How to transition roles the strengths way – Podversation

This week’s podcast is a big one.

It’s a podversation with the new Managing Director of Strengthscope, David Lincoln. Yes, you heard that right, David will be the new Managing Director of Strengthscope from October 19th (my birthday) and I will transition formally into the sole role of Founder rather than Founder and MD.

My name’s Dr Paul Brewerton, the strengths guy, Founder of Strengthscope and bringer of science to help you upgrade your work life and your life life with practical tips from the world of positive psychology. My podcasts are released each Monday to set you up for the strongest week ahead.

This week we’re talking about how you can transition into a new role using strengths principles by:

  1. Knowing where you’ve come from and what got you here
  2. Being clear on your outcomes
  3. Bringing your strengths with you
  4. Managing your greatest risks
  5. Getting support for the transition



Knowing where you’ve come from and what got you here

Whenever you make a role transition, it’s really helpful to take stock. Look back at where you’ve been and work out what got you to the point in your career where you’re ready to make the new move.

My story is that I’ve always loved three things:

  • helping people
  • turning science into practical tools
  • scaling that by building businesses

Those three loves led me to start my first business while I was completing my PhD which focused on culture change and leadership development. I ran that business for 13 years in all but about 7 years into that journey, in 2006, I set up Strengthscope. With a business partner, we set about building a method for helping people understand what they gained most energy from at work. I’ve had a LOT of learning from this experience, including:

  • the challenges of being one of two joint MDs
  • the resilience you need to bring something new into a market which isn’t ready (it is ready now BTW)
  • what it really takes to globalise a business
  • how you can’t please all the people all the tim

Being clear on your outcomes

Next up is that when you’re moving into a new role, you’ve got to be clear on what you’re being asked to do. As a business, we’re pretty clear on that:

Our vision (the change we want to see in the world) is to enable all humans to embrace their uniqueness and change their lives for the better.

Our mission (how we do that) is to reveal the unique strengths of people across the world, enabling then to bring their most authentic and inspired selves to work and to life every day.

In my new role I have 6 key outcomes on my Job Description. I’ll talk about three though:

  • Continuing to develop the philosophy and practical application of strengths and Strengthscope® with the customer as the focus
  • Leveraging the value of being a figurehead and advocate for Strengthscope as a product and business via marketing and comms platforms
  • Producing content which can be used to drive up interest in the company

There’s a real difference between the two roles, meaning we shouldn’t tread on each other’s toes – MUCH. That clarity of what we’ll each be doing is essential for us to stay focused and motivated and be clear on our role purpose.

I was with a coaching client this week who has just stepped into one of the biggest global roles in his organisation. One of the things we talked about was being clear on expectations from the business, from your new boss and what the objectives and expected outcomes of your role actually are. You might think you know. But, being crystal-clear is essential if you’re going to point your strengths and skills towards something concrete and valuable.

Bringing your strengths with you

One of the things we know about strengths is that making a conscious choice to bring them with you into a new environment (including a new job role) means you can get started on a strong footing from day one. You can feel confident that, while you may not know quite what’s going to face you, at least you know what strengths you can call on.

Strengthscope - Strategic Mindedness

For me, I want to bring into play my Strategic mindedness so that I keep the business’s big picture in focus and not get sucked into detail. Also, my Leading strength. Specifically as a figurehead and business owner, not as an MD day-to-day type leader but focusing on the vision, the why of the business.

Strengthscope - Collaboration

Thirdly, I want to play to my Collaboration strength with my main stakeholder being the customer. By understanding what our customers want and need I can help ensure that’s what we’re delivering.

Managing your greatest risks

As well as your strengths being a great asset in a new role, another area it’s essential to be prepared for is to manage your risks. Starting a new role brings quite a bit of pressure as you get to grips with new responsibilities, colleagues, work environment, processes and so on. Knowing which of your strengths might tip into overdrive under that additional pressure is super-important. As is knowing what might get in the way of your performance because it’s just going to drain and demotivate you. Once you’ve worked that out, put some strategies in place to make sure you don’t get caught out.

My challenges will be to continue to follow process and to champion and role model that because my Efficiency strength is LOOOOW. I need to keep my Critical thinking close to hand and not allow my Optimism to get into overdrive particularly when we go through challenging times.

As Founder and owner, I know there is a risk that my trust in the strength of my team may mean I’m not vigilant enough to see big risks coming so that’s a watchout.

Last one is a personal challenge which is to step into my own impact and get the most from it on behalf of the business and our mission. I can downplay myself and my contribution and while I’m sure that might be quite endearing, there will be times when it won’t be helpful. Stepping it up and owning it are going to be essential in my new role.

So that’s knowing our strengths and bringing them and understanding our risks and limiting them. What about making sure we’re sufficiently well supported?

Getting support for the transition

Starting a new role can feel lonely and while you might be surrounded by people, it can sometimes feel a little isolating. Having a strong support network around you will give you the confidence that you got this.

For me, I have a mentor who can give me a proper helicopter view of my role and how I can best play that role, as well as hooking that into business priorities.

I have a partner who gives me great support and challenge whenever I’m faced with something I’m uncertain about and need space to consider my options.

I have a counsellor who is there to cover the emotional side of change for me.

I have several coaches, who help to provoke my thinking and help me find my own solutions. And very importantly, I also have David. Working together over the past year has really given me confidence that we can manage this transition pretty seamlessly. It’s also given me confidence that if we run into any challenges we can talk about them openly and get them sorted.

So we’ve talked about knowing where you’ve come from and where you’re going. Being clear on your outcomes. The strengths you’re taking with you, the risks you’ll watch out for and the support you’ll have around you. And that is how to do role transition the strengths way.

I hope you’ve found this useful and taken away some practical tips. Till next time, stay strong.

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