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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

Celia, UK

Military Doctor  ->  Photograph, area manager at an online health and wellness company

Celia has moved in and out of medicine since she began her career. She was always planning to be either a doctor or a vet, and eventually decided to opt for caring for humans, based on advice she received and found persuasive while attending a careers fair. She was supported through university medicine studies by the Royal Army Medical Corps, and thus her first house job was in a military hospital. Months more of such postings would have ensued, but the Gulf War broke out and army establishments became off limits to civilians, and she then transferred to a non-military role. This switch allowed her to reflect on her experience, and to recognize that her natural preference might not be for treating otherwise healthy young men, and that her talents in care could probably lead her in other directions, especially when it came to building rapport and more holistic approaches.

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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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Gayle, USA

Sales & Consulting, Hewlett- Packard  ->  Encore Fellow, Second Harvest Food Bank

Gayle started her career in IT sales. Her mother was a lifetime IBM-er, and Gayle grew up intending to avoid the same fate. However, after studying mathematics and computer science at UCSB in California, she accepted a job with HP.  She moved her way up rapidly, becoming a manager at 25, and joining the pioneering consulting arm of the company shortly thereafter. Global responsibilities came along, and she was extremely happy with her progress. Eventually, rapid changes at HP left her gradually more frustrated by the resulting culture. So when Gayle was offered a “phased” retirement at the age of 56, she accepted the offer. In her mind, however, her career was most definitely not over.

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Anand, India

CHRO, Chief Learning Officer, Sales & Marketing executive  ->  Adjunct Professor, Strategy and Leadership, IMT Ghaziabad

Anand, a self-confessed “hobby teacher” by the age of eleven, definitely showed all the signs of ending up in academia early on, even though by now, he looks for balance in his work. During his college years, Anand was the president of the India Youth Brigade, where he worked with teachers and leaders to serve the underprivileged through education, while studying for a BSc in Physics and Maths. He then went on to gain a computer science certification, in the early eighties, becoming one of the early entrants into the nascent Indian IT boom. Several years began of highly prestigious national and international companies’ training schemes and rapid progress, mixing IT with strategy, marketing and account management, thus he became early on an accomplished “all-rounder”.

André, The Netherlands

CIO, business development at Pon, Gartner  ->  Co-founder, Cambrian Technologies

Growing up in a comfortable, Dutch white-collar family did not predispose André to become an entrepreneur. His first job as a Volkswagen intern in Germany introduced him to the rigid and old-fashioned side of corporate life. After six months, he left to join a small company as its seventh employee, enjoying a great deal of freedom to create and innovate. Unfortunately, this company went under. This led André to do an MBA at INSEAD, after which he took a job at an international consultancy, for both the range of work and the regular pay he needed as a new father. However, he disliked the perspective of most of his clients and soon recognized that he was more of a doer than an advisor.

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Thomas, Germany

Consultant, McKinsey & Company  ->  CEO, Polychrome Europe

Thomas was a junior consultant at McKinsey, aged 30, having already operated as sales director, finance director and even member of the executive committee, in a French steel company for Northern Europe. This was a time when McKinsey was moving towards more work in implementation of strategy, and so Thomas was of great interest to them, having a strategic brain and a top MBA, as well as deep experience of a significant industry. As clients got to know of his existence, they started demanding to work with him, as he was the one who had real experience, as opposed to most of the other career consultants. He found it intellectually stimulating but he realized that it is easy to tell such leaders what to do, but far harder to make it happen. He was missing the implementation!

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