Changing roles in an organization can be dicey. How do you do it so that your intentions are clear? How do you avoid the negatives of making your current job, team, or boss look bad because people may think you are fleeing them?


What to do…

  1. Nurture a network of advocates for yourself in the organization. Show what you can do with stretch assignments and cross departmental team projects to demonstrate your interests and abilities. This establishes a foundation for mobility.
  2. Think through why you want to make the change and what’s in it for your organization. Be sure that you can communicate clearly your intention and its alignment with the organization’s interests.
  3. Provide clear, factual observations about why you are a good fit. Your organization needs to know “why you?” Give examples of your talents and abilities that could contribute to success in the new role.
  4. Make a brief, clear request and then be quiet and listen to the response. You want to understand your organization’s point of view.
  5. Confirm any agreements so that you know whether you are on the same page about this or future opportunities.
  6. If an immediate opportunity doesn’t open up, ask about other possibilities. Be open to solutions that you haven’t considered.
  7. Practice making your request with a coworker or colleague so that they can give you feedback about how you are coming across.


What not to do…

  1. Don’t make your current position or boss look bad. In your quest to grow, you don’t want to create ill will or opposition.
  2. It’s not enough to say you are excited about the opportunity.
  3. Don’t assume that others know what you can offer. Make a strong case.


Changing roles is good and healthy. Everyone needs to get “repotted” – fresh soil for your talent to grow – from time to time. When you think through your plan and follow the Dos and Don’ts, you’ll have a productive and enjoyable experience.