Please forgive me as you’ve probably heard me rant about something like this before.
We have this creed at Elasticity called “People Principles.” I speak and write about it perhaps too often because I believe it to be the foundation of Elasticity’s culture – one that strives to embrace personal respect, constant change, and diversity. I also contend it holds the keys to our success.
A key tenant of these Principles called “Endings Happen” reads, “People and clients come and go. That’s cool. No hard feelings, no bitter departures, no throwing you out of the building without explanation. Let’s just enjoy the ride while we’re on it together.”
It’s conceptually taken from past experiences, positive and otherwise, yet all equally important.
More than a decade ago I was hired at Progress Energy (now Duke Energy) in corporate Communications by Keith Poston, one of my professional mentors who is now president of the North Carolina Public School Forum. On my first day he said, “I don’t expect you to be here your entire career. I just want you to be better for it when you leave.”
My other professional mentor is Bill Johnson, who was second in command at Progress when I was there and is now CEO of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). I told Bill I was looking for a job outside the company and he asked me to call him if I received an offer that interested me. I did so, and he urged me to take it. He said that while it was a loss for the company, it was a better personal development opportunity for me.
Conversely, I once worked for another respected organization that does tremendous work but simply was not a great fit for me. Before resigning, I tied up loose ends so as to leave the ship in good order. When I resigned, my supervisor had me thrown out of the building and then bullied people with whom I had developed strong working relationships to stay away from me.
Our experiences, of course, shape who we are, and these three came back to me when my partners and I received an email recently from a past Elastician. I found it to be a fascinating note detailing an impressive list of what he’d been doing at his current company since leaving. But then he ended his note with this, “It has been busy, but I wouldn’t have been able to do any of it if I hadn’t learned so much from you guys at Elasticity.”
His note confirmed for me (yet again) the lessons I learned from Keith, Bill, and even through my unpleasant experience about the value of personal respect, constant change, diversity, and that endings happen. So even as you think about what’s next – and all of us do – enjoy the ride while you’re on it together, as the experiences, relationships and what you learn will continue to pay dividends.