Newly Corporate

Work, life and the pursuit of happiness for the young professional.

6 Secrets to Successful Transitions

Transition Transitions are a crucial time in any career and, if Generation Y continues it’s frequent job changes, it will be more important to our generation than any other. The process of ending one job and moving to the next determines how the people in your old role will view you after you have left, and how your new coworkers will see you as you start in the next position.

Due to the fact that I am in a rotational leadership program, I have had the opportunity to transition between jobs or roles three times already (every 6 months), not to mention the transitions I made between the internships I had in college. Here are a few steps to perform before and after your transition to encourage success:

Before you switch roles/jobs

1. Have an official “wrap-up” or transition meeting. Whether moving from job to job, or just between roles, you need to lay everything out explicitly or the following events may occur:
a) The project(s) you are transitioning will fail
b) You will be blamed.
c) The work you leave behind will take longer

2. Give credit where credit is due. Not just to those who worked for you or with you by thanking them or rewarding them with gift certificates or bonuses but, give your manager(s) credit if they were good leaders. The best way I have found to thank managers this is through a recommendation on Linkedin.com and a personal note. You often cannot reward them or give them a bonus but, you can give them a reminder of your appreciation for good management that everyone can read.

3. Have an informal happy hour or party before you leave. (Note: this should be a party to celebrate your role in the project, not something that you aren’t invited to that celebrates the fact you are leaving :-) This type of an informal meeting can be really helpful in that people will give you feedback in an informal setting that you may not have gotten through formal feedback methods. If some people have a little too happy of an hour, take some of their feedback with a grain of salt. This environment also helps you build relationships with those have worked with that are more likely to last than just coworker bonds.

After you transition to your new role

1. Have an official kickoff meeting with all of your new stakeholders. This is crucial to establishing yourself in the group and gaining the contacts you need to succeed in your new role. Many people would say this is a no-brainer but, you would be surprised how many people just try to start working and create more work for themselves by not getting everyone together at the beginning.

2. Don’t get discouraged, keep reaching out. Often times when I switched roles I felt discouraged and almost lost. The task at hand seemed bigger than I could handle. It wasn’t, but I needed to reach out to get everything under control. You need support for any change you drive. As you get more information and more help from others, everything comes in to focus. Build your contacts and stay in touch as you move through your new role.

3. Stay in touch with the people from your old role and help them if they need it! I still get questions and email from my old roles (not as many because I had an official hand off meeting), you can’t ignore them and give them lines about being in your new role or you will burn bridges. Instead of solving their problem yourself (and possibly getting behind in your current role), connect them to someone who can help them and give them some tips. Most often they are just so used to having you they reach out to you first and are happy to get an answer.

Also, if you are moving for your new role, don’t forget how to survive corporate long distance relationships. If you have had experience transitioning, what are your secrets to a successful transition?

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3 Comments

  1. Great advice, Brandon. When I took my new rotation, I did similar things. The only thing I might add from my personal experience, is treat every rotation (or new assignment) like an on-the-job interview. That way, you are constantly challenging yourself to be on your toes and performing your best.

    I see the person who replaces me as a reflection of myself. If I don’t train them well, and they still need developed in certain areas, it could look bad on me.

    If your replacement isn’t as strong as you, and others know you trained your replacement well, provided them with all the tools that they need, and are available to help them as they are just getting started, you will still stand out as a leader and great employee. Just be careful you don’t carry others on your back as you are starting a new position.

  2. These are good ideas, Brandon.

    I’d suggest actually creating a checklist for doing a transition as we all learn from each transition we make.

    For example:

    Personal e-mail addresses from previous roles (for networking purposes)

    Financial transitions like 401(k) (if you move to a different company, all of these need to be handled)

    etc.

    If you keep a checklist and refer to it as each transition is made, you’ll become more effective with each iteration of the work.

    Great post!

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