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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.


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

John, UK

Olympic Rower   ->  Senior Policy Analyst, WaterAid

By the time John went to Cambridge University, he was already a national champion rower at schoolboy level, and had experienced different racing conditions all over Europe.  By his second year at Cambridge, he was a member of the British team. His rise was swift and he says it was this momentum which helped him grasp at every new opportunity. John went on to combine a career, first in the city for a merchant bank and then in the civil service while training full-time for the national squad. 

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Ricardo, Spain

Sales, marketing, business development executive   ->  Founder of wine business, marketing consultant

More than 25 years in increasingly senior roles in multinationals based in the United States gave Ricardo ample financial security. The downside was a general anxiety and malaise linked to the heavy responsibilities he bore in a cutthroat corporate environment, where he felt the rug could be pulled from under him at any time. At first, he enjoyed the glamour of international travel, but grew tired of spending his life on a plane. He also discovered that his global network largely failed him in his home country, Spain, as local head hunters never thought of him. Eventually, an executive programme rekindled his dormant interest in entrepreneurship. Ricardo soon turned to friends and an increasingly broad network in search of the idea.

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Christina, Germany

Partner, The Boston Consulting Group   ->  Executive VP, Family- Owned Industrial Company

Christina, a 22-year veteran of the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) underwent a huge shift in career when she joined one of the largest family-owned companies in Europe. As a partner, with many high-powered clients, and some fascinating internal roles, Christina never expected to leave consulting, though she had occasionally considered the option. She enjoyed the intellectual stimulation, rarefied atmosphere and the interaction with significant leaders across industries and cultures. After a chance encounter with the chairman of this company, she was offered a C-level position and took the lead of the automobile unit of the company, about which she knew little.

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Priya, India

Captain, Indian Army   ->  Manager HR, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance

Priya’s five-year military stint kicked off with a posting to Leh, a remote station in the Himalayas. At age 21, she was not only the youngest person there by nearly 25 years but also the only female. She earned the respect of her colleagues by proving she could match them physically, while providing a mix of feminine empathy and supportiveness, to weave relationships of trust and confidence. Her time in the mountains continues to inform her experience in the business world. In fact, she says HR in the hospitality sector shares several key characteristics with her army life: grass-roots activities, largely untrained staff, and hectic unpredictability. The strongest wisdom Priya has covers her whole career: “It all boils down to how you treat people. You mentor others, so that you are free to develop yourself. Success breeds success.”

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Iona, United Kingdom

European equity analyst in investment banks   ->  Landscape Architect

Iona encountered fewer obstacles on her journey. Raised in the Scottish Highlands, she frequently travelled with her family, developing an appreciation for local cultures and languages. An exchange year in France and a gap year in Australia later convinced her that she needed to make a lot of money to finance her wanderlust. So she decided on a career in investment banking in London.  She first took a junior role on the trading floor at Goldman Sachs, before joining another bank, selling European equities. She loved the constant travel, the glamorous clients and the bright people around her. However, after seven years, the finance world started shifting. As the environment became far less pleasant, she reconsidered her options.

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Devendra, India

Colonel, Indian Army   ->  Director /Chief General Manager, Transportation Company

As one of three brothers in an Indian “army family”, Devendra, now CEO of a French multinational, was destined to go into the military. After graduating from the military academy with top honors, he began a thriving career encompassing both combat roles and UN peacekeeping missions in Africa. In 2004, as a young colonel, Devendra was asked to raise a new unit, which he now compares to a start-up business with venture capital funding. Unlike most of his colleagues, who aimed to spend their entire careers in the army, Devendra started to crave a new challenge once he had served the obligatory 20 years. For him, the critical question was “When was the last time you did something for the first time?” When he realized it had been so long that memory failed him, he decided to reinvent himself as a business leader.

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