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July 4, 2021

"As a leader, you have to provide the glue that keeps the team together," says Cyndi Williams, the chief executive of medical technology firm Quin.

"I learnt that when my co-founder decided to leave, and the company was plunged into crisis."

Quin makes an app which helps people with diabetes. Ms Williams says her co-founder left before the app was ready and she feared the team she was relying on to create it would fall apart.

She had to devise a strategy to persuade the staff members to stay. It worked. Six months later, the app was launched and is proving popular.

Williams and her partner first started working on the Quin app seven years ago. It takes data such as blood sugar levels from monitoring devices and gives diabetics advice on how much insulin to take throughout the day - especially before eating and drinking.


The app was launched in the UK and Ireland last year and Williams says it has had "tens of thousands of downloads". Quin is due to launch in the US later this year.

However, Quin might never have hit the market. When the co-founder left the company, she says, it pitched the firm into an "existential crisis" because the app had been her colleague's brainchild.

"She was the visionary for the project," Williams says. "She was the person in the centre of everything driving the product forward. Without her, would the team lose confidence in it? Would they stick around and see it through with us?"

Quin employs a team of sixteen app designers and computer coders. Each one of them has had a vital part to play in building the app.

"If anyone of them had left," says Ms Williams, "we would basically have had to start building the app again from scratch. Given the amount of money that would have cost the company, we might then have had to scrap the project. There were four or five people who I seriously feared would leave."


Williams had spent several years as a manager in large tech corporations - both in the UK and in her home country, the USA. Based on her experience, she drew up a strategy to retain her staff.

"There are three things that people consider when deciding whether to stay or leave. The first is, am I growing and learning? The second is, do I have friends in the company? The third is, am I making an impact - does the world get better or does something in the world get better as a result of the time I'm spending here?"

Williams held a series of meetings with her staff to persuade them that it was worth working at Quin on all these counts. Every one of the staff members agreed to stay.

"The lesson from this is that leadership matters," she says. "It can make a difference between a firm continuing to exist and flourishing and a company folding.

"As a manager, you must ask yourself - are you looking at your people and your team and really understanding what is the underlying glue that is making this work and making it stick.

"Ask yourself - what am I doing to make sure that's built and invested in, so it can be a source of life for the company?"

Source: BBC
Image Source: Getty Images