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Updated 30 Sep 2020

CEO of Shanduka Black Umbrellas on picking your battles wisely

When do you kick down a door, and when do you walk away? Mark Frankel, CEO of Shanduka Black Umbrellas tells you when to do both.

Nadine Todd, Entrepreneur, 17 December 2014  Share  0 comments  Print

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Knowing when to push through a closed door and when to walk away is part of the skill of running a business, believes Mark Frankel, CEO of Shanduka Black Umbrellas.

It’s a mantra that started taking shape while he was the financial director at Master Currency. “There was a sign on the Boardroom door that said, ‘The last hurdle’, and somehow, it’s always stuck with me.

“In business, whether you’re a start-up or a mature business maintaining market dominance, you never know what the last hurdle is that you’ll need to overcome, to launch a new division, close a big deal, or even move into new markets. Growth requires enormous reserves of tenacity to keep facing the obstacles that are in your way. “

Knowing when to let go

However, while Frankel believes that tenacity is a vital marker of success, he also thinks it’s important to balance it with knowing when to let go.

“This can be extremely difficult. After all, how do you decide when to continue to rise to challenges that you encounter and chipping away at something, or walk away?” he asks.

“I think the answer lies in the reasons behind your actions. When you keep banging your head against the same door, you need to ask yourself why you’re doing it, and if your emotions are preventing you from accepting the facts that are staring you in the face.

"Tenacity is great, but sometimes we become emotionally attached to ideas or plans and are unable to let go of them even when it’s clear that they’re flawed. This just leads to a waste of energy and resources that might be better channelled to other areas of the business or new ideas that hold better promise.”

For Frankel, knowing when to push through a closed door and when to walk away from it to find another that’s more yielding is part of the skill of running a business, and one that can only be mastered through self-assessment and self-awareness.


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Nadine Todd, Entrepreneur

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