by CareerActually contributor, Les Emery

Change management – one of those ‘management speak’ terms used in the corporate sector, that often conjures up images of suited experts coming into an organisation looking for ‘efficiencies’ that may or may not lead to some staff being shown the exit door. However, change management has a more valuable and practical side to it that can be a very useful addition to the tool-kit of people who are looking for career change.

To paraphrase an article about the Change Curve on the Mind Tools website (a great resource if you haven’t already visited it):

Here’s a scenario that may be familiar if you’ve been a career changer yourself and/or worked with people who are wanting to do this – you’ve invested time and dollars in your qualifications; gained experience on the job to expand your skill set; and achieved things in your career that have given you great satisfaction and made a difference.

What do you do though when there is a sense that it is ‘time to move on’? It may not be as simple as moving to a new employer, a new challenge or a new job. What if a more fundamental career adaptation, change or personal transition is needed? How do you do this?

Significant change for individuals, like organisations, won’t be initiated through new systems, structures or processes. Moving to a new job in a very different environment and where business is conducted in a different way, may be the sort of career change that will work for you … but then again it may not. The fundamental driver for successful career change will require a focus on the patterns of your behaviour.

behaviour 2

Over a period of time, it is likely that your mindset and behaviours have adapted to suit the particular career that you have been pursuing. But if you want to strike out in a different direction or take your career to a different level then it will be important to challenge these mindsets and behaviours if your move is to be successful. Patterns of behaviour are the hardest to change because there are a number of ingredients that must be successfully blended together:

  • Vision – what do you hope to achieve by making a career change; what is the ‘ideal’ that you are striving for?
  • Skills – do you have the adaptability, self-belief and resilience to make a change?
  • Incentive – what is your motivation and reward for making a change?
  • Resource – are you prepared to invest time in the change process?
  • Action plan – what’s your ‘plan of attack’; how are you going to make things happen?

All of these ingredients together make it more likely that your career change will be a successful personal transition. But if any one of them is missing the equation may look quite different for you:

  • No vision = confusion
  • No skills = anxiety
  • No incentive = minimal or gradual change
  • No resource = frustration
  • No action plan = false start

This well-known video shows how patterns of behaviour can change through a combination of vision, skill, incentive, resource and action.

So change your behaviour for the better, and have fun with career change!