Gabazira's blog

The Effectiveness-Lab

Are you the type to always have an exit plan?

Should you consider exit-plans beyond the confines of your brick and mortar office, house, short spans of time spent on aircrafts?

Indeed, the above are good examples where exit planning and strategy are integrated into the body fabric of processes. For instance, well-executed building plans have got fire exit points. If you face a situation that requires you to escape a facility fast, you have an escape route. For those of us working in the development sector, we have exit plans for projects. We know that projects are time-bound and with specific objectives. People that have been on aircraft know and appreciate the escape route protocols on these metallic tubes.

Good exit planning is: intentional as preparation for a dangerous change in circumstances; specifically, it helps prevent or mitigate the effects of hazardous situations.

Unfortunately, it’s not always automatic that we exit-plan. The tendency by many is to take the narrower view of exit planning. We tend to restrict such planning to physically harmful threats and the manifestations thereof. For example, fire in a building, fire on a plane, and in some instances our demise from the earth, i.e., before we die, we usually prepare a written will.

Should we not widen scope re.: individual exit-planning?

Exit planning should be the ‘normal’, including from venerated things like marriage, etc. We at the Effectiveness lab opine that it’s prudent for individuals to exit-plan for most of the situations life brings to us. Exit planning may not be the end in itself – for example, completely stopping work. It may be transitional, like having to move from one job to another in a deliberate, intelligent and non-stressful manner.

Below are our suggestions for exit-planning candidates:

White-collar work:

To put it politely, if you are in employment and controlled by someone else, do you ‘remember to remember’ that at some stage, like any other relationship, you may get tired of each other? It’s human and normal to tire in such situations. It doesn’t matter who gets tired first. What matters is to appreciate that when the latter happens, work may become an unpleasant experience. Having to spend 69% of your daytime with people you no longer have the right feelings for is rarely foreseen by white-collar employees.

It’s not uncommon to encounter professionals moving jobs hurriedly and out of desperation. More often than not, they jump from the frying pan to the fire. Panicked and not knowing what to do next, intelligent souls have ended up in the wrong jobs and more miserable.

An exit plan for the professional labourer may be as simple as keeping three months of salary in a savings account. The latter may buy you ample time to break from one job into another. The exit plan may also equal having a business plan and capital ready for a business start-up. These kinds of situations are God-sends to try your luck at things you have always wanted to do in life. But only if they are well thought through – right?


It is a tricky one that can get us in trouble, especially at the local church in Nakabugu that our parents built with their pension. Of course, we aren’t insinuating that your marriage is about to end – but what if it did? And truth be told, we have witnessed shocked divorcees struggling to accept that their marriage has ended. Unions can have a life, and ‘die’.

When we divorce, the struggles may not be about the void and misery of not having a warm body next to us. But it’s the lack of mental preparedness and support mechanisms for this thing called separation. The natural and usually wrong exit-plan for divorcees is quickly re-marrying or identifying someone to go out with.

You are advised to exit-plan marriage properly – and we pray you never divorce. But remember – you can. It’s essential to know how and where to access things like: mental-health specialists, activities to gap-fill: for example, having an inventory of activities you may take on, including – voluntary work, sports centres (ensure you have the correct registration at clubs), trying hobbies you have always wanted to learn by having a list on hand of individuals/organisations that can help you learn these, keeping in mind issues like where to re-locate if you had to leave your marital home – so when you invest in real estate, ensure one of your rental homes is good enough for you to stay, without having to invest in a massive refurbishment/redesign. Or worst of all, having to rent. Do you even keep a list of divorce lawyers/support organizations, and would you know where to go for such support?

Seemingly simple things, but that aren’t straightforward with foggy heads, as the case is for those that have just divorced

Now, how we wish we didn’t have to write this. But having recently listened to a senior discussing divorce rates and values amongst the young, isn’t it true that barring God’s divine intervention, not exit-planning may instead worsen tension amongst the marrieds? The odds are stacked against them.


Leaders, good or bad, are professionally mortal. Leaders should know when the inevitable starts to happen and leave voluntarily. The unavoidable in the context of this blog equates to leaders understanding that they can no longer sustainably add signature-value to the bottomline at the organization they lead. Signature-value addition for the leader brings to the table sustained leverage that those they lead can tap into.

Sadly, leaders rarely pick up the signal when they lose the ‘leverage-for-others’ competence; [yet it’s this] that makes them effective in their role. The latter is particularly the case given the interplay between the leader’s role as: leader, strategy maker/overseer, chief structure designer (architect), and people manager.

Leaders should not wait for others to observe that something is awry. Effective and smart leaders move on when they can’t anymore sustain any of the above four leadership-anchoring variables.

To move on is no admission of ineptitude. On the contrary, it’s a clean break and a sign of sound and credible leadership. Leadership maturity and success correlate with knowing when it’s time to move on to a new challenge.

What leaders miss all the time is that not all the above fall from heaven like manna. It would be best if you had intentional leadership exit planning.

We hope you become more aware of the need to always have a pathway out of whatever you get yourself into. You become more effective in life when you exit-plan.


2 responses to “Are you the type to always have an exit plan?”

  1. Wawoo, had not conceptualized this to this level.

    Talk about exiting from this earth…Why do we keep thinking that it is not about to or will not happen? My Dad was one person that made it clear to us that his time on earth has ended and has no value to keep disturbing us taking him mbu for treatment; and rightly so he went to rest on 4th April 2020..I wish I could have that wisdom and courage.

    Leave alone Exiting a job where you find an employee that has worked for over 20 years and still not prepared to exit.

    Enjoy the refurbished lock-down



    1. @muhangi – it’s indeed a refurbished lockdown 😀; we needed it to remain safe – right?

      Yes – we have to think exit. It’s human nature to try and bury our heads in the sand on this. There is something to learn from your late Dad. on this. May HRIP


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

About Me

Apollo B. Gabazira is an Ugandan OD. junkie fascinated by matters that render organisations/individuals effective or not. He blogs on effective leadership and management. He is a devoted green-farmer and breeds the Ayrshire cow at Nakabugu, Luuka district, Uganda. Apollo is quite effective at what he chooses to do.


%d bloggers like this: