President’s Message – Transitions
A few years ago, I decided to leave my forum. I loved my forum and still do, but I needed a change. In large part, I gained the confidence to leave from my forum. I was prepared and energized to become a permanent resident at Community in Forum (CIF) events, feeling hesitant to join another forum. I found that every CIF I attended to be incredibly powerful. I believe this has to do with the strength of our process and protocols and the high commitment to following them at CIF. We always have at least nine voices and vantage points which keeps perspectives fresh and diverse. This is a unique benefit of CIF.
However, with this transition, I was not prepared to give up forum retreat. I felt I would not ask myself the “big questions” without retreat. Then I thought, “I have the retreat exercises; I can go it alone.” Except I realized saying those presentations out loud, entrusting others with my thoughts and receiving nonjudgmental feedback is something I cannot do alone. Retreat had been extremely freeing, scary, and valuable, and I could not deepen relationships and learn from others without hearing their retreat exercise presentations.
I am happy with my decision to join another forum and I’m grateful for the support of EFBC members and staff. Otherwise, I would not be fresh off my forum retreat having just completed the wonderful Transitions exercise. Like every word, transition means something different to everyone. I found some synonyms like development, evolution, growth, upheaval, flux, and turning point. Some of these have good connotations and some not so good. This is much like many transitions in life depending on the circumstance and how we process them.
One of the most important transitions we will all experience is exiting our businesses. I am excited to share that the EFBC has a very powerful tool and process called the Transition Preparation Assessment (TPA). I learned from shared experiences that it is never too early to be thoughtful and intentional about preparation for expected and unexpected transitions. A great read of shared experiences from entrepreneurs exiting their companies is Finish Big by Bo Burlingham.
A new peer on our EFBC board representing DePaul University is Bruce Leech. He is a great addition and brings a passion about transitions, especially those of entrepreneurs selling and eventually leaving the companies they started. Bruce is involved with a new EFBC transition initiative as we explore a path for our members that expect to be changing their role from shareholder and/or CEO to TBD. It is not if but when we will exit our business. How prepared are you, your business and your family for this eventual transition? If you are interested in learning more about the work Bruce is doing or how the EFBC may be able to assist you in your own transitions, please let Liz, me or any board member know.
Co-President, Chicago Glue & Machine
EFBC President 2020-2021