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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

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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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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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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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.

Arup, India

Entrepreneur & CEO, Textile Business  ->  Co-Founder, Tomorrowʼs Foundation

Arup comes from a family of philanthropists, his uncle having worked alongside Mahatma Gandhi, so it was no surprise to find him volunteering with Mother Teresa as a high school student in his native Calcutta. While he worked with “Mother”, as he calls her, his strength of character and resolve emerged, as he raised the idea of schooling children, in addition to feeding them. She actually resisted quite strongly before agreeing to let Arup set up a system to get children considered “low-caste” into local public schools, despite their “untouchable” status in India. From this initiative the Tomorrow’s Foundation emerged, an NGO committed to improving children’s welfare, and exists to this day, though at the outset Arup’s role was chiefly that of instigator and financier.

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Chris, UK

Account Management, Grey Advertising  ->  Chief Executive, Whale and Dolphin Conservation

Chris, the chief executive of Whale and Dolphin Conservation praises the power of the “trisector” area. Formerly of the Royal Air Force and Grey Advertising, he advocates for more ventures across sectors, leveraging skills to create opportunities for all. He believes those who can collaborate across the private, public and social sectors will increasingly be valued.

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In the news


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December 2019 A conversation with Adrian Choo, Founder and CEO of Career Agility, and author of Career Crossroads.

Seven Ways to Overcome the Fear of Making a Career Change

October 2019 Bold new professional aspirations often freeze us in our tracks.

How Dual-Career Couples Make it Work

October 2019 A conversation with Jennifer Petriglieri, Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour at INSEAD, author of Couples that Work.
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