Are YOU ready for a Transition in YOUR role and/or Organization? BTW…. It can be fun!

 In Career, Entrepreneurship, Health, Leadership, Personal Development, Professional Development, Relationships, Time Management, TOP 5

Making Change and TRANSITION EASYer on YOURself

Sharing some ideas and insights on change and transition with YOU!
(Oh! and as a bonus if you can make it to the end. A challenge for YOU!)

Chapter 1: Setting the Stage (a.k.a. The background and context)
I was chatting with a bunch of my coaching colleagues the other day.
It was during one of our executive coaching classes.
We were talking about the pain points that executives are often faced with.
One that came up was the ability (or lack of ability) to successfully transition into
a new role and/or organization.
According to research, those transitions fail 40% of the time within 18 months*.
Some studies have come up with an even higher percentage  for the failure rate.

Got me thinking of some of the things that I learned in one of MY previous ROLES.
I was the program director of a global program at one of the world’s largest professional services firms.
It was a leadership development program.
And one of the key initiatives was supporting executives in undergoing successful transitions.
It was an opportunity for me to learn a lot about what makes transitions fail and succeed.
And from what I have read and seen,
there are a lot of failures at other levels of the corporate totem pole as well.
Even those that you might think have succeeded, have often, actually failed.
How many people do you think start and stay in a role that makes them miserable?
And that misery results in a low level of engagement and thus productivity.
And ultimately, profitability.

And talking about profits, more specifically, on the cost side.
Just think of the cost of a failed transition on both parties involved, the employee and employer.
Just think of the potential positive impact on people engagement levels and
the resulting impact on corporate coffers (i.e. CASH $$) by improving
the effectiveness and efficiency of the transition process!
It could be huge.

Hopefully I can help that cause by sharing a few ideas and insights via this BLOG.
A lot of the concepts apply to just about anyone undergoing a transition.
So, if you are a seasoned executive, a new manger or just starting out on your first job.
Read on!

And, like I have done in some of my previous BLOGs
I am going to share a Top 5 List with YOU.
In this case:
“Dave’s Top 5 ideas for making YOUR transition EASYer on YOURself”.

Why make it hard on YOURself, when YOU can make it Easier on YOURself.
Oh, and well you are at it.
Have fun.
Yes, fun.
Transitions involve the unknown so they are often feared but they can be fun.
I will try and make my case for that one as well.

So, without further ado.
Time to do a little research.
Oh! And I have reached out to my fellow coaches to come up with some ideas to share as well.
Thanks fellow coaches. 😊
So here goes….

Chapter 2: Exploring the Topic (a.k.a. ideating, reflecting, researching and connecting)
Let’s see now, where to start?
A google search of course.
The results of which, from the first page of results alone, provide enough material
to write a few books on.
Or, at a minimum, a few more blogs. 😊
So, stay tuned for some more blogs on this topic.
But, for this blog, I am going to focus on only a couple of articles.
One of them is by Michael Watkins.
He has put together what he calls his 7 rules for success.

But Before I share his Top 7 seven with YOU.
(Along with my two cents worth on each of them) 😊.
I would like to share one of his videos with YOU.
Unlike my blogs, it is short and to the point
The link is in the Sources and Resources Section at the end of this blog (for your viewing pleasure).
But, here are a couple of points that resonated with me.

In the video, Michael shares the concept that there are actually 2 components to the transition.
One that involves change on the personal front.
Managing change on oneself (i.e. Developing new skills and habits etc.)
And a second one that involves organizational change.
Managing change in others (i.e. new boss, new peers, new team, etc.)
Lots of change to manage.
And in a short period of time.
No wonder transitions can be intimidating.

Oh, and while we are talking transition on the personal front.
Don’t forget about managing the change on the home front.
There will likely be quite the impact on family and friends.
Ignore them at your peril.

 “Hey kids, Mom is going to her first day as CEO of XYZ company!
(she says in the most stressed out voice possible)
Can you make your own breakfast today? And Supper?
And buy your own clothes? I will pay you later.
Oh. and Jim. I love YOU sweety. See you in a couple months.
Good luck holding down the fort by YOURself.”

It is almost like there are 3 transitions going on for the price of 1.
The Personal front.
The Organizational front.
And last, but certainly not least,
On the Home front.

Regarding the stress on the family unit.
Just think of the energy that is sucked out of the person undergoing the transition.
And because it is a new role, we are often afraid to ask for support on that front.

“I can’t tell my boss that I can’t be physically in the office tomorrow past 4PM.
How will that look? I just can’t. But if I don’t leave by that time,
I will be late for day care.
No, I will keep it to myself and let the stress built up to the point of distraction”

Ironically enough, a solution that could be in everyone’s best interest does not get discussed.
Maybe time to summon a little courage to confront some of the elephants in the room?
but I digress.

Oh well.
Time for the writer in me to move on.
Move on to the Top 7.
OO7. James Bond (oops sorry, I got distracted there. FYI. I am a huge Bond Fan)
So now, without further ado,
Here are Michael’s seven rules on;
“How to make a successful transition into a new role.”
His rules and My two cents worth…
(FYI. The link to the article so that you can read the details
is also in the Sources and Resource Section at the end of MY BLOG.)

Rule 1: Leverage your time before entry
Ever heard the term, the sooner the better.
Don’t wait for the last minute to start your transition.
It should start on Day T MINUS (-) Day 1 and not on Day 1.
I agree with Michael when he writes…
“It’s a priceless period for absorbing information about your new organization and beginning to plan.”

Rule 2: Organize to learn
Learning and Growth (L&G) is my #2 Value (from a list of 502 choices) so I am biased.
But once again, I agree wholeheartedly with Michael.
The organizations values, priorities, people, products, culture, politics etc.
Lots to learn in a short period of time.
So, a little organization sounds like a great way of…
making it EASYer on oneself.

Rule 3: Secure early wins.
I love it.
Talk about a momentum builder.
Enough said.

Rule 4: Lay the foundation for success.
My favorite nugget in this one is “building the team”.
What can I say. I like people.
Or as organizations like refer to them, TALENT.
After all, they are the ones who make all the change happen.
Or as the accountants like to call them,
Employee Costs and/or headcount numbers. ☹
Nasty accountants!
Yes, they are COSTS.
But, they are your most important ASSETS.
And they are,
Your REVENUE generators.
All of them, not just the sales facing ones.
All of them are the COGS in the wheel that keeps the
Corporate Money Machine moving forward.
(No. COGS does not stand for Cost of Goods Sold in this case) 😊
O.k. I sound a bit preachy on this one.
I will stop pontificating now.
But I already told you. I like people.

Rule 5: Construct a personal vision.
Michael suggests developing the vision based on,
“observation, imaginative visualization and clarification. “
Oh. And when YOU are done, don’t forget to share it.
A lot.
And update it based on the feedback that YOU receive.
Assuming that you take the time to listen to it.
And thank the person(s) providing it to YOU.

Rule 6: Build alliances.
Building them with YOUR key stakeholders, potential partners and potential allies.
This is where my passion for inspiring and empowering might come in handy.
A couple of tools in YOUR toolkit to align folks with the merits of YOUR strategies and plans.

Rule 7: Manage yourself
“Finally, knowing and managing yourself is as important as knowing and managing the organization.”
Those are Michaels words.
As I would say, last but not least. 😊
Manage YOURself during the transition.
Can you say burn-out?
Can you say physical exhaustion?
Talk about ideal circumstances to blow your brains out?
Right from the get-go.
Not the best way of making it EASYer on YOURself.

Instead, you might want to spend a little more time,
Not only managing others, but also managing yourself.
And by the way (BTW):
Knowing yourself helps to that end.
Ever heard the term “playing to YOUR strengths”?
YOUR leadership style?
YOUR communication style?
YOUR learning style?
They are part of your WHO.
The real YOU.
Check out my “WHO are YOU” blog if there are any doubts.
There are 10 ways to get to know yourself better included in that one.

And remember to be YOU.
Everyone else is taken. 😊

O.k. That is it for Michael (thanks for the ideas by the way).
I only have enough space for one more contributor.
I will compile and share the other themes I came across
in my next Career Transition related blog.

I have to warn you upfront that I am biased toward this next contributor
since I am an alumni, but,
I really do like a lot of the Deloitte research on transitions.
Although many have a CXO focus,
I find that a lot of the concepts from them apply to many other types of transitions as well.
I can’t share them all
So, I will share just THREE with YOU.
The first is a study called.
“Taking the reins”.
A pretty cool analogy for a transition.
On the cover of one of the study’s there a picture of a horse saddle.
Implying I assume that one is taking the reins of a horse.
Although, I have met some CXO who felt like they had taken the reins connected to an elephant. ☹

I will let you read the study details for yourself but the key takeaway for me was the
Top 3 List of things to focus on.
Here they are (along with My 2 cents worth).

#1. Time.
Focus on the key priorities.
Don’t get sidetracked by all the noise.
Focus on YOUR what.
What is your vision for YOUR role?
What do YOU hope to accomplish?
What legacy do YOU want to leave behind?
What is YOUR agenda in making that all happen.
Over 90 days?
Over 180 days?
Over the course of your first year in YOUR new role?
Oh, and don’t forget to take YOUR WHO into consideration when formulating YOUR What.
And YOUR How.
Playing to YOUR WHO will make it a lot EASYer on YOU!

#2 Talent.
Your new team.
You know, the people part of things.
and, guess what?
You are probably not the only one feeling a little apprehensive of the transition.
YOU might want to have a chat with them.
And keep them posted.
Maybe even a few chats. 😊

#3 Relationships.
Speaking of people.
What about your key stakeholders.
If YOU have not yet started to build a trusted relationship with them.
What are you waiting for?
Time, Talent and Relationships.
One more piece of the puzzle that I wanted to share with YOU.
And that is Culture.
Underestimate the importance of culture at YOUR peril.
It could be a real deal breaker if you don’t keep your eyes and ears open on that one.
I believe it was Peter Drucker who coined the phrase.
“Culture trumps strategy, every time”.
BTW. I have included a read on that one in the resources section as well.

Oh, and one last item from the folks at Deloitte.
For those of YOU from the planet Venus who are undertaking a transition.
I have included an article in the resources section.
“Success secrets of women who have risen to CFO in major companies”.
In case there are any gender differences related to transitions
that YOU might want to explore.
Although the focus is the CFO, I believe that many of the insights apply more broadly.

O.k. This blog is fast turning into a book.
So many great lists of ideas from my colleagues and peers to ponder.
But it is now time to get to MY Top 5 List.
So, here we go.

Chapter 3: Sharing My Takeaway(s) (a.k.a. What I have I learned? How have I grown?)
MY “Top 5 ideas for making YOUR transition EASYer on YOURself”

#1 Listen and Learn (a.k.a. Shoosh!)
“WAIT: Why Am I Talking”

You have 2 ears and one mouth and one ego. You might find it helpful to use your 2 ears more than your 1 mouth, especially at the get go, especially on Day 1. And the ego. You might want to park it at the door (hopefully you have negotiated a parking space 😊). Remember, YOU only have one chance to make a first impression, and what better way to do so, then to demonstrate to people that YOU care about them then to show interest in them? What better way to connect with them? After all, it is pretty hard to engage people if you are not connected with them. So, make it EASYer on YOURself and get to know them, their WHO’s and their culture.

#2 Don’t go it alone
“If YOU want to go fast, go alone. If YOU want to go far, go together” – African Proverb

Time. Talent and Relationships. Well guess what? In this day and age, the top priority is people. So, YOU might want to add developing relationships with some of them to YOUR priority lost.  Developing trusting ones. You are going to need some help. Organizations and the business environments in which they operate have not only become quite complex, they continue to become more complex at an even faster rate. Trying to do it all and make all the decisions. Good luck with that one.

The Priority. It is people. You have listened to them on Day 1. It is now time to engage them. Empower them. Connect with them. Partner with them. Mentor them. Seek your own mentor. Etc. The days of working alone hidden away in a corner office just aren’t cutting it anymore. 

#3 Be Authentic. Be YOU!
“Be yourself. Everyone else is taken”

You have made it this far by being YOU. It is YOU who has been chosen for this new role. It might help to remember that whenever you are tempted to try and act or become like someone that you are not. Will you want to learn some new things? and let some other things go? Make a change here and there? Take your leadership capabilities to the next level? Absolutely! But that does not mean trying to fill in the shoes of some previous leader who everyone loved. Or trying to be someone that YOU are not in order to please others. Often, what we find, is that when we try and walk in the shoes of someone else, they do not always fit. And who wants to transition into a new role and embark on a new and exciting phase of their career journey wearing a pair of shoes that don’t fit?

#4 Understand YOUR mission (because guess what? You have already accepted it 😊)
“This is YOUR Mission if YOU choose to accept it” – Mission Impossible Movies

Picture Ethan Hunt (a.k.a. Tom Cruise) in the Mission Impossible movies. At the beginning of the movie he receives the details of the mission. He does his best to really understand that mission because his life and that of his Impossible Mission Force (IMF) team may depend on it.  It is also important that he understand it because the tape with the mission instructions it will self destruct several seconds after hearing it.

YOUR mission might not be as life threatening. YOUR instructions might not self-destruct after first opening or discussing them. But one could argue that understanding your mission is equally important.  At least to YOU and the person(s) who have placed their confidence in YOU by providing YOU with the opportunity to transition in the first place. And unfortunately for YOU, the mission is not always available in a nice, short, clear, easy to understand message. Often there is some grey area, and, at times, it is about as clear as mud, especially if the transition is last minute.

So, you might have to add some further exploration of your mission to your to-do list. While you are at it, you might want to explore the enablers, challenges and expectations that go along with it. Oh, and don’t forget, the people, YOUR people, YOUR “Possible Mission Force” (PMF) . The talent who will be key in helping you succeed in the mission. Your mission and the organizations Mission and the mission of those people from your PMF.  Hopefully that mission is one and the same. Alignment in the mission is a great way of making the attainment thereof EASYer on YOURself and those on YOUR team.

Oh, and guess what?

Unlike Ethan Hunt, at the beginning of the movies, YOU have already chosen YOUR mission.
So, time for YOU to execute on it.

#5 Have fun
“Do what YOU love and the money will Follow” – A book MY Mom shared with ME many moons ago. 😊

A transition in a role and/or organization can be one of the more stressful events in one’s life. Sharing the dismal success statistics with you at the beginning of this blog probably does not help. And to make matters worse, people not only change jobs, but careers, on average 6 times in their lives. Yikes. Talk about a lot of transitions. But guess what? They don’t have to be stressful.  It really is a matter of mindset. I know what you are thinking. “Yah right Dave”. Well, I don’t blame you for being skeptical, but give it a try. Just think of all the new people that you will be adding to your network. Just think of all of the new things that you are going to learn.  A transition is probably one of the greatest learning and growth experiences that takes place in such a short period of time. So, leave all those nasty stressful ideas floating through your brain at the door. Next to the door with your EGO. And have some fun.

Before I leave the idea of having fun.
I have an idea on how to do just that.
I am going to try it out for myself in a couple of days.
Because, Guess what?
I am undergoing a bit of a transition in role and organization myself.
In my case, related to one of my service offerings.
Corporate leadership development facilitation.
Quite the mouthful. 😊
A mouthful but a transition nonetheless,
I have a new “gig” with anew client and team.
So, I am going to get to try out my “having fun” mindset approach.

Like others facing an upcoming transition.
My thoughts can often turn to the things that worry and scare me.
Now don’t get me wrong.
It is my choice to do so.
It is our own decision on how we interpret any given situation.
In this case, I am going to focus on the positive and fun.

As I prep for my upcoming transition.
I am going to put together a list of all the great opportunities that are awaiting ME.
Opportunities to learn and grow, and connect and, of course, to have fun.
A list of all the opportunities that this transition is going to offer ME.
Mine for the taking.
MY list will include:
Opportunities related to learning new things.
Opportunities to meeting new people.
Etc. Etc. Etc.
There are so many opportunities that first come to mind,
that I might not even limit this list to a Top 10 List.

Wish me luck!
Actually, I don’t believe in luck.
Or wishes for that matter.
A positive attitude and open mind should do just the trick.
And my Top 5 List above. 😊

And while I am at it.
This is an opportunity to take this blog challenge along with YOU.
So, without further ado.
Here is my challenge to YOU!
And ME!

Chapter 4: MY Challenge to YOU (An opportunity for YOU to learn and grow.)
Optional of course. Like everything in Life. YOUR CHOICE!
Are YOU Ready for a challenge?
If Yes, here YOU GO!

Set yourself a goal for Day 1.
Here is a suggestion:
Make it all about THEM and not YOU!
Leave your ego and agenda at the door.
Connect with as many people as possible.
Learn from them!
Learn about them!
Learn about their company!
Learn about their culture!
Show that you care about them by taking an interest in them.
Don’t forget the old saying; “YOU only have one chance to make a first impression”
So, on Day 1.
Make it a good one. 😊
Let them know that you care and are interested in them!
YOUR new team, YOUR key stakeholders, YOUR boss, YOUR client(s) etc.
Oh, and, don’t forget, to have fun while doing it.

I hope that you enjoy the blog, and,
Here’s to making change and TRANSITION, EASYer on YOURSELF!

Well, that’s all folks.


Professional Coach, Facilitator and Motivational Speaker

Are YOU undergoing or about to undergo a transition in YOUR role?

Would YOU like to share YOUR ideas and initial strategy with someone objective who has only your best interests in mind?

If so, reach out to me by email at and we can schedule a complimentary “Career transition strategy” call to discuss how YOU can make YOUR transition EASYer on YOURself. 😊

MY SOURCES AND RESOURCES Section (in case YOU want to dig a little deeper on this TOPIC)

My way of helping YOU make change and TRANSITION EASYer on YOURself 😊


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