Leaders exit proactively. They know when and how to leave a situation, role, relationship, or job. Exiting can be painful, unexpected, frustrating and dramatic. Exiting can also be exciting and challenging. Exiting can be both good and bad. There are ex-jobs,ex-companies, ex-spouses, expats, ex-presidents, ex-players and more. Leaders actively look for the next door to walk through. When possible, they exit in a professional and graceful way. Proactively exiting may involve an exit plan or be driven by a clear outcome that you are moving towards. Healthy exits may be in lessons learned or in being able to continue a working relationship. Leaders are active and decisive in exiting one door and entering another.
1. Pick a Date and Graduate Not all exits are bad. Completing school or projects are reasons to celebrate and do something that is meaningful and acknowledges the exit, like a party or ceremony. If exiting something is hard, pick a date and create a public celebration to honor the exit. It could be as simple as shouting it out on social media, celebrating a meal with a friend, or sending yourself a gift in the mail. Celebrate the ending. Divorce parties are becoming popular. What ceremony can you create to honor your exit?
2. Find a Partner in Crime – Finding yourself hesitant to exit or wanting to exit too fast? Who else do you know who is in a similar situation who needs to exit? Having a buddy can validate your decision and provide you with someone to compare notes, someone to offer and receive emotional support from, and generally who will make exiting smoother and easier. Who’s your exiting buddy?
3. Hold Yourself Accountable – Like anyone who commits to something out loud in front of other people, when you publically commit to exiting you are more likely to do it. What do you need to say, and to whom, about your commitment to exit?
4. Use the Three-Strikes-Out Rule – Know yourself and be specific about what’s acceptable and what isn’t. If I don’t (deliver, get money, get promotion, get included) …. If they don’t (listen, follow rules, say thank you, stop cheating) …. If I can’t do this by this date, I’m out, I’m leaving, I’m done. Here’s an example, if they don’t finish after three tries, they are fired! What are your boundaries and limits?
5. Use Analysis and Logic – Are you a distributor of cassette tapes and have been since 1971? There are facts and figures that show that cassette tapes are a dying business, so why are you trying to grow it? Your own pro and con list or a SWOT table (Your Strengths, Your Weaknesses, External Opportunities, External Threats) are just two tools you can use to apply logic. Are the facts telling you to exit?
Coming Up Next Week…
5 more exiting strategies!