Those who really know me will understand the side of my personality which seeks adventure. It’s always been an aspect that pushes me further, constantly striving for better. This normally comes in the form of a sunny Sunday and two wheels, but recently I’ve been wondering how this comes into play at work. I’ve been through my fair share of internal transitions but was this because I was looking to replicate my sense of adventure, or was it aligned with my end goal?
In all honesty, there is probably an element of both. I’ve always known where I was heading within Lane4, because it’s something I’m truly passionate about, and accepting new challenges is something I enjoy. However, transitioning internally through multiple teams is never an easy feat, and it’s becoming increasingly common with an increase of temporary teams and agile work.
If I could go back in time and give myself some advice, I think there would be three key pieces
- Understand there will be ambiguity
Unfortunately, when it comes down to it, there is very little you can actually do to get around this one. You can have as many meetings, conversations and coffees as you like, but ultimately there will be elements to a new role that you just won’t know right away. But that’s OK. Focus on what you do know and be proactive in the areas that you don’t. An effective way to deal with this ambiguity is to remind yourself of the bigger picture or wider vision. Rationalise the reasons behind the move, how this can benefit you and make sure it is aligned with your goals. For me, I knew every move and transition I made, was one step closer in the right direction, and that perspective was important for me. It allowed me to be more comfortable in this ambiguity and stay grounded whilst I learned the ropes.
- Manage the balance
This is never easy and I’m not sure I’ve fully cracked it yet. The balance I’m referring to is between the team you have left behind and the team you are joining. It is important to accept the transition between the two may come with some personality challenges and culture changes but focusing on your current role and what it means to you, will make the move a little easier. Bringing your fresh initiative to team meetings, or the “outsiders’ perspective” helps you feel more engaged in the team, sharing your feedback throughout the day and aiming to do the best in your current role are all elements which will support the transition into a new team. Avoid being judgemental towards your previous team, and hone in on your current role, rather than reminiscing on what you have left behind can make all the difference.
- Keep conversations going
This is linked to managing the balance, but it’s specifically about communication. Internal transitions can often be a difficult time for both yourself and the team that you’re leaving. Be empathetic towards that and encourage a more unstructured approach to communication between colleagues. It really helps to remove the sense of being “cut off” from your previous team. Communication channels are very important within the workplace, even more so when experiencing a transition as they help you to talk through the transition with others and ensure you are confident in the changes you’re facing.
These tips are in no sense a ‘how to have a successful transition’, but they are tricks that have worked for me to make the process a little less challenging. Bear these in mind the next time you find yourself moving from one team to another, and they just might set you up for the success you’re looking for.