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Disrupt Your Career

How to Navigate Uncharted Career Transitions and Thrive

By Antoine Tirard and Claire Lyell

Paperback, 310 pages

Publisher: Lulu Publishing Services

 

Professionals face many critical crossroads in their careers, sometimes unpredictable, sometimes more expected, but for which they were often not truly prepared.

This book discusses many such career transitions – from leaving a corporation to joining a non-profit, evolving from athlete to executive, or returning to a former employer.

Using the stories of 50 leaders interviewed all over the world, the authors describe what provokes the change, the challenges it creates, how the individual is surviving the transition, and what effective leaders do to navigate and grow from it.

The book offers a simple, easy-to-use framework to help make the most of any uncharted transition. To thrive, you have to follow a four-stage process of Exploring, Experimenting, Engaging and Expanding. Drawing on examples of a wide range of companies, Disrupt Your Career also provides recommendations to help organizations better acquire, develop and retain talent.

With both compelling stories and rigorous research, Disrupt Your Career serves as a call to exploit novel ways to approach careers and presents practical advice to help both individuals and organizations better prepare, manage, and make the most of career changes – ultimately leading to more fulfilling careers.

Authors

Antoine Tirard is a talent management advisor and the founder of NexTalent. He is the former head of talent management of Novartis and LVMH.

Claire Harbour-Lyell is a coach and global talent expert, the founder of Culture Pearl and a speaker, consultant and writer about all things to do with optimizing talent across borders.

What People Are Saying

Stories from Career Changers

Anne, France

Ballet dancer   ->  VP of Institutional Advancement at Cornish College of the Arts

At age 10, Anne had to be pushed up the stairs to her ballet school, kicking and screaming, so resistant was she to being forced back into ballet classes. She had spent the previous years becoming the junior ice skating champion of Ivory Coast during her family’s expatriation there and did not appreciate being “dumped” in a dance school, just because there was no local ice rink. However, it took less than a year for her to become hooked, and the grit and determination she had developed on the ice in Abidjan paid its dividends. Her artistic talent motivated her teachers to send her to audition at the prestigious Paris National Conservatory. Her parents allowed her to take up the place on condition that she maintained excellent grades in her academic work.

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Greg, USA

Director of Business, Development Executive, Programs, Business School   ->  Director of Corporate Relations & Market Development, Business School

Greg certainly found that the personal relationships and “clan” at a well-known East Coast business school were a constant link, as he wove back and forth, in and out of this great school. His description of his path is quite different to that of some of the others here, as what he mentions most is how there was a lot of serendipity involved in his long career, that “just happens” to include multiple moves in and out of the school. As a young MBA in 1975, Greg’s first job was on the MBA Admissions Committee for his university. He had chosen this role not least because he just could not see himself taking a more traditional MBA route like consulting at McKinsey or trading options on Wall Street.

Henna, USA

Marketing and innovation executive   ->  Board director, Engro Corporation

Based in the United States, Henna had already left the corporate environment several years earlier and had just published a highly successful book, so the demands on her time were high. However, she agreed to meet the chairman of the board during his business visit to the U.S. She summarized the meeting’s outcome in this way: “I arrived curious, and went away inspired, and wanting to do it!” She was fascinated by the vision of the chairman. He aimed to be the very best employer in Pakistan and to grow world-class talent. Henna felt that, by agreeing to take on the role, she was “doing the right thing for her birth country”.

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Steve, USA

Marketing & Account Management, Advertising   ->  First Grade Teaching, Elementary School

Steve looks very much like the classic case of an encore actor. He had spent his entire career in the advertising industry, mostly in New York, where he eventually led media departments. He lapped up the glamour, the rush and the pressure of his industry. However, when he and his wife decided to seek out a calmer place in which to raise a family, he took a role as account director in a large Chicago firm. Three firms and hectic roles later, when their twins were born, Steve decided to go part-time in order to help out on the home front. He was, as he admits, starting to feel burnout anyway. It was clear to him that spending more time with family was a greater priority than selling more advertising.

Helen, Australia

Legal, risk and finance executive   ->  Board director in four companies

With a background in law, risk and compliance, Helen obtained her first non-executive director role in Australia three years ago via her networks. According to her, networking is the best way to get into board membership, as well as a skill that remains critical through an entire boardroom career. What drew Helen in was recognizing that she simply loved building strong businesses. As she says, non-executive roles are “the ultimate backstop of an organisation”. She finds the challenge fascinating and energizing, but adds that the liabilities that sit with non-executive directors are significant and can make one pause for breath. Helen recalls her first board meeting: “It was terrifying! I was very conscious I was the youngest person in the room, and the only female. I felt that I had insufficient experience compared to the others at the table.”

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Michael, United States

Senior global marketing roles in consumer goods, entertainment and tech industries   ->  Software Engineer at Pear Therapeutics

Growing up in a military family, Michael moved more than 30 times around the world and the U.S. After getting a degree in economics and an MBA, he worked for many years as a marketer at Kraft Foods. He even did a stint as a professional rock musician, gaining local fame in New York, while keeping his day job. Marriage to a screenwriter brought Michael to the West Coast, where he first worked for Mattel. Later he was the global marketing lead of The Sims franchise at Electronic Arts. Living in San Francisco, he inevitably heard the call of the start-up and became CMO of a fledgling robotics firm, then the co-founder of a mobile app start-up. That was when he realised the importance of proper coding skills. In fundraising meetings, investors kept asking, “Can you code?”

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