Learning From Goodbye

Goodbyes Come With The Territory

I’m a consultant.  That means I change jobs a lot.  I am in and out of organizations.  I meet a lot of people, work with a lot of people and say goodbye to a lot of people.  I do different things in every gig, even though I go into organizations as a “change management expert.”  That crosses a lot of boundaries and takes in a lot of different kinds of cultures, situations, tasks, and tools.  I love what I do.  I hate the goodbyes, though.  I hate leaving the organization and its specialness.  I hate leaving the familiarity and quirks.

Lessons Learned

Every time I leave, I do a ‘Lessons Learned” for myself.

  • What did I learn?
  • How could I have prevented some of the things that went wrong?
  • What went right?
  • Which of my skills got used?
  • Which skills did I grow?
  • Which skills did I need that I didn’t have?
  • What can I do differently for the next gig that will speed up my onboarding?
  • What could I have done differently and if I had a chance I would go back and change?

What about the people?

  • Which ones was I wrong about on first impression?
  • Which ones were the biggest help to me?  How and why?
  • Which ones did I have the hardest time with?  How and why?
  • How could I have started differently to change that?
  • What could I have done throughout the gig to improve my interactions with people?
  • Which people will I keep?  (I always try to collect and keep the great people I meet in each and every gig–thank goodness for LinkedIn!!!) How will I make sure that I stay in touch? How can I expand my interactions with these people going forward?


  • Are there things that happened during this gig that are the same as past gigs?
  • Can I leverage the patterns?
  • Do I need to break the patterns?
  • Can I learn from the patterns?

What will I do differently?

  • How will I be different in my next gig based on what I learned in this one?
  • How will I enforce doing these things differently?  In other words, how will I remember to spot and change my behavior?

What will I do the same or do more?

  • How will I enforce doing these things the same?  How will I remember?

Count My Blessings

I LOVE what I do.  I am so lucky to get to have experiences in different organizations and meet so many great people.  Even though I find the goodbyes painful, I am so blessed to have had the experiences!


Filed under Learning, Personal Change

6 responses to “Learning From Goodbye

  1. skipprichard1

    You have great questions. What do I love about this post? That you, as a consultant, understand that you do have an end point. Some consultants merely want to keep the client on a hook forever, creating an healthy dynamic of co-dependency. You, on the other hand, want to create a strong organization and thus provide the opportunity to grow after you leave. One of the many reasons I’m a fan of Jo!

    • Hi Skip,

      Interesting that you’re view is that consultants should ‘go.’ The consulting gurus say that consultants aren’t showing their value if the client doesn’t want them to stay and stay and continue to add value. It certainly is a self-serving approach, now that I think about it.

      As always, good to hear from you.


  2. Pam Walker

    Hey Jo — just happened upon LinkedIn and your blog. It’s been a LONG time! So good to read your thoughts and to know that you’re a real blessing to every organization you serve. You are truly missed in Dayton!

    • Hi Pam,

      So good to hear from you. I’ve heard really good things about the work you’ve been doing with job seekers. Please let me know if I can help you in any way.


  3. Thanks for the insightful reflection, Jo. I find your questions to be timely given a situation I am in at the present. They are helping me think through how a current project is proceeding and helping me make adjustments where needed. As always, your wisdom is appreciated!

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