Research Summary Findings

Transition Expertise

Research project findings on career transitions amongst expert performers
Christopher Connolly, PhD

The Findings

Transition Expertise consists of  a range of specific skills, abilities and attributes within five fundamental areas of human performance-related behaviour that support successful career transitions (as well as general performance). Briefly, these are:

  • The importance of the cognitive flexibility that interrupts automatisation, reductive simplifications and functional limitations in thinking that inhibit the transfer of knowledge and experience.
  • The specific kinds of generative intelligence – especially induction, inference and analogy – that enable individuals to generalise expertise across domains and career positions.
  • The role of intrinsic motivation  when used in career choices and decisions to enable successful transitions and sustain performance in difficult times.
  • How the use of intrapersonal intelligence vs. interpersonal intelligence evolves and is used differently over the course of a career.
  • How personality resiliency is developed to ensure that individuals will be less vulnerable, less attached to counter-productive self-beliefs and less defensive of their outdated identifications.

The Applications

The findings of this study have considerable impact and are readily applicable in areas that are important for career transitions, staff retention, leadership and performance optimisation.

  1. Assessment. A very clear profile – the TEP – now exists which can be used at any time to assess individuals who are or will be making a career progression or move.
  2. Executive coaching. The coaching of individuals who are changing roles or being promoted can be systematic, data driven, stage specific and individually designed. A targeted coaching strategy can be implemented to assure a successful transition will be achieved.
  3. Talent management. Since this research provides a comprehensive profile of transition expertise, programmes can be designed to both identify and develop high potential candidates in a talent pool.
  4. Leadership. Leaders can recognise the abilities and build the skills required for effective change and transitions within their teams and when integrating new team members. This will sustain the resource pool of their organisation.

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