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Transfer Internally the Right Way

Transfer Internally the Right Way

If you've been selected for an internal transfer, congratulations. An internal transfer can be an opportunity to develop your skills, boost your visibility, expand your network and make more money.   

Internal transfers can be promotions or reassignments. They can occur as a reward for great work, to test your potential for more senior positions, or because you are the best or most readily available candidate to fill an immediate need.

However, these opportunities come with risks. While past performance is the best indicator of the future, success in your old role does not guarantee the same result. In addition, if you do a poor job transitioning out of your old job, you could damage your reputation.

Avoid these risks and make a smooth transition by focusing on seven key success factors:

1. Determine What You Need to Finish

Once you know you'll be making the move, meet with your manager to agree on what projects you must complete, what you can leave to your successor and what to discard.

2. Pass the Baton Responsibly

Be professional regarding your replacement. Help him make a smooth transition by organizing your files, making personal introductions and booking adequate time to brief him on what he needs to know.

3. Manage Old and New Relationships

Internal transfers are a golden opportunity to expand your influence and network within the company. Your goal should be to keep your old friends but not at the expense of new relationships. So don't have lunch with your old workmates every day.

Instead, embrace your new environment by forging working relationships with your new colleagues. Spend social time with them, too, if possible. You will learn what is really happening, and your team members will get to know another side of you.

4. Leverage the Learning Window

When you step into a new role, you almost always get either an explicit or implicit window of time to learn the ropes. Expectations are lower, so use this time to get up to speed -- not complete old work. If you are not on top of things when that window closes, you'll be digging yourself out from the beginning.

5. Develop a Clear Picture

Do your best to understand what your new manager expects of you and what it takes to be successful in your new role. Understand what you don't know and the obstacles you'll need to overcome. Talk to people on and connected with your team, observe the team's culture and workflow, and model the behavior of successful team members. This will help you understand how to proceed and conduct yourself.

6. Show You're Worthy

There's a reason you have been selected for your new position, so get over any feelings of fear, shyness or unworthiness. If your new colleagues try to test your worthiness, clearly demonstrate that you are a good addition to the team by diving into your new responsibilities enthusiastically and with determination.

7. Go for Early Wins

You'll have a lot to absorb, so focus on your priorities, get things done and look for quick wins. The earlier you can rack these up, the more confident you will feel and the more respect and latitude your new boss and peers will give you. Without early wins, you will increasingly feel under pressure.

By focusing on these seven key success factors, you will boost the likelihood of successfully transitioning out of your old role and into your new one.

[Ian Christie founded to help individuals build bold, fulfilling careers and help organizations attract, develop and retain talent. A career coach, consultant, three-time entrepreneur, former senior director at Monster and former retained executive search consultant, Ian is an expert in the fields of careers and recruitment. He believes that career management is a central theme to both personal and organizational effectiveness. offers career services to companies and individuals as well as free career resources.]

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