Changing Industry Sectors
Published July 31, 2014 - By Andrew Beccue
Transitioning to a different industry or sector affords the opportunity to take on a new challenge, grow professionally and make a difference. Successfully making the leap from say, a financial officer of a defense products manufacturer to one at an online retailer requires certain key qualities that help smooth the way for executive leaders crossing into new career territory.
Simply put, being good at what you do can translate quite easily across different types of businesses. Financial experience, strategic thinking and technology savvy are all valuable skills regardless of industry.
Working across different business units or leading cross-functional teams within the same industry or company can provide a solid foundation for a future sector change. International experience also has advantages, exposing individuals to different cultural experiences and requiring them to adapt to and appreciate new ways of thinking. In addition, involvement in joint ventures or acquisitions can also help lay the groundwork for an eventual move.
Previous expertise in a different sector can bring much-needed fresh perspective to a new role. However, messages can get lost without the ability to demonstrate strong leadership qualities, such as being able to evangelize and communicate new ideas to different audiences. Assembling and cultivating a strong team is also crucial in effecting change, as well as building credibility.
Approaching a transition with the correct mindset — a blend of both confidence and humility — is critical. We have witnessed firsthand what makes a “best-in-class” executive in the eyes of companies across industries: the ability to learn, adapt and influence in new settings is highly prized. The respect you will have gained by listening before taking action will serve you well.