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Leave your old job behind

You have to free yourself from your previous job to be able to perform at the top of your game in the new one.

india Updated: Sep 05, 2006 20:20 IST

You walk into the office Monday morning to a round of hearty handshakes and congratulations on your promotion.

It's the kind of opportunity you have been working towards your entire career: a chance to help move your company into new markets and launch new products. It's a position of true influence and leadership. And, if you are successful, even bigger things could be on the horizon.

Everything is great, right? Well, it could be - but only if you make it so. In many organisations, receiving a promotion is only the first step in leaving one job and entering another.

Indeed, some of us never quite manage to leave behind many of the responsibilities we had in our "old job". Some organisations, particularly smaller ones that are in fast-growth mode, aren't always very good at this part of an employee's ascent.

Bosses, who focus intently on helping the company meet aggressive growth targets, would rather not worry about which person is going to take care of the important tasks you were responsible for before your promotion - it would just be so easy that it continues to be you.

But that would not work. If you don't free yourself from your old job, you'll never be able to perform at the top of your game in your new one. Thus, in your new position, make the number one priority a successful transfer of your old responsibilities to the colleague or people best suited to handle those.

There are as many ways to go about this transition as there are circumstances and personalities within organisations, but the following five key thinking points will help root out the best approach:

--- Is there a viable candidate for your previous position "as is"? In your department or unit, is there anyone who is well suited to move into the role you are vacating? If yes, seek that person out, gauge her interest and help position her to take over the mantle.

--- Is there a promising candidate who is not quite ready for the full job? If so, what can you do to help that individual switch into your last role? If you think that this person needs six months to fully take over, would you be willing and able to retain some form of executive oversight of this person to help ease him into his new position?

--- Could your former responsibilities be dispersed effectively among several employees? This may not provide quite as clean and easy a break as tapping a single successor, but, in some cases, it's a more realistic option, especially if the company doesn't want to recruit any additional employees. In this scenario, you will need to think about how your old responsibilities can be "naturally" apportioned. For instance, if you are in sales, this may mean reassigning different clients or groups of clients to different people. Or perhaps each of the units you manage could be given to a different colleague.

--- Can you carry some things forward and leave others behind? When there is no clear organisational plan to employ a replacement for your vacated post, perhaps the most realistic approach is for you to decide which tasks you can effectively carry forward and which must be transitioned elsewhere. What are the things that you have been doing that will fit well with what you will be doing now? Can you keep a few of them without causing undue pressure?

--- How will you sell your plan? In any of the scenarios above, you are affecting those around you - maybe your boss most of all. Think carefully about the rationale for whatever approaches you propose, and have a step-by-step plan at the ready.

Courtesy: New York Times Syndicate