When it’s time to say good-bye

I’m getting ready to say good-bye to a work team (again).

As I think about leaving, I stumbled across something I wrote a while back. Posting it here as a reminder to myself that some changes should hurt. And as a reminder to be thankful that this time I’m leaving great team intact; they will be fine and so will I.

When it’s time to say good-bye

By now, I’ve lost count of the number of teams I’ve supported. Some of them grew and shrank over time according to our needs. Sometimes they included contractors who stayed for only a few months. People come and go, often to better opportunities inside the same company or elsewhere and I’ve always felt a little pride in the small part I played in their movement to someplace better.

So the teams that I remember the most clearly, are not the ones that evolved away, or transitioned because I moved to a new job or they did. No, the teams I remember are the ones that were broken apart during ideologically driven re-organizations as the result of an amalgamation of two of different organizations.

In both cases, the teams I supported prior to the re-organization had received commendations and praise for their strong performance and value to the organization. In both cases, teams that had found synergies by working together were broken up an placed within different organizational groups. In both cases, not only the people, but their ways of working and their responsibilities changed dramatically overnight. In both cases, the organizations are still trying to recover from the disruptions (In one case, it’s been over two years of recovery. In the other case, they are four months in).

Eventually, we all move on and learn our new ways of doing things. We adjust. But I hope I never get used to these types of organizational changes. I hope that I will never be comfortable when I need to break up a high-performing team made up of excellent and caring people. As much as it hurts, I hope it never gets easy when it is time to say goodbye.

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