3. Planning & Executing your Exit Strategy

Part 4: Tender your resignation

I wrote my resignation letter 5 years before I actually resigned. When my best friend wanted to quit his job (3 years before I quit) he used the letter I had drafted for my employer and all we did was change the names.

In the month preceding my resignation I stared at the letter every 6 hours to remind myself that I was not losing my mind.

The moment I handed it in and I was walking away from the Human Resources office I could swear there was a small girl’s skip in my step. Looking back, I wonder what was I so afraid of

What kept me from turning back while I was on my way to deliver the letter was one question, “If the roles were reversed and it was the company bringing me a dismissal letter, would they have as many sleepless nights?”

As we wind up this series, I would like to leave you with a two-in-one question that you must answer of and before it is asked.

What happens if your employer gives you a counter offer?

What is that one thing that will cause you to change your mind?

As with all the other lessons in this series:

  1. journal your review
  2. answer the questions as honestly as you can. (A fish bone style is highly recommended)
  3. share your answers with your confidant and/or take the bold step to send them to me for a free review and consultation.

And with that we have come to the end of the series.

It will be great to hear from you about your transition, so please leave a comment or send us your story and let us know how we have impacted you.

As a bonus tip for #accountabilitytoself don’t burn the bridges you have crossed to get to where you are today. The path of life is crazy enough to take you back on the same route and you will need relationships and resources that can only be accessed by the bridges you built.

 

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3. Planning & Executing your Exit Strategy

Part 3: Test the waters

Its time for the rubber to meet the road.

This is the place of decision that all those questions were leading to. Hence my advise to you to be honest with yourself.

Part 1 and Part 2 were about planning the exit strategy. Part 3 and Part 4 are about executing.

As a new mother, I was introduced to the process of bathing my newborn by my mother. She taught me two things. One, you always check the water in the basin with your elbow. The elbow is quite sensitive and it will help tell if the water is too hot or too cold or just right. Two, when you add water to cool the water further, you need to put your palm in and spread the water to make sure that the temperature is the same all over.

Elbow Test

For me to resign from my job, I did my Elbow Test for about 5 years. Translated to business, the Elbow Test is about gauging your readiness for the transition. Tabulated below are some of the ways you can apply the Elbow Test:

If you are going to another job If you are venturing into business
Put out feelers within and outside of the organization.

Remember the networks we talked about in the previous article, get to know what is happening in the industry. Who are the new entrants? What is the skill set that recruiters are looking for? What opportunities are opening up?

Update and refine your CV

In this highly competitive world of job cuts and fresh graduates getting high value jobs, you don’t sell who you have worked for more than you sell what you achieved for your employer and the mark you have made over the years.

Talk to some career experts

They know what is landing that big and job and what is not. They know if the industry is still attracted to your kind of CV or they are looking for something else.

Review the industry you want to go into

We’ve said it in a previous article. You don’t venture into a war unprepared. No matter how many years you have been in the industry, there are some things that you do not have a complete grip on. You have been a mechanic for 20 years, yes, but do you know the dynamics of clearing and forwarding to get the good spare parts on time to fix the car? Learn the business afresh

Put out feelers in your social networks and the industry

Let people know what freshness you are bringing into the industry, it might open doors that have been closed to you because you were employed.

 

Palm Test

This is work. Without a doubt. It’s about laying the foundation for your business or for the new job. The Palm Test can also be applied to your current situation is some of the following ways:

If you are going to another job If you are venturing into business
Go for interviews

Beyond talking to recruiters, secure a few interviews to see what is in the market. Be the interviewee and see what you have to say about yourself. On the other hand, if you can, be part of the interviewing panel for your organization if they are interviewing internally. It will enable you to know what other job seekers are going through and what you might face when going for your own interview.

Evaluate offers made against your life goals

Don’t take everything that is presented to you. Know your value and you will know what to take and what to leave behind.

Build your knowledge

With the technology expansion we have in this age, this does not have to be an expensive process. There are online course about everything, Sign up to teams like Coursera, Udemy, edX and many other. They have free courses and paid courses that you can choose from. Read widely, watch videos and programs that will fill you with new ideas and expand your imagination for the business you want to start

Moonlighting

Where possible, you can start your business alongside your job to build traction until it gets to a place where you cannot do the two together anymore.

Boot Strapping

Finance your business out of your salary for a little while to deal with the issue of capital. I love what Peter Thiel shares in his book Zero to One, that sometimes we think we need a humongous working prototype for us to hit the market. Sometimes it takes less than half of what we are thinking we need.

Please note that the two tests are an excerpt of a toolkit in our 12 week class on whether to resign or not which will be starting soon and you can pre-register via e-mail. For more details on the toolkit, please contact us with a brief explanation of your transition phase.

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3. Planning & Executing your Exit Strategy

Part 2: What will be your safety net?

No soldier ever goes to war without counting the cost. Similarly, no stunt master does his thing without back up. The truth is that for those people who lose their jobs without warning this is usually the pain point. That someone or something pushed them out of the plane without a parachute!

It is not in my place to tell you what your safety net should be or how big or how small, but it will be wisdom for me to show you some of the backup systems you can develop to ensure that when the moment of transition comes, you will be well equipped.

Financial instruments

Like bonds, savings and fixed deposit accounts, shares & stocks, etc.

From personal experience, financial instruments bring to life that quote that “the proof is in the pudding”. They are all sweet and attractive when they are being explained to you and when the papers are being signed, but the moment things start going south with your stable income, especially when it is your choice for you to leave employment, these instruments become a generator of tears and regret.

I would advise care when considering them as a fall back plan.

Professional & Social networks

Build bridges and make relationships matter more to you than material things. It is people who will be there for you and not the material stuff. As I highlighted in the e-book From Employment to Business, your networks will change when you are in transition. People are generally resistant to change and when they are forced to come face to face with it, they shy away until the ground under their feet stabilizes.

So, if you see transition coming your way, take time to make some social investments by building your own networks besides those sponsored by the company. Experience shows that those you initiate and sustain independent of your company will remain strong for you during your transition.

Subscriptions

This is about keeping yourself knowledgeable and up-to date with the industry news. Annual subscriptions supported by your salary are good and you can accumulate the information and digest it for your future. Subscriptions that are also making a difference in the current world have to do with joining membership sites that relate to what you are focused on.

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3. Planning & Executing your Exit Strategy

If you have already taken a step back and you have studied your environment and you see that resigning from your job is the best thing that can happen to you, then welcome to this lesson.

This is a broad subject and we will be addressing it quite significantly in our upcoming membership community.

For now though, I will break it down into four lessons and I believe it will help you chart the way forward with your career change.

Part 1: What’s holding you back?

A gazillion things could be holding you back. Let’s look at some of them.

P.S. Just for ease of understanding I have tabulated based on whether you are transiting to another job or to start a business. 

The Hold Up To another job To business
Fear (failure, unknown, etc.) Most jobs come with a trial period also known as probation. It can be weeks or months. You will only deal with this fear element by being honest at the interview then outdoing yourself during that probation period despite the learning curve. Trust me, everyone who is or has been in your position has come face to face with this little monster. That’s why I have addressed it in my book “From Employment to Business”.

Fear will only hold you back from your own success. The stronger it is, the more you should be convinced that you can overcome it.

Learning Curve Even if you are moving to a competitor and your company was way ahead or way behind on any process/ technology, you will have to spend some time learning. It’s a new culture, new demands, new customers, new suppliers, new systems, and processes etc. You just have to remain teachable. Allow me to recommend my free e-book “Employee or Consultant on Retainer” in which I address this hold up. Ever career move has its learning curve. Particularly if you are moving to an industry or market that you know nothing about. If you are going to start a company like the one you are in, there will be a steep learning curve and what will help you greatly is humility. Don’t approach it with the “I know it all attitude”. Allow me to recommend my free e-book “Employee or Consultant on Retainer” in which I address this hold up.
Acceptance Getting to learn new people, habits, and most of all letting yourself be vulnerable to others. The importance of first impressions cannot be under-stressed but at the same time, it cannot take precedence over integrity and genuineness of who you are. Your people and communication skills will play a tremendous role to help get over this hold up The worst thing about a capitalist society is that you will meet more unhelpful people along your starting phase than those who are willing to show you the ropes. That was one of the reasons I wrote the e-book “From Employment to Business”. While you are building your network don’t be afraid to search online for great helpful people. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.
Change Life without change presupposes death.  Change is inevitable and the only way to deal with it is to face it with flexibility, a teachable heart and a mind the can be renewed. Starting a business not only involves a physical change, but it also calls for a mindset change. Embracing a new way of thinking and acting. It needs to come from within if you will be able to handle everything that will be thrown at you – good or bad.
Resources If you are changing jobs, this will be an issue only if your former employer delays your last paycheck and the HR department of your new employer is slow in getting you on the payroll. Other than that, you will have to contend with lost benefits/ perks previously earned and the irrecoverable resource called time. You might end up sacrificing precious personal or family time to settle in into the new job. The truth is, the resources you need to make this move will never be enough. So, you must plan it out. You need to plan your finances and more importantly, your time. Freedom is lethal. You can easily get to a place where you think that you have 24 hours but nowhere have I seen Parkinson’s law (more work expands to fill the time available for its completion) more than in the new-found space of self-employment.

Overall, fear is not good. Crazy as it sounds, allow me to recommend the movie Inside Out. It’s a movie that will help bring a perspective to all the emotions that come into play at such an important time as this of your transition.

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Every Day…

Every Day is a brand new opportunity to make a difference to your life and to another life.

Don’t let any day pass you by without your smile and without your hand stretching forth; even if for a hug or to squeeze the hand of someone.

It might just be the only warm touch they have had or will have in a long time.

2. Study your environment

It is great to see you have come back for more of this series. I hope you have your journal with you and if you have some questions, please feel free to send them to me and I will work on giving you some answers.

So let’s get into today’s lesson.

As I said in the previous post, my job at the multinational I worked for was a dream job. I was self-assured to retire from there when I was at age 60. I was proud to be known that I worked there. Every year during performance reviews, I was candid with my bosses and that process enabled me to become better and better. Every time I got a letter for promotion, I would remember the words I told my interview panel when I was getting the job, “In 10 years, I want to be at middle, if not senior management level.” I looked back at the various capacities I had served and roles I had taken up; for sure, I attained what I had written on my CV when applying for the job.

Somewhere along the way, however, something changed. I dreaded wearing my name tag, I hesitated to add value that no one had asked for, I began settling for mediocre output, I started defining where my job started and ended, I started looking at the clock and grudgingly working past the set hours of work. I even retrieved and updated my CV to submit it to job sites. This was the beginning of what would be the writing on the wall for me. This is when I started entertaining the thoughts of resigning.

The question I am asking you in this article is this:

Are you seeing some writing on the wall that you should be paying attention to? What is that writing?

It could be:

  • Your values and the organization’s values don’t sync anymore
  • The organization is not stable anymore due to the operating environment e.g. the company is being sold, or it is merging, or it is downsizing,
  • You have reached the proverbial ceiling
  • You are getting cold shoulder treatment by people who previously would not have taken a decision without your input
  • You are being blamed and being treated harshly for things that didn’t seem so important before
  • You are being embarrassed in front of your juniors or peers
  • Your authority is being usurped e.g. you are a department head and you can’t even approve an emergency day off for your team member
  • Your value adds that would earn you accolades are now a source of ridicule and disapproval.

You read the writing on the wall without the influence of personal bias, emotions, and grape vine talk.

As you read your environment, it is important to answer the following questions candidly:

  1. What is the underlying element of where you and the organization part ways?

Who or what change? The values/ principles? The strategy? The agenda? The people?

  1. Knowing that no organization is perfect, what are you willing to compromise/ sacrifice from your end to continue working, even if for a short while, and giving your best?

If what you zeroed in on can be changed, would you reconsider your decision to leave?

  1. Can you find a better alternative for an employer than the organization you are presently working for?

If so, list them and the reasons why they would pick you out of a host of other equally qualified people.

Just like the previous lesson:

  1. journal your review
  2. answer the questions as honestly as you can. (A fish bone style is highly recommended)
  3. share your answers with your confidant and/or take the bold step to send them to me for a free review and consultation.
  4. Subscribe to the blog if you haven’t already done so to ensure you don’t miss the next article where we will be dealing with part 1 of planning and executing your exit strategy.

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1. Take a Step Back

I am so excited for you as we start on this series – To Resign or Not to Resign.

Twice a week, we will have a new post up. In between the posts there will be enough time for you to digest everything we share. In that time, I will also be taking time to respond to your emails or comments on the blog post.

Let’s get started!

Every time I make a life changing decision, I always take a step back to review my life. That one step makes a huge difference in the process of getting things into perspective.

You see, by the time a car company decides to make a new version of a car that is going really well in the market, they always go back to the ‘why’ then they decide on the ‘how’ followed by other details.

The decision to resign requires a similar process. I encourage you to take a step back and answer some questions.

Two important things to note:

  1. The reason for such a review is to ensure that your decision is not rush and that on those mornings when you wake up wondering, “What was I thinking resigning from that job?” You will have a very sober answer and become energized to get out of bed ready for the day.
  2. This is not an exercise in futility and it needs you to be as honest as you can be with yourself. You can’t fake you to yourself and don’t be afraid of your own truth. While help from another person may be necessary in the process, I urge you to start where you are by yourself, then you can find resourceful channels such as close friends and relatives or you can sign up for our 12 week class on whether to resign or not which will be starting soon and you can pre-register via e-mail.

So, let’s get into the questions

  1. What agenda do I have for my life?

Are you just floating through the days or is your life a collection of purposeful relationships, activities, decisions focused on an achievement that will be attributed to you as a unique well lived life full of accomplishments?

  1. What is success to me?

Is it about money? Is it about a big house, expensive cars? Is it about fame? Is it about a good family, good relationships, holidays, well-educated children? Whatever it is, you will need to be clear what success is to you. With such clarity, you won’t miss your success if you meet it along the road you are travelling.

  1. What have I done so far in my life to fulfill the agenda and to attain success as I define it?

When you define success, your decisions in life will be compounded towards your definition. Also with defined success, you know what to sacrifice and how far backwards you can bend to accommodate diversions from the journey of your life.

  1. Why did I get this job?

As indicated in my profile, I used to work at a great multinational and it was a dream job. Like me, your current job could once have been your dream job. It could also be that you got the current job because you didn’t have much choice. It could also be that it was the best option among many that were presented to you. Whatever the reason, is it strong enough to encourage you to continue holding onto the job?

  1. What is influencing my resignation thoughts?

What has changed to get you to the point of wanting to resign? A word of caution here: there is the comforting answer, then there is the PR answer and then there is the real answer. Explore more of the real answer and less of the other two.

  1. Am I resigning to get another job, be self-employed or to start a business?

This may take a while to answer because of many dynamics involved but the most truthful answer is the one that come from your heart and the one that gives you a great sense of peace.

  1. Are the conditions right for me to resign?

Avoid that rush, angry, teenage voice that shouts the loudest yes. I would encourage you to read a chapter that addresses this question in depth from my blog.

My thoughts are that if you have come this far into the article, you are ready get working.

Here is an action plan to help:

  1. Get a journal
  2. Answer the questions as honestly as you can. (A fish bone style is highly recommended)
  3. Share your answers with your confidant and/or take the bold step to send them to me for a free review and consultation.
  4. Subscribe to the blog if you haven’t already done so to ensure you don’t miss the next article where we will be dealing with basis of your decision.

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Journeying to Achieve

This article is one of those from the archives but still rings true this #throwbackthursday

In the journey of life, one must have the mindset of two very respectable sports personalities – a chess player and a marathoner.

A chess player, sits at the table mapping out his course towards his target which is the opponents queen. Sort of like conquering the enemy’s kingdom. He calculates his move and calculates his opponents’ two or three moves in advance. At the back of his mind is the target and it is always infront of his eyes, but his mind is focused on the moves that are being made and targeted at his own queen.

Always at the top of his mind is

  • protecting what he already has
  • using his strengths and weaknesses to his advantage
  • how to take advantage of the weakness and exposure of his opponent

He is always ready to trade one of his weaknesses or strengths if it will take him to the queen and declare CHECKMATE!

A marathoner does not spend his energy doing a 100m dash when he has 42 kms to go. He starts slowly knowing and believing that there is a gold medal waiting for him as well as the pride of flying his country’s flag.

He concentrates on every step he takes so that he can avoid rocks that will trip him but then he does not focus so much on his area of stepping or even on the dust he is acquiring as he runs. He lifts his eyes to see the obstacles, calculate how to avoid them and how much speed he needs to run at if he is going to finish first. He does not look at the far distance long enough to be discouraged by it; neither does he look at his present place in the race to forget what he has to achieve.

He knows that it is covering the distance step by step that will get him to the finish line and not one giant leap from the starting line to the finish line that will do the job and get him the medal!

April: I Need To…. 

Ooh… C’mon, you must have had one of those moments (or you will have them this week) where you hit your forehead and mutter under your breathe, “I need to get my act together. Three full months into the new year and all I have to show for it is…. ” I’ll let you finish that statement.

Yes, there are many who are saying that and you maybe one of them. No one is judging you – except your worst critic-YOU!

On the other hand there are many who are ticking off their 2017 lists. Maybe not in the order they expected but they are nonetheless working on their goals.

April is that reality check month and it can leave you embittered and feeling like you can’t hack it OR it can get you to actually renew your resolve and working on some key issues/ goals.

If one of your key resolutions this year was for you to quit your job, or take the early retirement option but you still have the jitters, I encourage you to subscribe to this very blog because in the month of April, I  will be sharing on the big question – TO RESIGN OR NOT TO RESIGN.

I will also address some of the issues surrounding leaving employment to start a business or changing employers, including the big ‘F’ word – FEAR.

I recently carried out a poll on the blog about what holds back people and fear of change and lack of capital stood out quite significantly.

So hit the subscribe button and get the material that will point you in the right direction.

#accountabilitytoself There is nothing as precious as a correct map for the right journey in the hands of a wise man/ woman.

The Salary 💸💸

You are paid enough of a salary to pay your bills and sustain your lifestyle in a status that is commensurate with the company you work for given your closeness to the apex of the organization chart. Your salary is never meant to fund your dreams.
It takes a renewal of mind to see, accept and change that status quo.
Only countable businesses deviate from this norm and that is why, when they come to the limelight, alot of people want to work there or the skeptics give it a wide berth and a deadline to fail.