Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
I’m retiring after almost 25 years as the administrator in a consulting
firm. The company was almost bought twice by two big firms but the
deals fell through. Now some young mid-level managers have stepped
forward to try and keep the place together. Many of the employees are
in organizational whiplash because of all the different possible futures
and bosses they have had to juggle coping with. There are also all the
usual internal political and financial rivalries. I want to leave on a rah-
rah cheerleading note, but also to address some of the serious issues
that I think people will need to face. Can you please put some words in
Dear Exit Speech:
If I were in commandment-writing mode, here’s some I might advise.
You can choose some or all, and don’t need to find some magic ten.
Speak from your heart and make it clear that you really care about the
people and the organization.
Be positive: Change can be scary, but it’s time to develop
new responses to entrenched behaviors. Communicate often and
honestly: Talk to, not about, one another. Be creative: Develop new
ways to solve old problems. Support the new owners: They stepped
up and took a risk by buying in, so cut them some slack and help
them. Be collaborative: Think about the big picture and the whole
firm, not just your short-run or personal bottom line. Be
entrepreneurial: Develop broader working relationships within the
firm and you’ll develop new markets outside it. Value administrative
staff: They do many necessary and under-appreciated tasks. Respond
to their emails and information requests promptly and respectfully.
Say Thanks! and Good Job! more often: It matters both to say and
to hear. Be kind to your colleagues: They’re trying as hard as you
are. Believe in your collective future: Help make the firm the
thriving and successful place it can become.
End by saying how much you value each person. If you have a party
or get goodbye notes, send a personal email thank you note to
reinforce the messages. And me to you: I hope your retirement offers
you the time and space to pursue everything you’ve put on hold for 25