How to Change Roles Within An Organization

Considering a new role within your organization?  If so, take some time to perform a "readiness" audit before you charge ahead. Here are 8 things you need to do:

1. Assess your personal brand.  

The assessment may be similar to a scouting report for an athlete.  What are you known for? What are your strengths and weaknesses?  Do you have a reputation for managing projects well, for leading teams well, or for having deep subject matter expertise?  Is your personal brand strong enough to merit a change at this time?  If not, your focus needs to be on strengthening your brand first.

2. What is your genius (the intersection of your strengths and passions)?  

This is where you will likely experience the most success and find yourself most fulfilled.  Don't just change roles simply to change.  Make sure you are pursuing a role where you are likely to thrive.


3. What is your motivation for making a shift?  

Is the potential move driven by a healthy motive, such as a development challenge or a better use of your strengths and passion?  If you motivation is suspect, the idea of a move may reflect poorly on you.

4. Are you performing at a high level in your current role?

People are often counseled to find a new job before terminating their current job.  A parallel adage for an internal move may be to make sure you are performing well in your current role before pursuing a new role.  To do otherwise may suggest that you are looking for an easy way out of an assignment you could not handle.

5.  Have you groomed a successor for your current role?

Your supervisors, in all likelihood, has to replace you.  Put yourself in her shoes.  Does she have good options?  Can you help her develop good options?

6. What does your organization need, that you can offer, that will create significant value?

Remember that this change in role needs to make sense not just for you, but also for your organization.  Your stock is highest when you are known for creating value.

7.  Can you make a compelling case for the new role in one page or less?

By providing a clear and objective case for the move (addressing not just the benefits, but also potential drawbacks), you have more credibility when pitching key decision makers on the idea.

8.  Who is the best person to share your interest with?  

This might be your supervisor, a talent representative within your Human Resources group, or a mentor.  You want to be thoughtful and wise (in the context of your organization's culture) as you move forward.  Remember, how you approach this reveals much about your character. Make sure you maintain the utmost integrity throughout the decision process. Your reputation is more valuable than a role change.