Why Your DIfference Is Your Greatest Asset

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“If I leave my current industry / type of org / role and pivot into a different direction, I will have to start at a lower or – at best – the same level. I would first need to prove myself.”

Sounds familiar? It’s a common misconception.

And you know what? I call BS. Not only is it not true, it’s actually the exact opposite: when you have a different background, you bring EXTRA value. You can do more. Yes, in that new environment, you, with your different background, are of greater value to the new company.

Let me explain.

Ultimately, most of the work that we do, require skills that are transferable. Communication skills. Influencing. Relationship building. Etc.
(BTW, I used to joke that rocket science and brain surgery are the only exceptions to this rule, until I spoke to a NASA mathematician and a brain surgeon and they both said there wasn’t much specific knowledge to their roles.)

Plus, whatever little specific technical knowledge you must gather for a specific role – you’re smart, no? You will learn quick enough.

This means that when you start in a completely new field, type of org or role, at a minimum this should be a horizontal move vis-à-vis the place you left.

So that leaves us with the surplus of experience / knowledge you’re bringing from your past work history. And on top of that, you are bringing all the other things that make you, YOU: your passions. Your life experience. Etc.

THAT, my friend. That’s where the magic is. Adding all of that goodness in this new environment yields the most magnificent outcomes. Truly 1 + 1 = 3 situations.

Let me give you an example of my own experience. After leaving my role as a lawyer of one of the top firms in my native Netherlands, I landed a role as an HR director for a global company in Hong Kong, building the HR function in Asia.

I was hired in this totally different role because of my love for building things and my brain being wired as analytical and process-driven (as a lawyer). Plus my relationship-building qualities, and my strong communication skills, further helped me in succeeding in this role, working with many different stakeholders.

The fact that it was in HR, which I had never done before, was immaterial. The content, the technical aspects etc, were irrelevant to do well.

WINners take these steps all the time. A new location, a new field, a new type of organisation, a completely new role… AND a step up, like I did. Literally, all the time. In fact, we’ve now reached the point where a simple step up on the career ladder seems boring and I encourage my clients to explore other options, ha!

Remember: 1+ 1 can absolutely be 3.

It should be. That’s where the goodness is. Don’t deny the world your magic by making yourself small and making horizontal moves, or – please, no! – steps backwards. Go diagonally upwards in the direction of your dreams, okay?

If you need help with this, message me. Like I said: at WIN we do this very successfully. All. The. Time.


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