A career transition involves one’s hopes, fears, trustworthiness, credibility, competency i.e. internal personal events and characteristics. It also means change in external events such as re-location, different commutes, working environment, technology, types of customers or service users.
We can learn from research in change management that finds 70% of change initiatives fail. This is mainly because the focus is on the external events of change and the psycho-social events of transition are ignored.
Transitions often demand three things of us – that we
- unlearn the whole style of mastering the world that we used to take us through so far
- ‘let go’ and accept the invitations to make a beginning
- recognise that it will take real effort and courage to achieve a balance of security and adventure.
“Success or failure during the transition period is a strong predictor of overall success or failure in the job.” (Prof. Michael Watkins, Harvard Business Review)
So what do career transition stars do when changing jobs? They
- learn about the organisation
- define a strategy in a Stump ‘speech’
- establish top priorities
- build a team (advisers, soundboards)
- make early impact with evidence of relevant accomplishments told succinctly (PARs),
- garner support through their network.
Context matters crucially. It’s a rookie mistake to automatically rely on what worked in the past – like “people with hammers will treat everything like a nail”. In order to adapt to the new reality of a new organisation, business and culture, a new mind-set is needed. A start is to diagnose the context e.g. is the organisation in a Start-Up, Turnaround, Sustaining Success or a Growth situation?