• Alison

We need to talk about Endings

Updated: Sep 7


Covid-19 has precipitated a huge amount of loss as well as opportunity. The concept of organisational grief is starting to filter into leaders awareness. I am a beginnings kind of gal, an optimist who is always looking and moving forward. Therefore, when I found myself increasingly working with clients on neglected organisational endings I was surprised and naturally got curious. Together, with my colleague, friend and thinking partner, Lizzie Bentley Bowers this initial curiosity turned into a 2-year professional and personal enquiry. We have come up with practical ways to help groups and teams balance the past losses with the energy of moving into the new and wrote a paper summarising our findings in more detail. My hope in convening and hosting conversations with organisations, is that in by paying attention to both endings and beginnings, leadership teams will move forward wisely. Many endings have unfortunately happened abruptly and without the attention that they deserve. For example furloughing slipping into redundancy, business closures, school rites of passage for our children that have been cancelled such as exams, proms, graduation, and the ultimate loss, the death of a loved one or colleague. An ending is a key process the end of which is marked with a "goodbye". Our work can help navigate the reality, the messy stuff, the emotions; to be able to acknowledge the accomplishments and loss. Doing this, even after the fact, is an important way to land you in the present and therefore more able to plan for the future. In the financial crisis of 2008 one of the questions was “where are all the coaches” and therefore one of my drivers at the moment is to be more courageous in my contribution. So, in service of processing our collective and individual experience of the Pandemic in order to move forward, we would like to share our thinking so far on how to acknowledge endings and their impact in a safe respectful way. I must add that by no means do we feel we have the answers, however we do hope we are at least starting a conversation. If you would like a copy of our paper "Endings in Organisations", (creating a stronger tomorrow by acknowledging endings today) please contact me.

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