• Priya Venkatesan

How to know it's time for a career pivot?



Some of us are guided by "move-away" Meta-program (meta process of the mind).

We know what we don't want/ don't like.

When the external situation crosses our tolerance limit, we would like to experiment with change.

Avoiding a bad outcome is what drives us.


A few of us prefer "move-towards" meta-program identifying what we want to move to.

Going towards a better outcome is the driving force of change.


The difference between both is the difference between being motivated by fear Vs love.

By far, marketing swears that the strongest available motivation that ever exists is fear.

However, entrepreneurship vouches for the latter.


What does this have to do with career pivots?


Some of my clients want to pivot when things are not going well. They are stuck and don't see options of growth.They want to get out of a rut. They do learn in retrospect, that the pivots made at this time are harder and are not to their liking a few years hence.


And then there are others who make the pivot when they are doing extremely well.

Everything around them is looking good. They have a plan for growth and they are executing well.

And yet they do a career pivot to a new industry, geography, role, nature of work etc.

They do take a while to process loss, once they do they are in a different trajectory.


Mark Leslie, a Lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business talked about when is the ideal time for Opportunity driven leaders in a start up to pivot in his article The Arc of Life.


He mentions that the right time to Pivot is at the Sweet Spot of Optionality - the place when there is no need to pivot its completely optional, and the organisation is on a a growth path.


Picture Courtesy: The Arc of Life, Mark Leslie



So what's the right time to pivot? If you are not in a situation of unsolicited change and not in time pressure to change, these are a few guidelines to experiment with:

  1. When your career is going well.

  2. You have a growth path.

  3. You still have un-leveraged strengths that need expression.

  4. Your current work looks too good to move away.

  5. There is something more you want to do.

  6. Any move seems to be risky.

  7. You have conviction in something bigger than you.


How do you know when to do a career pivot?



Interesting read: The day after tomorrow, Peter Hinssen


#coaching #leadershipcoaching #executivecoaching #careerpivot.


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