How you manage your transitions has a critical influence on winning at work and in general. We all deal with transitions on a daily basis. At work, these can look like transitioning from year-end, a new project, going from one company to another, a new job/accountability or changing geography. Often, we relate to transitions from a negative perspective; that you need to “hold on tight” until it passes or survive it, especially if we like where we are or the transition means dealing with the unknown.

Your New Strength

But what if you could actually have transitions be a strength? Adaptability, flexibility, and versatility are necessary and excellent competencies to differentiate your self in today’s business world. You can make managing transitions with velocity and grace a secret weapon for breakthrough performance!

Transitions as a Discipline

In sports, where competition is high and the races are very close between winning and second place, transitions are a discipline that deliver breakthrough performance. They can actually help you win. As examples, triathletes and relay teams all have to manage transitions. How you move from one stage to another while keeping your balance and maintaining focus on what is ahead is critical. As a triathlete, I practice the pieces of my race – the swimming, biking and running, but also my transitions. Relay teams practice the baton hand-off over and over because if you drop the baton, you are out of the competition. It is no different in your performance at work.

Visualizing Breakthrough Performance

Of course, even in your day-to-day you can’t practice everything you might face during a transition, but practicing visualizing situations can help you be prepared. Consider various future scenarios. Imagine ways you could help in a transition or strengths you could contribute. This could include situations in which you would thrive as well as ones that might be challenging. Role-play in your mind what you could do to stay in the game. Listen to colleagues and the news to help you think of scenarios you could face.

The Fumble and Recovery

Mostly, when we are presented with opportunities, they require a transition. What happens when we don’t transition well? Sometimes we stop when we don’t see how to make the transition. This has a detrimental impact on success. If you miss the opportunity to move effectively from one step to the next, momentum is lost and getting started again can be difficult. Transition from a failed attempt is equally critical in being a high performer.

Your New Brand: The Transitioner!

Becoming great, calm and expert at transitions is a winning skill no matter what race you are running.

Ashley Tappan co-founded and leads Fit to Lead, a program that helps businesswomen take on fitness, even doing triathlons, as a fulcrum for leadership development.

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