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09 Apr, 2019

Event Recap: Navigating Career Changes Like a Boss

Jehan Samhat

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Event Recap  
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Read time: 1 minute, 43 seconds

Workplace and career transitions are a natural part of an employee’s career path. Whether it’s an internal or external transition into a new role, workplace changes are an inevitable (and exciting!) stepping stone in one’s professional life. In this session, “Navigating Career Changes Like a Boss,” sponsored by GHT Limited, we learned how to effectively conquer challenges of a new role within your initial three-month period, a pivotal time for starting a new role across all levels of an organization.

Led by Karen Cotton of HITT Contracting and Susan Dawson of GHT Limited, the session was informed by the book, The First 90 Days by Michael Watkins. Regardless of experience level, attendees left the session understanding how to:

  1. Establish integrity and trustworthiness early
  2. Learn about your organization
  3. Avoid transition traps
  4. Earn respect and build camaraderie with your team and company leaders
  5. Secure “early wins” and discover improvements you can rapidly make to boost morale and build support


By reaching each objective listed above within this 90-day period, you’ll hit your “breakeven point” in the company – where you have contributed as much value to the organization as you have consumed from it. The book spells out how to be a value-add to your organization and how to achieve this breakeven point. While each organization operates differently, key ingredients to reach the breakeven point are time, dedication, patience, and realistic expectations.

Karen and Susan’s presentation took us through the book’s ten-step process, sharing their own experiences and offering real examples of how to effectively manage a situation. The ten steps are:

  1. Prepare Yourself – get an early idea of what “leadership presence” looks like in your new role
  2. Accelerate Learning – understand what you need to learn, why things are done the way they are, and how you will jumpstart your strategy
  3. Match Strategy to Situation – realize what kind of change you are expected to lead and what kind of change leader you are
  4. Negotiate Success – set realistic expectations and ensure you have the resources to do your job well
  5. Secure Early Wins – plan and prioritize so you develop a strategy and actionable plan that aligns with long-term business objectives
  6. Achieve Alignment – strategize to put your team in the best position possible
  7. Build Your Team – assess your existing team, figure out the best roles for each person, and establish new processes to promote teamwork
  8. Create Alliances – forge relationships with people that you have no direct authority over and connect with key stakeholders
  9. Manage Yourself – ensure that you are taking care of yourself so you can focus and be the best asset to your organization
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