One of the things that many professionals overlook, especially when they are young in their career is the importance of not burning bridges. The concept of burning bridges refers to what can happen as you move from one opportunity to another one, you do so in a way that does not allow for there to be an opportunity with those you have associated with previously. This often happens as an employee leaves one company and is upset how they were treated. Their exit is accompanied by negative noise. When this happens a company will surely not allow that employee to return to work for them in the future.
When a decision is made to leave one opportunity to pursue another one it is in your best interest to do all you can to make the transition as professional as possible. You never know who you will need in the future or who will end up being your boss. Your ability to make a positive exit will pay huge dividends to you, your company and often those who you work with.
I have learned that leaving one company and going to another one can be one of the best personal and professional development opportunities of my life. I have made the decision to leave one company to go work for a competing company and everytime I have made this decision, I have done my best to leave with respect, professionalism and relationships intact. Here are some helpful hints for those that are or will be making important transitions:
1. Once you have made your decision, don’t apologize for the actual decision you have made. Your ability to be confident in your new opportunity will ensure respect with yourself, boss, co-workers and new company.
2. When you give two weeks, be willing to work out those two works and give it everything you’ve got. Stay focused.
3. Something I learned from my years in Boy Scouts, leave your position better than when you found it. Help ensure that the person coming behind you can pick-up where you left off and even do better. Put together transition notebooks, if you are lucky enough to spend time with your replacement, give them all the knowledge you can.
4. Don’t create company buzz about leaving. You need to be fair to your company and co-workers as they will be there when you leave. Keep things positive and focus on the great things about the company you are leaving. Let your company decide the best way to communicate your decision.
5. If possible, leave at the top of your game. Nothing is more powerful, empowering and respectful then leaving when you are at your best. This ensures that you will leave with a good relationship intact and in the chance that you need help in the future from your previous company or someone there, you have a much better chance of receiving it.
At the end of the day, leaving a company is never easy no matter what the situation might be. It may take extra effort to leave in a respectful and professional way but that extra effort will always be worth it. Don’t do anything that would burn bridges you just might need in the future. I know first hand that this is true. I have been re-hired by company’s I have left.
“Even Heroes will go through transitions. Heroes don’t burn bridges, they build them.”
Be A Hero!