Engineering a Smooth Transition on Your Own Terms….With Severance

The information below comes from an article I found on LinkedIn that was posted by Liz Ryan, CEO and Founder of Human Workplace. My edited version appears below, but if want to read the full article, you’ll find it here:  http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20131027042907-52594-negotiate-your-own-severance-package?trk=mp-reader-card

Negotiating Your Own Severance Package

By Liz Ryan, CEO & Founder
Human Workplace
http://www.humanworkplace.com

The situation: You have a new boss (let’s call him Robert) who’s sending you not so subtle signals that you don’t fit with the direction he wants to take his team. You know it’s time to make a change and are concerned that Robert will cut you loose before you’ve been able to make a change on your own terms.

How do you engineer a smooth transition that also s you position for a severance package?

Start by openly addressing the not so subtle messages you’re getting and start a conversation about a civilized departure. Let Robert know that you see how this situation is uncomfortable for him without sounding aggrieved or petulant. Find out if he’s willing to talk about ways to break the logjam of non-communication. If you can be completely human with Robert and lift him up to the same human level, you shouldn’t have to beg or grovel.

Remember, you won’t get an “everybody-is-okay” exit plan out of the goodness of his heart. You’ll only get there by being human with each another.

Here’s how that conversation might go:

YOU (Employee): So, ROBERT, do you have a moment to talk?

ROBERT (Manager): Sure, Art, what’s up?

YOU: If you have a second, let’s grab a cup of coffee.

ROBERT: Okay.

YOU: Thanks for taking a few minutes to talk, ROBERT. I appreciate it.

ROBERT: No problem.

YOU: Listen, I wanted to say that I know these past few months have not been easy for you. I got thrown into your group. You didn’t hire me, and that’s not the best situation to be in.

ROBERT: I – well – thanks for mentioning that. I guess it’s all learning, right?

YOU: Well, I give you credit, because I haven’t been in that situation as a manager before and I can’t imagine it would be easy. You must have in mind exactly the kind of person you could use in my role.

ROBERT: I just – we need to be more on time with the scripts. We can’t keep lagging behind.

YOU: I agree with you. It has to be a smoother engine. I’m not as much of a smooth-engine guy, to be honest, as I am a get-the-new-product-out guy, and I understand that’s really frustrating for you to deal with.

ROBERT: So what are you saying?

YOU: I’m just saying I’m not arguing for my job or trying to make you keep trying to put a square peg in a round hole. You deserve to have what you want in your Software Quality Manager. I mean, I think that’s the definition of a manager, right? You get to put your team together. You and I have been at this a year and I don’t think anyone is popping the champagne.

ROBERT: Right.

YOU: So, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if you’re thinking “What am I going to do about this YOU situation?” I would be, if I were you. That’s why I wanted to dig into the topic with you and just figure it out between us if we can.

ROBERT: Do you have a suggestion?

YOU: You need a different guy in this role (a unisex term) and I need to be in a different place. I mean, I could start job-hunting. You could give me some time to do it. I can keep you in the loop.

ROBERT (in fear – he’s never done this before) How much time?

YOU: Let’s say four months.

ROBERT: I don’t know if I can give you that much time.

YOU: Okay. Can I ask you a question about that?

ROBERT: Sure.

YOU: Is that your own deadline, the less-than-four-months one, or are you feeling like there’s going to be pressure from above to make a change more quickly?

ROBERT: I just don’t know. I’ve shared my concerns about you – about our working together, with Brett and Terry.

YOU: Well, do you want to shoot for four months? Obviously I’m going to be hitting the job search trail hard myself – I don’t want to wear out my welcome or put you in a bad situation.

ROBERT: I appreciate that. Four months is March first. Hopefully if you’re out there, you’ll be somewhere new before that.

YOU: I don’t know how you feel about the confidentiality thing, but if Brett and Terry knew I were looking –

ROBERT: Yes. Brilliant. They know everyone.

YOU: If you feel that four months is just too long, an alternative is to have me leave at whatever point before March and start a consulting job for you.

ROBERT: Brett, Terry and I actually talked about that last week.

YOU (startled, recovering): Fantastic. That’s appealing to me, too. If you could have someone in here and started in my role by then –

ROBERT: Let’s talk again next week. I appreciate the proactive move, YOU. You’ve been a huge contributor to this company and you’re here longer than me. I respect that experience.

YOU: Life is long, ROBERT. Who knows when all of our paths could cross again? Thank you for the open conversation. ROBERT: Same to you, Art.

Liz Ryan is CEO & Founder Human Workplace, a publishing, coaching & consulting firm whose mission to reinvent work for people. Visit them at http://www.humanworkplace to learn more about their12-week virtual coaching groups, face-to-face and long-distance one-on-one coaching and programs like Team Mojo™ and Customer Service with a Human Voice™ for organizations. Twitter: @humanworkplace

Why You Shouldn’t Take a Counteroffer

Why You Shouldn’t Take a Counteroffer
(from Yahoo! News: http://news.yahoo.com/why-shouldnt-counteroffer-133221049.html)
By Alison Green | U.S.News & World Report LP – Mon, Mar 26, 2012

Thinking about using a potential employer’s job offer to get your current company to counter and pay you more money?

Stop right there.

Using another job offer as a bargaining chip may be tempting, but too often, it ends badly. If you want a raise, then negotiate it on your own merits–or prepare to move on.

Here’s why:

  1. Employers often make counteroffers in a moment of panic. (“We can’t have Joe leave right now! We have that big conference next month.”) But after the initial relief passes, you may find your relationship with your employer–and your standing with the company–has fundamentally changed. You’re now the one who was looking to leave. You’re no longer part of the inner circle, and you might be at the top of the list if your company needs to make cutbacks in the future.
  2. Even worse, your company might just want time to search for a replacement, figuring that it’s only a matter of time until you start looking around again. You might turn down your other offer and accept your employer’s counteroffer only to find yourself pushed out soon afterward. In fact, the rule of thumb among recruiters is that 70 to 80 percent of people who accept counteroffers either leave or are let go within a year.
  3. There’s a reason you started job-searching in the first place. While more money is always a motivator, more often, there are also other factors that drove you to look: personality fit, dislike of your boss, boredom with the work, lack of recognition, insane deadlines–whatever it might have been. Those factors aren’t going change, and will likely start bothering you again as soon as the glow from your raise wears off.
  4. Even if you get more money out of your company now, think about what it took to get it. You needed to have one foot out the door to get paid the wage you wanted, and there’s no reason to think that future salary increases will be any easier. The next time you want a raise, you might even be refused altogether on the grounds that “we just gave you that big increase when you were thinking about leaving.”
  5. You may be told to take the other offer, even if you don’t really want it–and then you’ll have to follow through. Using another offer as a bluff is a really dangerous game.
  6. Good luck getting that new employer to ever consider you again. If you go all the way through their hiring process only to accept a counteroffer from your current employer, then the former is going to be wary of considering you in the future. If it’s a company you’d like to work with, you might be shutting a door you’d rather keep open.

Now, are there times where accepting a counteroffer makes sense and works out? Sure, there are always exceptions. But it’s a bad idea frequently enough that you should be very, very cautious before doing so.

Alison Green writes the popular Ask a Manager blog, where she dispenses advice on career, job search, and management issues. She’s also the author of Managing to Change the World: The Nonprofit Leader’s Guide to Getting Results and former chief of staff of a successful nonprofit organization, where she oversaw day-to-day staff management, hiring, firing, and employee development.

10 Tips for Transitioning Gracefully

Once you’ve accepted a new position and resigned from your job, you have an opportunity to execute your transition in a way that enhances your professional reputation. Handling it well is important to your long-term career success and requires advance thought and planning. It’s something you won’t want to leave to chance.

I thought that the 10 tips below, from an article posted on “The Ladders” , provided some very good advice on this topic and was worth sharing. It’s by William Arruda, a Personal Branding Guru and president of Reach Personal Branding, author of Career Distinction and creator of personalbranding.tv. Learn more about him at www.williamarruda.com.  The full article can be viewed at http://tinyurl.com/2dzggz8

Ten things to do before leaving:

  1. Wrap things up. Finish any unfinished business and provide documentation on where things stand. Organize materials and files so they can be used by your successor. Clean your office or work area, removing any personal items like that old Rolling Stones poster you hung fifteen years ago.
  2. Brief your manager, colleague or successor (if that has been decided). Offer to make yourself available even after you have left the office for the last time.
  3. Finish any unfinished personal business. If you have some business relationships that need mending, now’s the time. Remember Harry down the hall who always seemed to take the opposite viewpoint from yours? Make amends.
  4. Reach out to those who have helped you in your current role. Sometimes we’re too busy to thank people who have mentored, challenged or supported us. Thanking them before you leave is the perfect way to acknowledge them and let them know how they made a difference in your career.
  5. Thank your team. You couldn’t have done it without them. Think of a special way to express your appreciation. I was sitting on a plane next to a woman who was on her way to start her new job in Boston and relocating from Los Angeles. She told me that she invited her whole team and their significant others to her house for a pool party before leaving. She had photos taken of them and was planning to send the photos to them once she had settled into her new role.
  6. Prepare your ‘so-long’ e-mail. You will want to publicly acknowledge those who have been helpful to you in your career. Include your new contact details to make it easy for your colleagues to stay in touch. A client of mine who is extremely articulate and has a very commanding speaking style created an audio version of his ‘so-long e-mail.’ It was on-brand for him and enabled him to deliver something that was memorable and exactly what people in the company expected from him.
  7. Reinforce bridges. You hear it all the time: Don’t burn bridges. My advice goes beyond that. A friend of mine was in the process of leaving his job. He was an account manager with unbearably demanding clients who really made him suffer throughout the years in his job. He bought those clients small tokens of his appreciation for having helped him grow professionally. Although they contributed to the number of grey hairs on his head and to more than a couple of sleepless nights, he acknowledged that he is a more polished and accomplished account exec because of the constant challenge.
  8. Reconnect with contacts who have  left the company since you started. Leaving gives you an opportunity to reconnect. This is a great way to increase the value of your social capital.
  9. Provide constructive feedback. Either during your exit interview or with your manager, share your thoughts on how things could improve. Don’t use this as a time to complain or vent. Provide valuable, actionable input on how things could be better.
  10. Stay in touch. Once you’ve landed in your new seat in your new office, recontact those in your close personal network, letting them know that you’re thinking of them. A client of mine had a postcard custom-designed, featuring himself in the middle of Times Square, which he sent to all his former colleagues and contacts. On the back it said “This city doesn’t sleep and neither have I thinking about the incredible times we had. Thanks and stay in touch!”