Several times, I would not find a turnover folder prepared by my predecessor and thus would not know the expectations of my assigned duties, who to contact for help, what reports were required and their due dates,, etc. Thus, I was navigating blindly, hoping that I would have a “grace period” to figure out what was expected of me.
It would have been easy to figure out the duties during the “grace period” and perform as well as possible while assigned to a particular billet. And then depart without creating a turnover folder and help set up my successor to succeed. Yet is that making the duty station better than I found it?
The first draft of a turnover folder will not be perfect. However, it’s a start for your successor, and he or she can update it and pass it along to the next person who will serve there.
Yet, it takes time to create a turnover folder—and to do it correctly. However, I propose that it’s time well spent to help out another person. For as I saw in the Marine Corps, the smallest of the Armed Forces, it was a “small Marine Corps” and often you would serve with the same Marines at least one more time. I did not want to face a fellow Marine, knowing that I hadn’t taken care of him or her, like I would have wanted.
Another mentor quoted Socrates, who said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” This Marine pointed out that any point of transition—such as a change of duty assignment, moving to another assignment, deploying, etc.—is an excellent opportunity to examine one’s life.
Obviously this requires being intentional about yourself and your life. Not just hoping that things will work out. Or just stumbling along from one transition point to another.
He continued with the following questions:
- Am I content with whom I am becoming?
- Am I the kind of leader a Marine would want?
- Am I the kind of Commander a unit would want?
- Am I the kind of man a woman would want?
- Am I the kind of husband a wife would want?
- Am I the kind of father a child would want?
- Am I the kind of Christian that Christ would want?
- Am I the kind of Saint that God would want?
Another point that encouraged me was this statement, “You will make mistakes in life.” If each of us were honest with ourselves and others, we would admit to this. None of us are perfect. Thus if we accept that statement, then we can deal with it—and learn to forgive ourselves.
So what about you, Friend? Have you recognized that there is at least one thing you can do in your home, at work, or in your community on which you could improve? I believe that everyone of us can find one thing to work on—and help make it better for those coming after us, whether it’s next month, next year, or the next generation.