We know that moving firms can be a great way to progress your career. It’s also not without risk and many lateral moves, despite the best intentions, go wrong. We've partnered with Heather Townsend to produce a series of webinars to help you with the transitions.
Changing firms can be a great way of accelerating your career progression. With so many lateral hires leaving before two years into the role, Heather Townsend, co-author of ‘How to make partner and still have a life’, explores the six essential things you must do to set yourself up right in your next role.
1. Exit gracefully from your previous role
The world of professional services is small. Everyone seems to know everyone. Therefore, you can’t afford to let a bad impression develop when you leave your soon-to-be former firm. If you are not put immediately on gardening leave, then make sure you do a full and complete handover before you leave. Remain professional always and aim to leave your relationships at your old firm strong and healthy. You may never know when you will need your former colleagues help again!
2. Clarity expectations of what you have been hired to achieve
Most so-called poor or bad hires are because of a mismatch in expectations between the individual and the hiring manager. Therefore, take the time to dig and explore what you have been hired to do. This can change between offer time and the day you join, so make sure that you are have an on-going dialogue with your new line manager about what you are expected to do when you join.
3. Build up a strong internal firm network
Your future career prospects and effectiveness in your new role are highly dependent on how well you build a strong internal firm network. Remember that your new role technically starts on the day you accept the job offer. There is no need to wait until your first day in the role to meet your new work colleagues. In your conversations with your new line manager find out how will be your key stakeholders and aim to have met them or spoken to them before your first day in the role.
4. Identify what will be different for you in your new role
It can be very easy to take all the problems of our previous role with us to our new role Starting a new role gives you the opportunity to change how you work and when you work. You effectively get a clean slate when you start working for a new firm. In fact, the first 90 days in a role will set the pattern for how you work for this firm. After this point your working hours and style are pretty much fixed. However, most people take their bad habits with them from firm to firm without ever stopping to think about what they will do differently at their new firm. Therefore, before you start do a list of the things you want to change in your new role. What are you going to do to make this happen?
5. Find out how things work around here
Every firm has a unique culture. Part of what you need to do in your first few weeks in the role is get immersed in the culture and find out ‘how to get things done around here’. What do you need to do or behave like to achieve your objectives? There will often be an acceptable way and an unacceptable way. For example, is it more important to emphasise ‘we’ or ‘I’ in your achievements? Is working from home encouraged or frowned upon?
6. Rebuild your personal career plan
Starting a new role in a new firm is a good time to rethink your personal career plan. After all, you don’t want to take the mistakes of the past with you. What do you want to achieve in the next 3 years? What needs to happen to achieve this? Your career plan needs to answer these (and more) questions.
To set yourself up for success in your new firm have clarity on what your new firm expects from you, establish a strong internal firm network and understand ‘how to get things done’ in your new firm.
Heather Townsend is the co-author of ‘‘How to make partner and still have a life’. She is the global expert in what it takes to make partner in a professional practice. In the last year her and her team of coaches have helped 7 people make partner, and worked with clients from all the major continents of the world.