and our clients all the time, but it’s about making room for other things in your world. So, we’ll talk today about the book Necessary Endings, which is a fitting end to our podcast. And yes, you know, you could probably pick up, if you’ve listened to other episodes, Brad and I really have enjoyed doing this, and it’s been a great project for Brad. If you go back to the beginning, you know, we were friends on other side of the world that met through this common interest in building enduring great companies. And during Covid we wanted, we were doing a lot of work and brainstorming and sharing ideas on how to pivot and thrive in Covid, uh, both within our firms and for our clients. And the idea of the podcast is though we should share this stuff with other people.

Kevin (00:02:39) – And it was an opportunity for Brad and I to learn together and connect together. And it’s been an amazing experience. And, you know, and we’ve continued to enhance our friendship on our relationship, and now we’re gonna free ourselves up for something else, which we don’t know what it is yet, but we just know that it’s time, it’s time for these, this necessary ending, which, and we’ll, we’ll get into that in, uh, the book today. It’s an awesome book. It’s, it’s a book that gives us permission, um, to let go of things. And obviously, like letting go of toxic things is easy. Like if it doesn’t serve you, like, you know, if you’ve got a car that keeps breaking down nonstop and you have no emotional attachment to it, well that’s, that’s, that’s an easy ending. But if it was your great-grandfather’s car, or if it’s a car that’s meaningful for you in some way, uh, or you have an emotional connection, that’s a harder thing. And you know, today we wanna focus on making those harder decisions of the things that are fine or good, but for some reason it’s time to free up. Before we do that, we want to really thank people for a hundred. Well, some of these people have not been with 166 episodes, but Brendan, our, our backend producer, the producer who’s been helping us a lot, Brendan has been here since the very beginning. I believe Brad,

Brad (00:03:57) – Since the very beginning. He’s 1 66 down, like you and I.

Kevin (00:04:01) – Exactly. And I, Braden, Braden, Lawrence, my son also has been doing it all. And I also believe he’s been doing it since the very, very beginning.

Brad (00:04:11) – I think so.

Kevin (00:04:12) – I think so. So, Brendan and Braden have been there all along supporting us. So Brad and I can do this and they can make the magic happen in the back end. Um, on my team at Loco, Jess has been posting these over the last six months. And before that, mark, mark, uh, mark Simpli was really helpful in helping us when we started do all the backend on my end. And you had someone as well, have someone who was well helping on your end there, Brad.

Brad (00:04:41) – I did Briany at our end who’s, uh, been great helping to keep me in order and keep things happening at this end. So thank you to Braden, Brendan, Jess, and Briney for, uh, all of your helped through this podcast. But did we have a fight? I don’t think we had a fight. There’s no fight. We’re No. Maybe we

Kevin (00:05:01) – Should, should we, should we?

Brad (00:05:02) – Alright. Alright. Right. Do you wanna

Kevin (00:05:03) – Have a fight? Do you wanna have one?

Brad (00:05:05) – Uh, yeah, let’s talk about, um, why, why the, I, one of the things I remember why we should move the US to the decimal currency and, uh, uh, why we should, uh, maybe, uh, just get, get the us to adopt the metric system, some of those good things. Mm.

Kevin (00:05:28) – Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Well, that’s something we don’t talk a lot is about politics or any of that kind of stuff, so No, I might, no, we don’t. It’s, it’s, and that’s, again, those are are the hard changes to make. If we didn’t like each other, didn’t respect each other, didn’t get along with each other, well those are easier decisions. Yeah. But we’ve gone in back and forth over the last month or so going, you know, I think it’s time to do something different.

Brad (00:05:51) – Yeah. Yeah. And, and look, we’re great friends. We’re hoping to catch up again soon to catch up regularly. Yeah. And you, you know, we’re not ruling out that we might or might not do something collaboratively in the future. Um, so yeah, everything is good, but sometimes we need these necessary endings.

Kevin (00:06:12) – Yes. And there’s a principle of my partner and I were talking about is, is that you gotta hold things lightly sometimes, and in life, if you hold things too firmly, you can get stuck on paths for longer than they’re serving you in this one c e o uh, Kate, um, I was just talking about her today with this and you know, she said there’s it, she called the beau, you get a beautiful short-term relationships and, and it’s just that, it was a philosophy of like, in life and business, when you make a great friend, you think you should be a great friend for decades. Yeah. Or when you hire a great team member, they should be with you for life. And I mean, sometimes there’s people that are in your life for an hour and have a massive impact, or there’s people that you work with for three months or three years or 13 years. But human nature is, we wanna hold onto those good things. We can’t help our, some people wanna hold onto the bad things as well. That’s a, a challenging thing. But we wanna hold onto good things. And sometimes those aren’t the best choices. And, and, um, you know, it’s as, as Jim Collins says, you know, good can be the enemy of great.

Brad (00:07:24) – Yeah. Yep. So, so, uh, you would know that Steve Jobs, who was the founder of Apple, started Apple and then he got famously fired, um, fr from Apple, uh, by the person he appointed to be c e o, uh, and, and chairman. So, uh, he then went out and started his own businesses and did some other things. And then after a while he came back to lead Apple once again. The first thing that he did when he got back is he assembled everyone. And he said, this is what we’re going to do and we’re going to stop doing all of these things. One of those examples was the printer division. So the printer division was one of their most profitable areas within the business, and people were shocked. I

Kevin (00:08:13) – Forgot about that. Right.

Brad (00:08:16) – Yeah. And they were shocked. And he drew a two by two matrix and he said, we’re gonna do business and personal computers and we’re gonna do them in a low and the high end, everything else is done. And that decision to make that necessary ending from all of the products that weren’t contributing to their main, uh, their, their main differentiation or the main thing that they could win at in a market meant that’s, that was part of the genesis of them beginning to become the successful company they are today. So they couldn’t grow unless they let go of those things. An example of necessary endings.

Kevin (00:08:54) – It’s great. You know, and I was thinking about too is that, you know, I’ve had it with some clients that I’ve worked with for like a decade or so, and, and I enjoy working with ’em. And a problem is I’m so loyal to people, my loyalty, and I love those relationships, those relationships where you know each other and, and, and, and want to help each other. And I had one client and I could feel it was time for somebody else on my team to work with them. And, and thankfully I have people on my team that can take over and, you know, it was interesting. I I, I was agonizing over having the conversation with them. We planned it over like nine months. Like, Hey, I’ll hand it over, you know, in nine months to give them lots of time. Cause I respect them and wanna support them.

Kevin (00:09:34) – Yeah. And you know, my team member, um, my team member Tim, uh, took over and on his first Strat planning session he did with them, he got like 10 to 10 feedback. And so I was thrilled that the client was well taken care of. Yeah. I was thrilled for him. And I felt a bit of a, you know, they didn’t miss me that much , but it’s like, I, I knew it and it was hard to have the conversation and it was like, actually, and Tim had a similar experience taken over a couple of my other clients as well. And those are just hard. They’re, it’s hard for me, but it’s also good. Like, in that case it was good for the client because for them they’re gonna get different perspectives and different things, which they did get with him. Um, and for me, uh, I, I was ready for something new and I’ve got a firm to work on and books to write and I can’t, you know, I have to let go of things if I’m going to do it. It’s just, it kind of goes against my grain sometimes and it’s hard. But yet when I do, uh, it seems to be like a win-win win. Well,

Brad (00:10:41) – We need to create the space for us to be able to grow. That’s the point. Yes. So, so within the book, again, it’s necessary endings by Dr. Henry Cloud, there are five main areas that we want to talk about today. Mm-hmm. . So the first, the first area is that endings are not inherently negative. They’re essential for pruning and allowing new growth. So he used the, he uses the metaphor of a person who’s pruning a rosebush and a rosebush. Mm-hmm. every year has to be cut right back. And I’m talking about six, 12 inch stems from what might have been, uh, you know, a five foot, excuse me, for Yeah. Advocating for metric earlier and now talking imperial . Um, but, uh, you know, a large, a large bush trend right back almost to the ground. And that’s how you get the best growth in the next year. And that’s the metaphor that a user, so it’s not negative, but it’s essential so that we can allow new growth.

Kevin (00:11:45) – Yeah. And again, it, it makes sense in nature. We’ve talked before how forest fires are healthy cuz it burns the underbrush. It just feels hard. And if you’ve ever seen someone prone back a rosebush or grapes in a vineyard or anything, it looks almost violent sometimes and, and harsh how much it prunes back, but then it grows back stronger. So the first thing, endings are not inherently negative. There can be lots of positive ones. Now, sometimes if you leave a necessary ending too long, it can go negative if you, yeah. Just imagine a Rose Bush just being left wild, that’s gonna have a harder time. And they talk. The second thing they talk was there’s three types. It’s a very like, liberating, refreshing book to read. I really, really enjoyed it. Mm-hmm. Um, three types endings, obvious ones, like the ones that are no brainers, like something that’s toxic or broken or doesn’t serve you difficult, but essential ones.

Kevin (00:12:48) – Um, and those, you know, obviously the ones that we’re talking about, they, they, they take a little more work. Um, but you, you know, deep down inside, I, I know it’s worth it. And then those needed to protect oneself. Yeah. Those are ones that again, are, um, tying back into more of the toxic type things. The things that, you know, you’re, you’re getting injured or hurt or drained or as a result of those and you need it, whether you’re projecting your energy or your money or your sanity, whatever it happens to be. So yeah. Obvious, difficult and essential. And then almost self-preservation or self-protection.

Brad (00:13:30) – Yeah. The obvious ones, uh, uh, are kind of easy. Look, we’re losing so much money here. Uh, yeah. It doesn’t make any sense. But the problem is uh, there’s, there’s one team that I work with and recently they were trying to, uh, find a way to, to stop a division that is, uh, bleeding cash, like hemorrhaging cash. Uh, and all the money that’s made in the profitable division is paying for the unprofitable division. Yeah.

Kevin (00:13:59) – That’s a common scenario.

Brad (00:14:01) – It really is. Um, and, and so that kind of falls across all three of those. It’s obvious, it’s difficult, but essential and it’s needed to protect. But that’s, you said the before, I like the bush, the book because it’s refreshing and that’s the same reason that I do. Yes. Because it says it’s okay. It’s a human trait. It makes me think about this in a different way. And then when you embrace that, cuz I read this several years ago, you think everything has a beginning and a middle and an end, and it’s okay. And then as a coach, we look at these situations more than just being tough. And we think this is just, this is just a part of nature that, that things have a beginning, middle, and end. And if this division can’t be turned around, it’s closer to the end than the beginning and therefore it, it, it, it needs to have some kind of action.

Brad (00:14:57) – So moving on to number three, the fear of endings stems from the unknown and potential losses associated with change. Uh, humans don’t like change. Uh, it is, it is counterintuitive. We like the status quo, but the status quo may not be the best thing for us. The status quo may not enable us to, to, to, to under grow the next phase of growth, personal growth or financial growth that we need. Um, and so how many times in your life can you look back and think, well, I was forced into that change or that ending, like I left it too long and then when I think about how that ended, I probably should have ended it earlier and I let it go too long.

Kevin (00:15:49) – Almost always. And that’s what, whether it’s, maybe it’s making a, we’re talking about physical move of your home or a friendship or a relationship or a client or, or any of those, and a team member or an employee or you leaving and doing something different. It’s like, and it’s always fear because it’s fear-based, because we’re comfortable. And generally the hard part about this is we’re more motivated by avoidance of pain than we are pleasure by nature. Yes. And so there’s a perceived potential pain from making these kinds of changes, which causes people not to. So, um, there are people who are in really, really challenging environments. I was talking to someone once I remember, and they were talking about how, um, they had, uh, a friend of theirs and there was a lot of brutal and toxic things around that friendship.

Brad (00:16:47) – Yeah.

Kevin (00:16:48) – But it was their only friend and they didn’t want to be friendless. And so they hung, and this is when they were young, like in, you know, grade school, but they hung on to the friend because they didn’t want to have no friends and one bad friend was better than zero friends. Yeah. And, and again, it’s not like these things are logical, it’s fear and anxiety and all the stuff that comes into our brain. And I’ve, I’ve seen it myself many, many times. And generally things generally will work out, but the, the, that that change in letting go is hard.

Brad (00:17:20) – It is, it is. It makes me think about a c e o that we work with. And this person, uh, kept a salesperson, a, a a a senior senior salesperson for I reckon five years too long, uh, which is a very long time. Right. But the c e o kept justifying it by saying, this person owns the relationships for our, our biggest clients. Yeah. Like, if I, if I exit this person, um, I don’t have a relationship with those clients. They trust that salesperson. And, and they really, it when, when the person did leave, it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as they thought it would be, but it was driven by the fear of the ending. What will happen, what if.

Kevin (00:18:06) – Correct. And I’ve seen it again and again. We had in one company someone that needed to move on after a long time with the company. And, you know, and some, some, some CEOs and leaders are concerned about lawsuits and everything else. This person wasn’t, they were concerned about doing permanent damage to a relationship that they had. Yeah. Because they actually really cared about the person. And I, you know, it’s interesting. I always remember advice that Jim Collins gives to this about ending relationships with employees that you have to let go. Mm. And he always said, which this helps it, um, is you gotta allow them to maintain their dignity. Mm-hmm. , when you need to end a relationship with an employee, you’ve got, you’ve got a stake in it too. You, you’ve got a hand in it, whether you hired them or managed them or promoted them, you’re part of it, you’re part of the organization for sure that, that, you know, may have made a bad hiring choice or promotion choice or who knows what.

Kevin (00:19:04) – And he’s always said is that, you know, you should, you should allow them to maintain their dignity. And to him, what that means, if he calls them on their birthday a year later Yeah. They, they’d answer, they would answer the phone and take a call from him if he was sending good wishes. And so, you know, it, it’s still, there’s still anxiety about ending, but how do you, how do you do it gracefully? How do you end it? Well, if at all possible, um, again, people st that’s in a relational sense, but stopping anything, people are still likely to be fearful of the repercussions.

Brad (00:19:39) – Yeah. Let’s move on to number four. Necessary endings lead to new opportunities, improved performance, and increased happiness. Um, I talk about this in my book onboarded, where we say, at the end of 90 days, when you’re onboarding a new employee, we want the system to force a decision that they’re either a successful fit or an unsuccessful fit, and that decision to be made by the new hires manager. And if they’re not a successful fit, that they would either exit them or in an unusual case, maybe extend their probation. But the point being, we, we want to say this is the ending of the, uh, of the first 90 days. And that ending means that a decision must be made. Because if we don’t do that, we won’t have the opportunity to get someone in who could be a successful fit and who might produce better performance, even though it’s going to be Yes. Difficult to fire them or exit them. And it’s gonna be difficult to hire again.

Kevin (00:20:50) – Yeah. That’s a great example. Um, the final one is develop self-awareness, um, for recognizing when endings are necessary. And, you know, you made me think there, Brad is in my book, your Oxygen Mask first there’s a chapter called Lick Your Toads, which is dealing with all kinds of little built up things that you’ve been procrastinating and putting off. Mm-hmm. And often, and, and, and in a book, it breaks it down into all these different categories that these things can exist. And often, um, we have a bunch and these, these become toads because I consider it a toad, like if you’ve thought about it more than three times and you haven’t acted on it, that means it’s starting to burn up spray space in your brain and it’s gonna create a distraction loop. Yeah. And as a whole metaphor, the toads, but you know, this, this toad list of things, and generally you know what you need to do and you just dread dealing with it. That’s hard. So, for example, I had a, a friend that had, uh, a financial advisor and they had invested in something that they intuitively kind of knew wasn’t the right choice,

Kevin (00:22:00) – But they didn’t wanna deal with it because they had such a great relationship with the financial advisor. The financial advisor had been so helpful to them in a challenging time. They didn’t wanna let the person down. Yeah. But they kept thinking about it and talking about it and think, and if you’re thinking about it and talking about it, you know, you need to do something about it. You’re just, in this case, afraid of letting another, another person down. Uh, even though the person was a, you know, a supplier to you . Yeah. Which is, you know, but the, the, but if you care about people, you could care about that. So going back to the toads, this toads list, and I regularly do that, and we have it as part of our quarterly goals, what are the toads that you’re not dealing with? Obviously the big ones are the ones that we’re talking about. Not I need to, you know, touch up paint on the corner of a wall in my office.

Brad (00:22:45) – Yeah. Yeah. It, if there’s a model that I use that, that touches on what you’re saying there, imagine the yin yang sign, like a circle, uh, with a black and a white side. On one side we’ve got intuition and the other side we’ve got loyalty. And so we’ve gotta understand or think that, that our loyalty some sometimes is really valuable, but equally, our intuition is sometimes really valuable. And if our intuition is telling us something, uh, we need that self-awareness to say, okay, when am I gonna end this? When am I gonna sell this car? Or when am I gonna stop this podcast? Or when am I, yeah. What is it? And then so that I can continue to make room for future growth and so and so. Yeah. Uh, it’s such a good book, Kev. I mean, and, and I’m actually, I love it.

Brad (00:23:40) – I’m really proud that we’ve ended with that book because it’s, it, it, what do we look for in books? Something that gives us a different perspective and, and enables us to become better and, and certainly necessary endings by Dr. Henry Cloud has did that for me. And, and, and obviously for, for you. So we’ve got another episode that’s related to this, uh, episode number 65, Jim Collins stop list that you may be interested in there. So it’s not the end of what we’re doing individually. Of course. Um, , so Kevin, um, you have your book, your Oxygen Mask First. People can, can read that, and there’s just some great tools inside there. You’ve got another book coming out. Um, is that, have you confirmed that title yet?

Kevin (00:24:33) – At this point? It looks like the Four Forces of Growth. Yes. And that’s the working title. I think it’s probably gonna be, uh, the final, the final title, but that should be coming out end of 23. And then obviously Scaling Up, which I was a key contributor to as a, let’s almost call it a half, half book from my perspective.

Brad (00:24:53) – Sure, sure.

Kevin (00:24:54) – And for you, for you, um, onboarded your most recent book, obviously, which you’ve, you’ve referenced here today, um, which is, you know, important for Bring onboarding new people. I’m talking about it all the time, you know, because the distinction from that, interestingly, is, uh, in a meeting last week down in the US and they’re talking about, yeah, yeah. We got an onboarding plan mm-hmm. and can I see it? And it, it was the, it was the, and I forget what you exactly call it, but it was the administrative check, the box onboarding, induction, computer. They’re on the benefits. Yeah. Right. Induction and versus, well, what’s the plan to make sure they get fully up to speed and successful in their job? Yeah. They’re like, oh, yeah, yeah, no, we don’t have that. Okay, good. Well, maybe you need to read this book and look at it.

Brad (00:25:41) – . Thank you. Yeah.

Brad (00:25:43) – Yeah. So that, uh, onboarded, that’s, that’s, yeah. Exceeded my, my, my hopes in terms of how successful it’s been. Um, uh, and the other book, the first book was, uh, made to Thrive, which is the five roles of a c e O. Um, and so you can obviously contact, uh, or you can learn more in there then, um, newsletters. Uh, we, the, the way to, to, to continue to get insights from both of us individually is our newsletters. Uh, we cannot underestimate just the value that we’re pumping out each and every week, uh, through that medium. Kevin’s you’ll find@lawrenceandco.com, uh, and mine, you’ll find@evolutionpartners.com.au. It’s really, uh, more so than books or, or other areas or social media. It’s really the spot where all of our thinking and, uh, everything goes. So I encourage you, if you’re interested to, to go and subscribe to each of our newsletters there. So what else, Kev?

Kevin (00:26:48) – That’s it. I just wanna, again, thank all the listeners that, that, first of all, thank the people that have supported us. We did upfront, but thank all the listeners that have been part of this, right? There’s, there’s, you know, thousands of people every month are downloading and listening to episodes, and we appreciate the people that have been a part of it. And hopefully you’ve got good value out of it, you know, and if you’re new in listening to this, you can go back and listen to the old episodes. There’s all kinds of great content, and we share our best thoughts, the best things that we know and learn from other people. So thank you to the listeners. Thank you to the people that support us. And Brad, thanks to you. Like it’s been a great collaboration between us and a great way for our own growth and our own clarity as we’ve debated different principles. Usually we’ve pre-dated them before we record them , but to get aligned around our best thinking about what does it take to build enduring great companies, which is this podcast has been about.

Brad (00:27:44) – Yeah. Thank you Kev, uh, as well. Um, obviously y yeah, we come at this from different angles and, uh, I’ve greatly appreciated the effort that you’ve put in the time that you’ve committed. And al also your Yeah. Your, your different perspectives, as I’m sure. Thank you. Uh, I thank you as well to the audience, uh, who’ve, who’ve endured, uh, as we’ve spoken about building endearing great companies. Well, that’s it. This is our necessary ending. Um, thank you everyone. Yes. Um, yeah. Uh, I do wish you the best, uh, and we’ve given you the contact details. Um, enjoy. Um, and I hope that from here you’re able to, to go on and thrive and build your own enduring great company. Thank you.

Kevin (00:28:34) – Yep. Sounds awesome. Agree.