How to combine career disruption with strategy

As a career coach, who is a strong advocate for both men and women to create strategic plans for their careers,  I listened attentively to Whitney Johnson, author of Dare, Dream Do  at a recent 3Plus Mini-Coaching session “Dare to Disrupt.” Career disruption comes in many forms:  mergers, takeovers, bad bosses, new bosses, downsizing, up-scaling,  marriage, parenthood, re-location, health issues, transfers,  job loss to name some. What is important is how these changes can be harnessed positively. Although, sometimes we want to disrupt ourselves,  simply because we want change.

So how can we combine disruption and planning?

Whitney said ” When you are disrupting, you are discovery-driven, searching for a yet-to-be-defined market. Having a strategic plan implies that you know where you want to go, which presumably you can plot on a map. Your approach when you are disrupting must be discovery-driven; learning, gathering feedback, adapting.”

Krista has been disrupted. Changes on the political landscape following the recent European Parliament elections where the existing candidate was not voted back,  means that she has career disruption with a new boss. Political relationships are based on personal chemistry and she worries her services will no longer be retained in the new order. As a fall back position she has approached her previous employer who could offer her a role at a much lower level. She is at a crossroads: carry on with the disruption with the new boss or go back to a comfort zone? Clearly she should approach the new incumbent with a concrete strategy on how she can make the situation work, but with a Plan B in place in case it doesn’t. Preferably this will not involve back-sliding into an old, more junior position.

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Olivier has disrupted himself  Feeling restricted in his last role in the art world he wanted to broaden his horizons. Leveraging his artistic background he is studying an MBA with a focus on innovation. After some months of systematic research, a high number of informational interviews, coaching and networking,  he is now positioning himself in the design sector.

Jeff has been disrupted. A new boss and a re-organisation made him reflect on his work/life priorities. He decided to take his entitlement to three months paternity leave and use the time to change direction. Creating a plan for the year he accepted a redundancy package to work on his position and re-brand himself in a role in a new sector. He started his new job some months ago. Whitney adds  “it’s important that you have a plan for what you hope to learn and discover about the market that you are pursuing, and perhaps more importantly that you have a “why” for doing this, so that you stay the course rather than slipping back into the safety of the known”. So although it’s important to have an idea of your overall long-term goals both personal and professional, the fact that there is disruption just means that another type of plan is required to make that disruption effective and work for you.

So to quote Whitney again:

With thanks to Whitney Johnson. Check out her other thoughts on the 3Plus LinkedIn Group

One thought on “How to combine career disruption with strategy

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