In a recent panel discussion at The Executive Roundtable about switching gears and changing careers mid-path, Colleen Albiston, Global Head of Tax Marketing for KPMG memorably stated that she focuses on turnarounds, new growth and marketing change…adding “I’m not your maintenance gal…” Colleen comes from a place of truly knowing where she adds value, and where she can do her best work. I love this very real and honest self-appraisal of what she is and isn’t about. Very Buckingham-like.
When considering a change in role, Colleen urged the movers and shakers in the room to be absolutely clear what is expected, what changes the business really needs (not just what the say they want). Help the leaders get past their ‘planitudes’ (it is written in the plan, therefore it is…) and into the reality of what the changes are going to mean for them and their teams.
I confess, I subscribe to the Colleen Albiston school of thinking. I would far rather move mountains; take on big challenges; shine a light on what needs to change and what the implications of change might mean; go into a tough situation with eyes wide open; than step into an established role with a clear set of guidelines and benchmarked success rules to follow. Maybe I’m a glutton for punishment but that’s just my bag. Its the explorer in me – I have a propensity for change that flies off the scale in most psychometric tests!
Now, don’t get me wrong. I fully respect and honour tradition, legacy and the wisdom of time-tested methods, as long as they remain relevant and adaptive to new circumstances. “Survival of the fittest” was an idea founded in successful adaptation to changing environments rather than change for the sake of it. A successfully adaptive organism may remain unchanged for many years provided the environment remains the same.
In the same discussion, the other panelists offered equally insightful perspectives on shifting (or staying true to) career focus… check here for a summary of the key takeaways…