On Ending Things

2009 October 16

Finish Line
Creative Commons License photo credit: MikeSchinkel

So much attention is paid in the business world to starting things. We value entrepreneurs as celebrities. We praise people who are innovative and think up the next big idea.

But rarely do we congratulate someone on finishing something. We hardly ever pat someone on the back when they prudently decide it’s time to move on, that the business model no longer works or that they need to break up with a client.

Maybe it’s because usually, things end badly. Most of the time, when we end any relationship (business or personal), we’re not sure quite how to do it, so things go awry, people get angry, and we hastily halt everything in order to move on quickly.

It’s like all of our professional relationships can be summed up in Berger’s post-it note to Carrie.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be transitioning out of the world of entrepreneurship, consulting and freelancing, at least on a full-time basis. I’ll be transitioning into a world of offices, 9-to-5 schedules, and corporate hierarchy. It’s a big transition in and of itself, but it’s also one that’s been full of small details that are equally important.

There are client projects that I must finish in a timely and efficient manner. There are duties that need to be described and handed over. There are roles and responsibilities that must be abdicated and then passed on. As excited as I am about what’s next, I’ve still got to make sure everything is still taken care of.

When I was graduating high school, a mentor told me to make sure I finished well. That advice has stayed with me, and every time I end something, those words ring true. No matter what we’re ending, we’ve got to do it well.

How do you end things? Do you rush through them in order to move on, or do you double-check to make sure everything is happening in a timely and professional manner?

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