Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Happy New Year to All!

Aside from having to remember to write 2009 and not 2008 on checks, to me, it's just another day in the continuing march of time. While some may think of the New Year as a chance to change habits, lose weight, learn new things, or wiping the slate clean; I personally do not make New Years Resolution. I don't see the point for why we have to have a special day to make commitments? Why put it off tomorrow, why can't people just resolve to change that moment?

However, this January, I find myself a little more reflective on my past and my future. In the past ten years, I have had 6 different assignments, had 7 managers, worked for 2 companies, experienced one merger, and lived in 3 different cities and two continents. With each move, I've come to accumulate more things, and have learned that I abhor packing and unpacking.

Part of my reflection is driven by the fact that I have something in common with the incoming President elect, Barack Obama. Like Obama, I am also moving on to a new assignment and a new location. While Obama is moving into the White House, I will be moving to southern California, a big change from Boston, Massachusetts!

In addition, my new assignment is filled with challenges of learning a new business category and dealing with sensitive organizational changes, just as Obama will face a new role with tough problems, and political environment challenges of Republicans and Democrats. While the challenges and level of complexity that I will face in my new role is not to the scale as what PE Obama will face, I do think about what similar qualities will be required to make transitioning to a new assignment successful.

If there's one thing that I have learned from my own personal experiences, as well as from others, there are certain critical qualities required to help make any transition to a new assignment successful:
  1. Listen and Learn: I've always felt that knowledge is power, and one of the first things I've always found helpful is to listen in on as many meetings to understand the issues and how people are feeling towards sensitive topics. Individually, I also find it helpful to do my own research, analyzing information, and reading up on topics that I am not familiar with.
  2. Collaborate and engage: Reaching out to people and gaining their input is so critical. It helps make your own acceptance into a new environment or organization that much easier. Moreover when recommending proposals or action plans, understanding other people's positions is a critical success factor to its implementation.
  3. Be Flexible: While having a new role or job can already be challenging enough, these are the times that call an individual to be even more adaptable to change. No matter what plans I might have in mind, I find that I need to be patient and flexible when facing unexpected events, and be able to alter my plans accordingly.
  4. Be Realistic: There is always that saying, "Hope for the best, plan for the worst", and it's always good to ensure that you do a proper risk assessment on key decision making. It's also important that you communicate the right level of expectation, not only to yourself, but to others.
For myself, I am certainly glad to shut the door on 2008, as it was a tough year all around both professionally and personally, which makes me very excited and eager to see what 2009 has in store.
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