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Photograph by Gabriela Hasbun

Fast Company

Cylance Founder Stuart McClure Finds Success In Slowing Down

A new job or venture is as terrifying as it is exhilarating, especially if you're a manager. What are the best ways to navigate a big transition? We asked five leaders to reveal what they learned during a recent power move. Then, we tapped the leadership experts at DDI* to assess how our fearless leaders have handled their staff (and themselves) amid the chaos.

Stuart McClure

CEO, Cylance
In July, McClure abandoned his CTO gig at McAfee to start Cylance, an information security company. This fall, he spent a full day in DDI's executive-level simulation assessment.

The CTO Turned CEO

Self-Assessment: "I'd been on the sidelines working for one of the largest security companies. You reach one spot shy of the CEO, and you've gone as far as you're going to go. That's painful if you're a serial entrepreneur.

At Cylance, we have 30 people and we're adding more every week. I'm not the guy doing the hands-on type of work now, though when I get a chance to, I relish it. I'm more managing the process, building strategy, making sure we're hiring great talent--and making sure that talent is happy.

I have a real impatience when I'm communicating with somebody. I need someone to get to the point. Otherwise, I get easily distracted, I disengage, and then they talk more! It's a vicious circle that comes from my ADD [laughs]. I have the 300-30-3 rule: Somebody uses 300 words which could be 30 but should really be three. It's like when you're dating. You say 300 words when you're too nervous to say, 'I love you.'"

DDI Assessment: Stuart prefers privacy and figuring things out himself. He doesn't want to be interrupted with outside ideas. He has great strength in cultivating his network to get things done--funding, staffing, finding customers--but not for personal feedback. He does, however, seem prepared to give people big assignments and take big risks with them, which is great in a fast-moving environment.

MCCLURE'S RESPONSE: "I have to slow myself down. I have such a sense of urgency with everything; I like to succeed or fail rather than never try. But I end up taking on too much. This year I got remarried, sold my house, sold my wife's house, and bought a new home that is being renovated. And I left my job to launch a startup. That's a lot of major life changes. I've already admitted to my wife that I think we took on too much."

*DDI surveys conducted in 2010 and 2011

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