What is Your Career Exit Strategy?

On October 5, 2011, in Blog, Career Exit Strategy, by Christine Glasco

Most private equity firms have well-developed leverage points to maximize the value of a company investment.  They also have actionable plans and an Exit Strategy that includes specific build up and ‘pull the plug’ tactics (IPO, the company is sold or recapitalized) and well-designed, phased ways of operating when they acquire a controlling interest or add to their stable of companies.

Company leaders should prepare for a potential future event (e.g., voluntarily or involuntarily leaving their current company) by using some private equity (PE) industry best practices, including:

  1. Begin with the end in mindThis Stephen Covey Habit is a great place to start.  Put a stake in the ground, develop scenarios, identify which companies would best benefit from your expertise.  Conduct a due diligence-oriented competitor analysis and a one-off and two-off analysis (in case your Exit Agreement includes a non-compete and/or prohibits your employment with competitors).
  2. Learn from past mistakesWhen PE companies design their Exit Strategy they typically study industry successes and failures.  Employ the same tactic by  researching  executive success stories and designing  your Career Exit Strategy.  A leader can turnaround his/her ‘brand reputation’ from being an ‘also ran’ to being hailed as the next – fair haired, Midas touch, industry innovator, do no wrong – corporate Rock Star.
  3. Get out with your Career Equity intact.  There are two considerations: the first consideration is to leave before your internal or external career currency is severely diminished.  The second consideration is to make a graceful exit before your outgoing value becomes eroded (like the unfortunate story of the MySpace sale). PE firms that prepare a business for sale must ask: “How much is the business worth?”  As you ready your Career Exit Strategy, ask yourself: “How much am I worth?”  “What is the recurring value of my past and current contributions and what is my monetary intellectual capital valuation?”
  4. Ensure alignment with current trends in the economy, the industry or your career field Be sure to gain experience in current best practices and stay abreast of new trends.  Become an early adopter, support beta offerings and pilots or task forces.  Research emerging markets trends.
  5. Design a plan to leave your organization better than you found it.  In other words, if your company only pays lip service to succession planning, you should enact the real thing.  Identify successors, grow them, stretch them and showcase them.
  6. Assemble and utilize the ‘ears to the ground’ of your personal Board of Advisors. If you don’t have a tribe, a Board of Directors, a team of Trusted Advisors or an “inner circle of Lifeline relationships” as described by Keith Ferrazzi in Who’s Got Your Back, you should develop one and make sure that you offer to play this role for your board members.
  7. Stay focused on your accountabilities, key performance indicators/metrics, business drivers  and practice masterful execution.  You have the most career value when you are operating at your peak.
  8. Identify who should be on your potential buyers list.  What companies or organizations will want to hire you?  Typically, this will be an organization in your industry or a related industry.  However, once you work on the list, you might be surprised at who might have an interest.  Ask what is the best move for you at this stage in your career?  What other options should you consider?

A question for you to consider:

  • How prepared are you to make a pre-emptive or strategic career move?

© All rights reserved.

Christine M. Glasco consults to company executives, business owners and non-profit leaders on career management/career transformation strategies and strategic leadership development solutions. To provide you with clarity on how to achieve the next steps in your career, go to www.christineglasco.com and request a complimentary copy of Is Your Career on Track? Assessment and e-Workbook

Email: info@christineglasco.com Phone: 1.940.367.0837

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