I have posted recently about some issues going on in our business and how one of these issues related to one of our core values: Integrity. Well, I want to talk about the other situation a little more in depth at this point. This situation is related to another of our core values: Employee Development.
Not A Good Time
As I mentioned in a recent post, a key, long-term member of our company’s leadership team (my inner circle) gave me their resignation. While there is never a good time for this to happen, this announcement came at a particularly bad time for me.
We are less than 60 days away from beginning a total renovation of our Honda dealership facility and this leader was to be one of the key drivers of this project. He was also a leader in ensuring the smooth transition into the temporary location from which we will operate during construction.
We are also just over six months into a new management team under his leadership. This leader has played a critical role in their development. Though the team has shown amazing progress during this six-month period, there is still a distance to go before this team truly realizes their full potential.
As I said, this is not a good time for him to leave.
At the same time, one of our company’s five core values is Employee Development. We describe this core value this way:
We strive to create an atmosphere that inspires and enables people to reach their full potential.
In addition to this core value, our Vision statement is “Moving people.” We explain our vision by first pointing out the connection between “moving” and transportation – in our case, selling and servicing automobiles. But the true meaning of this vision applies to the people that come into contact with our business – the stakeholders. These people fall into three categories – employees, customers, and community.
We want anyone, from any of these three categories, that comes into contact with our company to be better off having done so. We want to help “move” them from one position into another, better position as a result of their interaction with us. We want every decision we make to reflect this vision.
Key Leader Resignation
Let’s go back to the leader that has now resigned. When he first told me, he generously offered to work a month’s notice. He was willing to help in the transition in any way I wanted. He explained how this new business opportunity was not one that he sought out, but was simply too good for him to ignore.
As he explained the opportunity, I quickly saw that he was right. I realized that I could never offer him the same chance to reach his full potential in our company as he could reach in this new job. I was disappointed in losing him, but I could not blame him for saying yes to the offer.
Living Out Core Values?
It was at this point that I had a choice. I could get angry and do what the majority of owners would do in our industry – tell him to pack his things and go ahead and exit immediately. I could cut off his compensation and benefits that very day and do only what I was legally bound to do.
OR, I could embrace our core value of Employee Development and our “Moving people” vision. I could congratulate him on his tremendous opportunity and begin laying out a plan that would maximize his effectiveness while he worked his notice, benefiting both of us in the process.
I chose the latter. In fact, I used the opportunity to reinforce our commitment to our core values by going to every department individually and explaining the whole situation. I tried to show, by example, that we are indeed serious about these core values and our vision.
The results? Well it has not been long enough yet to give a full report, but I can give you some of the immediate benefits…
- 1. Other leaders have immediately stepped up to fill in the void caused by his departure
- 2. Employees have seen we are committed to our core values – “moving” them whether that means they are moving “up” in the company or “out!”
- 3. Our company’s relationship with this leader is fully intact and will bear fruit by maintaining an open line of communication in the immediate future in case we need help tying up loose ends (or accessing a lost password!).
- 4. We were able to have a going-away party to show him our appreciation for his contributions and to allow closure to those employees closest to him.
- 5. I believe his transition into a new job will be easier because we eliminated any stress that could have come from a messy separation.
As I began listing these immediate benefits, I realized that there are longer-term benefits as well. Here is a short, not exhaustive, list of these benefits…
- 6. The remaining leaders in the company will be stronger in the long term due to stepping up their game in the transition and beyond.
- 7. Other employees may realize we are serious about employee development and our other core values. Hopefully, they will work for similar opportunities in their own career. While some may move “out,” they will be better off having worked here. Still others will move “up” and make us a stronger company as a result.
- 8. Our ongoing relationship with the departing leader will bear fruit in many other forms as he will be working on cutting-edge ideas and processes in his new job. We will have the inside track access to what he is learning.
- 9. His future job performance will be better due to the ongoing relationship with our company. We will likely serve as testing grounds for some of his ideas and projects.
- 10. His personal relationships with some of the employees, hampered while here due to working relationship, will likely blossom without that hindrance.
- 11. I will maintain a friendship with him. I already look forward to hearing how his new job is going and how he is using the skills and talents God gave him to impact others.
Have you had similar opportunities to live out your company’s core values?
What would you have done differently?
What benefits did I overlook?