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Leaving with love

It is said that the average person nowadays will have around 12 jobs in their lifetime. For organisations, that means regularly saying goodbye to plenty of talented people as they move on to new roles, in new companies.

Which is why, once somebody decides it is time to leave, the only thing left to do is make their exit a positive experience and allow them to ‘leave with love’.

It’s easy to get endings wrong; it takes conscious choice and purposeful action to get them right.

We are soon saying goodbye to one of our own, and as a parting gift, she has shared her own experience and observations of what organisations and individuals can do to make endings more meaningful, and to truly ‘leave with love’.

From Rachael Taylor, Head of the Ivy House Academy, and a true rhino…

“I have some news to share. Thursday, June 13th, will be my last day at Ivy House. This might come as a shock to those of you I haven’t yet shared this with, because I am leaving a job, and a team, that I love. Yes, really. That doesn’t make any sense, does it?

The thing about working for Ivy House is that you get to know yourself pretty well (we are a leadership development company, after all), and it’s safe to say I’ve learned more about myself in the last three and a half years than I have in my entire career so far. Who I am, what makes me tick, where my passions lie, my shadow side, and most importantly – what my values are.

I got to work with a coach just a few months into my role at Ivy House when I first started back in February 2021. I was able to pin down five values that have been my guiding compass ever since: Achievement, Family, Friends, Freedom and Community. Every decision I have made since then has been based on whether it aligns with one of, or ideally, all of these things. And it’s led to some pretty monumental events for me throughout my time here – a life-changing solo adventure to Vietnam, completing the London Marathon, over £10,000 raised for charities, a job promotion, and moving over 200 miles from London to buy a house by the sea, back with my family up North.

So, it seemed only right that I used that same compass to help me make this important decision about whether to leave a job and a team of people I love. My passion and my purpose have always been centred around supporting young people and helping them be the best they possibly can. I have been able to do so much of that during my time here, but the truth is – I know I can do more. Which is why I am so excited to be joining a Tech For Good organisation on a mission to support young people with chronic illnesses and connect them to learning, ensuring belonging and community. I knew it would take something pretty special to pull me away from my current role, and I think I might just have found it.

So, this goodbye feels very bittersweet. I am gutted to be leaving behind some of the most talented people I have ever had the privilege of working with – but at the same time, something in my gut tells me that this is the direction for me. My team has been hugely supportive of my decision, and that has meant I am able to ‘leave with love.’

And as part of my farewell, I thought it might be useful to share some of the things that have made this departure a great one, and to show that it is possible to leave a company and do that well:

  • A brilliant handover. Hopefully, if you care about your role, your stakeholders, and your responsibilities, you will naturally want to do this. But for me, ensuring a brilliant handover has been paramount. I want to leave a legacy behind, and I care about my team and ensuring they have what they need to keep it all going!
  • Communicate effectively and truthfully with your network. Be transparent about your departure, explaining your reasons and providing clear timelines to ensure everyone can adjust accordingly. Express thanks to colleagues and stakeholders, acknowledging their contributions and keep it positive. Share your future plans if comfortable, and invite your network to stay in touch, ensuring you leave with dignity and maintain the network you’ve worked so hard to build.
  • Make the goodbyes meaningful. Tell people what you have learned from them, and the impact they have had on you. We don’t do this enough – especially in a virtual world where it’s easy to jump on and off calls without giving any meaningful feedback or proper thanks. Perhaps write them a little postcard – something to remember you by.
  • Say what you want to say before you leave. There has been something special about being on countdown for the last three months of my notice period – knowing that I have a finite amount of time to make my points, be heard, and make a difference. I have been bolder with my words in the last three months than ever before! And I am lucky enough to have an exit interview with my CEO before I go too, so I can hopefully contribute to the company even after I go.
  • Most importantly, have fun with your team. This one has been the most important one for me. This has been one of the most joyful and talented teams I have ever worked with and learned from, and I was determined to spend as much time as possible with them in a meaningful way. That meant a wonderful team connection day back in April and a coworking day in May in BrewDog (highly recommend – they have ice cream and a slide, what’s not to love?).

I hope that’s helpful. I know now that it is possible to leave a role on good terms, and I have joked many times to my team that I am leaving with the door ‘ajar’ – because I genuinely think we should normalise leaving to try new things, to seek new opportunities, and become more aligned with our values with every decision that we make.

Finally, I want to dedicate my final blog to the wonderful team at Ivy House. The most talented bunch of humans I have ever worked with.

Elke, Natalie, Deandra, Lindsay, Clare, Laura, Ollie, Charlotte, Susan, Neil, Bryony, Becks, Emmi, Izzy, Andy, George, Dom – and our wonderful team of thirty-two leadership coaches, thank you for everything.”

[We’re not crying, it’s just been raining on our faces]

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