The Alexandria SBDC is experiencing something this week that many small businesses see throughout their lifespan – the departure of a valuable member of the team. While technically an employee of our host organization, the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, Amy Shields has worked with the SBDC for several years to initiate new programs, spearhead our website development, improve our reporting and analytics, and other contributions too numerous to mention. In short, she made us better. We hope that you have employees or partners who do the same for your organization.
What do you do when such an important part of your organization finds an outside opportunity that furthers their career in a way that they just can’t pass up? If your first response is tears, panic, throwing things against the wall, and so forth, you are not alone – that’s what we did. Take a few hours to nurse your wounds, have a cry (or a stiff drink) – whatever it takes. It is what you do next that makes the difference in how your organization will continue to thrive – make a plan. Hopefully, you have had a plan all along – or at least the elements of a plan. Do you keep great records of not only your accomplishments and initiatives but also all of the steps that are taken to carry them out? That will make the transition much easier for you. As we have been doing for the past two weeks, you find yourself consolidating all of the information that you have into readily-accessible files that those who remain in the organization will understand and will know how to access. Don’t forget to get the user names and passwords!!! Have the person who is leaving explain their processes to you while you take notes – that will make it much easier for you to duplicate their actions in the future. Make a list of all of the wonderful things that person has done for your organization, and do not forget those things that happen infrequently (annual survey; domain name registration, etc.) – they are easy to overlook. Then figure out how these duties will be handled in the future – will they continue, who will take them on, what changes will need to be made?
Most important, take a deep breath. Will you shed a tear at the loss of a colleague to your organization? Sure you will! Will your organization change? It probably will, since small organizations are often a conglomeration of all of the talents and personalities of those most deeply involved. But, this person helped you to get where you are today – and the lessons that you learned and the contributions that they made, will help you, and those that remain, be even better tomorrow.
So, from the Alexandria SBDC, Godspeed, Amy! Enjoy your new challenges! We are going to be just fine.