I was in the Netherlands with a select group of international consultants. We had come together to learn from and practice with two of the best teachers in the world of the systemic work called Organizational Constellations. One teacher mentioned that if you introduced a new product after letting an old one go without any acknowledgment of all that it had contributed, the new product would not do well.
That sounds a little strange doesn’t it? How could an earlier product, the company that’s been acquired, or a retired brand know whether or not it has been acknowledged, or to say it another way, received a proper goodbye? The answer in part, is that these entities are created by humans, and the humans within them respond to attributes that are present or missing within the organizational system.
And even calling it a “goodbye” is simpler than what I mean. The “goodbye” I’m writing about is deeper and fuller: it’s gratitude for the contributions made and acknowledgment of what has been received. It’s what enables the new company, new product, new brand, or new you to move forward in life.
When this is done with sincere appreciation and respect, the energy generated from the goodbye ripples through to all—the animate most certainly, and as a stone dropped into water, the inanimate and conceptual that are part of the organizational system
Upon reflection, the teacher’s comment made me stop short: I almost hadn’t said goodbye to my former business name and old website. Whereas the changes I’d been making to my business had started with great energy, the summer deadline for the site came and went. It’d be so easy to point to this or that, I thought. A related initiative in which I had invested significant resources had uneven momentum when there was no obvious reason for it. But now I knew: I had left something vital undone. I then took the opportunity to say a proper goodbye.
I set up an Organizational Constellation, a visual representation of the elements of my business situation. When I do this for a client in an audience, individuals from the audience are chosen to represent elements of the client’s situation. (If there is no audience, one can use pieces of paper as I did for my self-constellation.)
At its simplest, an Organizational Constellation turns an internal image into physical, concrete form where one can see the relationships clearly and is free to think about them in new ways. With the assistance of a skilled guide, a constellation allows one to see the influences on (and blockages to) success, new information to be revealed that results in better decisions, and robust next steps to be imagined.
My elements were Hand Associates, the old website, Leadership Hand LLC, the new website, and Clients. Then I took my place in the constellation. When I stood and looked at Hand Associates, I was taken aback a little—I immediately began to cry.
Hand Associates has brought interesting work where I added value to people and organizations, brought wonderful people into my life, and represented some of my biggest professional and personal growth opportunities. It enhanced my financial well-being, which, in turn, I have been able to share with others. It was with heartfelt gratitude I could say “thank you.” I introduced Clients to the new name and site pointing with quiet pride to the former as the foundation for the new.
Once done fully and completely, I felt replete. The completion of the site and related initiatives have flowed much more easily since.
Can you imagine what such an acknowledgment by the leadership of an organization would have?
When we complete something in a good way, our ability to begin is fresh and free to move forward. The more important the success of the new venture, the more important the business goodbye for the former and the new. For you.
U.S. Library of Congress ISSN 2164-7240
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