One of the things I’ve seen done well at a company I worked with a number of years ago was how one of the managers handled the ending of a major project. She made it a celebration. Sure the project was ending and the team had the possibility of disbanding and moving on to other projects, but she made it a point to take time off from the closing activities to throw a party. We celebrated the accomplishments of the team and a successful implementation. As part of the party she handed out moments to every member of the team. We all got matching glasses and fifteen years later I still have mine. It is a reminder to celebrate the endings.
Project beginnings and endings are one way we can celebrate beginnings and endings. Another beginning and ending to celebrate is when a person starts or ends their employment at a company. The way we welcome a person to work with us sends a signal. Not just to the person who is starting, but to the entire team. It tells them how much we value their work with us. The same thing can be said about the way we react when a person leaves us. How we interact with them once they tell us they are leaving as well as how we react when the day finally arrives.
What also sends a signal is how we react when we need to let somebody go. How we handle the situation and the actions we take send clear signals on how we value that person and it also sends a signal on how we value the rest of the team as well. Depending on how much the team feels that person has contributed to the project, we may be sending very different signals than what we want.
The image, titled “Trailhead”, was taken by “Heidi De Vries”. You can find it on flickr.