It’s That Time of Year Again: Together Transitions

May 16, 2018

Since most of us around here follow the academic calendar, I bet many of you are facing a transition – whether it’s your own, or one undertaken by a team member or colleague. While there are a ton of resources out there to help with “off-boarding” (technical HR speak), I’ve also gathered a few mission-driven best practices in my travels over the years. Let me know here which ones resonate and I’ll dig up more specifics for you!

PS — Huge thanks to Laura Clancy at Mastery Charter Schools, Versha Munshi-South at TNTP, and Shannon Donnelly of Chicago Collegiate for sharing these excellent samples and ideas.

 1. Create a checklist.Shannon thoughtfully standardized transition checklists for entering and exiting staff members, and everyone in between! If your organization doesn’t have a checklist, well, then, make your own!

2. Make a timeline (including your communications plan.)When I personally oversaw principal transitions for my former employer, I would always make a clear timeline about the detailed steps!

3. Acknowledge the technical and the adaptive. It can be all too easy to check-the-boxes with transitions. Laura also posed these complex questions for consideration.


4. Remember key artifacts and documents. Whether you’ve stored your knowledge in Google Drive, Dropbox, or an old-fashioned binder, take a few minutes to create an organized Index or Table of Contents for your recipients, so they’re clear on what to review and when. And if you want to be rrrrrreally kind, spell out what to read before the job starts vs. what to refer to as situations arise.

5. Say goodbye with grace. Whether your organization has a standardized ritual or a to-each-his-own style for farewells (I was once serenaded by a version of Sinatra’s My Waywhen leaving a long-time senior role), make sure the departing person’s commitment and contributions are honored. Plan a lunch, make a scrapbook, sign a card — everyone wants to exit with a proper goodbye!

What else has kept your transitions Together over time?