Finishing Well

leaving-jobA few years ago I chose to leave an executive position at Chipotle Mexican Grill. It’s never easy to leave a job you love, but doing it on your own terms is very empowering. Change is inevitable and it will happen, but doing it the right way is important for many reasons. Even though I did not leave Chipotle for another position, the way in which I left gave me endless options when I was ready to take on another challenge.

Freebirds World Burrito is the amazing organization I have had the privilege of serving in as Senior VP of Operations for just over a year, but I can tell you that how I left Chipotle was key in me being able to take on this exciting role.

Here are 5 benefits to leaving a position well:

  1. You can look your prospective new employer in the eye and be honest. You aren’t couching what you want to say in a different way to say it, trying to avoid hard subjects. No, you are able to say “I left XYZ organization, on my own terms, and I left it in great shape. Here is how I communicated my departure, and transitioned out of the role.” That is huge.
  2. It gives you the right platform for your new position. It’s hard to garner the right trust & respect if your new team knows you bailed on your last gig and left the team hanging.
  3. You earn the right to share learnings from your last position. If your leaving is all above board, the great ideas you had can be great once again. They just can’t be proprietary and confidential.
  4. You can leverage relationships with vendors, suppliers, and in some cases, even people you worked with in your former job to help you in your new position. If you develop a relationship for treating people well and investing them, that becomes the gift that keeps on giving.
  5. You leave a legacy. Every good thing you did, every program you implemented, and every person you invested in will matter long after you are gone. Unless you leave abruptly and there is destruction in your wake. Then all of those things are erased.

Keep these points in mind when it’s time to move on. When you finish well and the door closes, you will find many other open doors waiting for you. It sounds like a good idea to burn your bridges, until it’s not. The problem with burning bridges is you’ve left no way to get back home to the people that love you and to the relationships will define you long after you leave your current position.

Corporate America, or the Non-Profit Sector, are small worlds people. Leave an organization well, and instead of having a past that you worry about haunting you, there will be a legacy you leave behind that follows you.

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Bobby Shaw

I am a former restaurant company executive with a passion for developing existing and future leaders to achieve high standards. I love helping organizations develop strong people cultures with an emphasis on leadership development that result in top-notch operations and better business results. I have over 30 years in the restaurant business in all facets of operations, from my start at McDonald's in the grill area in 1984 to overseeing 200+ restaurants with Chipotle Mexican Grill from 2002-2012 to leading Freebirds World Burrito's resurgence from 2013-2016 to working with the Salad and Go restaurant startup as CEO in 2016/2017. My real world experience transcends the typical operations background with a focus in leadership development and coaching. At the core of my background and experience, I believe that how leaders get results is just as important as getting them, and what got them where they are, won't necessarily get them where they want to go. I work closely with individual leaders and companies to improve their results through understanding how their strengths impact the overall results. My goal is to help business leaders and companies learn how to leverage the strengths of their employees by understanding their strengths and what they’re good at, and using that knowledge to positively impact their entire organization.

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