On your mark, get set, Transition!

If you’ve read Blink you will know that people will construct first impressions of you very quickly, around 2 seconds according to Blink’s author Malcolm Gladwell. While you’ve got more than 2 seconds to transition, the 2 second rule applies in every new interaction with staff, peers, clients and stakeholders. 90 days after starting the new role, your manager and peers are expecting you to be gaining traction. Human nature.

On your mark…

1. Let go of the past. What made you successful in past roles can be redeployed in this new role and may work for a while, but is fraught with risks. You shouldn’t treat this new role the same.

If you’re transitioning within the same company, shed your last role’s responsibilities as quickly as possible. If you keep track (and you should), I’m sure you’d be surprised that a significant percentage of your time is being allocated to your last life. Make this known to your new manager as it’s preventing you from focusing on your new life.

2. While your weaknesses can be a vulnerability to you, so can your strengths. If you’re exceptionally good at X, do you therefore tend to micro manage your staff who owns X? Instead, you should teach them, coach them, ask opened ended questions of them, but don’t do their job as they’ll come to resent you and feel inadequate. On the flip side, if your weakness is Y, you need to be conscious of it. A good book on this topic is Go Put Your Strengths to Work by Marcus Buckingham.

Be conscious of your problem preferences. i.e. problems you tend to gravitate towards because this plays to your strengths. Will this serve you in your new role? Similarly, be leery of blind spots. For example, do you hate dealing with political HR problems? If so, you need to find a trusted advisor to help with this. While in the early stages of your career, you, like most, naturally build up a network of technically savvy advisors (hard skills). However, as you continue up the ladder, you need to identify advisors with soft skills in political council and personal advice.

Get set…

3. The first timbit of street creds you should target earning is planning your transition and sharing the plan with your manager. The plan should contain goals for each of these periods:

  • Before you start
  • End of the first day (if you have control over this)
  • End of the first week
  • End of the first month
  • End of month 2
  • End of month 3

Admittedly the plans will be sketchy as we don’t know what we don’t know about the new firm, but you’re demonstrating that you’re not taking the “go with the flow” approach.

4. Whether you like it or not, some people will not like you being at the company/department. There may be those who applied for the job themselves, recommended another candidate, or staff members themselves being transitioned to your new umbrella.


This phase is a journey, not a destination. Be constantly sure you’re engaging in the right issues.  Stay tuned for the next blog…

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