The Art of Finish

or how to leave a lasting impression after your are gone

One of the greatest managers I have ever known, thought me once, a great lesson about business. We were attending a project meeting, and besides ourselves, a lot a high esteemed managers where attending the event. After we have finished and gathering our tasks, goals, etc, packing to leave, he said one of the most odd things I ever heard.

He said this: “It is excellent to be a good manager, but is even more valuable to know when you have to leave“. I was surprised, because his statement was out of context. Or so I thought.

Art of Finish

We didn’t discuss it further, but that statement catch my attention. So in a later time, I ask him what he meant. He said, that, at that time, he was referring to a senior manager of some age (attendee in the meeting we both were attend), who he was certain that only his presence was enough to further our work at hand. I remember that the particular person didn’t do any comment, or provide ideas in the table, but he was more occupy of ”

I remember that the particular person didn’t do any comment or provide ideas in the table, but he was more occupy of “keeping the right procedures” (balancing priorities, finding “errors” in the procedures we suggest, comment on our errors without providing alternative solutions, etc). As my friend told me, that particular person, was a brilliant manager at his time, innovative, pro-active, thinking out-of-the box, implementing approaches for serving all involved parties.

But, now, according to the opinion of my friend, he had nothing more to offer and insisted on keeping a position that he could longer filled in. That particular person has not realized that it was time for him to leave.

This is a common situation in business world. It usually happens when:

  1. You didn’t pace up with the evolvement of your environment (in business, financial, human resources, relationship or technological terms)
  2. You select approaches no longer serve your purposes and that of the other
  3. You lack a vision and a direction
  4. You fail to trained yourself in new methodologies, tools, approaches
  5. You keep an authoritative attitude and refuse to adopt new approaches
  6. You “read” and interpreter wrong the situations you have to cope with
  7. You don’t invest to yourself, in keep up with all the developments concerns you

Off course it is important how you start-up, but is seems that it is equally important, how you finish a course. And this, I believe, it applies to all of you everyday actions. It is enough a bad or negative “last” impression to ruin a whole course of meticulously planning, work and efforts. So it is important, when you have to leave, you should do it with grace, making sure, that:

  1. You have design and prepare your exit with the best possible way
  2. You don’t leave burdens to others (friends, associates, co-workers, etc)
  3. You have groom and prepare your successors, in order to operate without your presence, without errors in the procedure!!!
  4. You have done everything possible, to elevate the business ecosystem and environment and provide multiple benefits and value added conditions to all surround you
  5. You have provide an excellent, mutually beneficial, raw model of working with and towards everybody, leaving a new paradigm of doing and a legacy to be followed upon, by others
  6. You have cultivate and practice a culture of excellence towards everybody (if possible!!!)
  7. You have employ more win-win strategies, rather that win-lose ones in all your actions
  8. You have done what you had to do, as best as you could
  9. You have left a vision and a legacy to be adopted and practices by others.

What do you think? There is value in the way some people “leave” as much as in the way the people “start” or not? The attitude of some people on the matter, can teach new ways or not? Why some people leave a legacy, when they abandon a procedure, while others, don’t? Please comment.

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    Takis Athanassiou is an IT Consultant, Blogger, Trainer & Writer, active in the areas of leadership, business consulting, e-Learning and social media. He aims at the development of people, business and assets! You can check out his blog, add him in Google+ and follow him on Twitter.

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    • SJ


      You make a great point. Many people achieve a degree of success and plateau, thinking that they have done everything and need to do no more, where in reality they are being left behind.

      On the other hand (seeing it from senior guys POV) when you have been around fro years you gain a huge amount of institutional knowledge and while many people may think their ideas are new and fresh, they may really be things you have seen a dozen times. In those situations your job may to be guide, mentor and pass on knowledge to those willing to listen.

      Sometimes it can be a fine line between the two.


      • Excellent points, SJ and always you (we/all) should have in mind this fine line, as you express it. Thank you for your comments.