This is the first post in the ‘Ask Tristan’ series. If you have a question, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: Tristan, a member of my team just told me they’re leaving in four weeks, I thought they would stay for at least another year! The same problem has happened before. What can I do to stop these surprises happening again? - EW
A: Dear EW,
It’s really important to have an ongoing conversation about the future with every team member. From the day they start, you should be thinking and asking about the day they might leave. It’s called succession planning or, more simply, being prepared.
I regularly ask every team member what their plans for the next 1-2 years are. I love talking about the future and it helps us all be aligned to what’s coming up. I usually keep the chat relaxed and informal but vey specific. If they’re thinking of a change of scenery I want to know when and why. With that info, I can understand the situation and respond by either finding them a new challenge or preparing for life after they leave.
My team seem much more relaxed and can focus on doing an awesome job when we’re all on the same page.
Growing a strong family culture requires constant communication and constant planning for the future.