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Launching the New Product of You? Stress Test Your Systems First


Self-reinventions present you with a number of benefits, the obvious one being a transformative you. But contrary to what many people believe, transformation doesn't happen by chance just because you decide to change jobs or leave a career to start-up your own micro-business or even a start-up.
A good rule of thumb is that the greater the change the earlier you'll want to begin the process of stress testing your systems before launching the new Product of You. So, what types of changes might require less time and where would you want to introduce longer lead times? Consider the following when pulling together your transformation strategies.

New Role Inside the Same Company

If already in flight (you've accepted the position), then you've either stress tested your systems already for this new role or you're unsure what will be needed in the new position, so you'll be stress-testing as you go along. 
However, if you're positioning yourself for a new opportunity inside the company, now is the time to begin the process. You do have time to research the requirements needed for this new role, so prioritize the systems accordingly that you'll be stress testing. 

Elevated Position in a New Company

Already in flight? A promotion for you within a new company will likely require that you make adjustments to your existing systems, so be prepared to pivot, adjust, and either adapt or lead others through organizational or individual change. 
In the planning stages? Now is the time to take on an elevated role for practice. This is where Ugly Dog Projects really come into their own. Assume the lead on a UDP--a great way to stress test your systems. Successfully doing so can differentiate you as a leader. Trust me. More people run away from UDPs than embrace them—learn from their missed opportunities.

Setting Up Your Own Business  

Ironically, although this exit strategy requires the most stress testing of your systems since you're wearing multiple hats to cover all seasons, and it does require the longest lead times, more often than not people jump into this experience with their eyes shut. True, transformation often occurs once you've been through the process of continuously managing disruption, but there's no need to go through so much pain if you just decided to stress test your systems beforehand. 

Stress Test Areas of Focus

What areas should you consider stress testing? Given that so many of today's roles are more "hybrid" in nature, and not necessarily with clear cut responsibilities, your best bet would be to consider stress testing your connected systems
  • How well do you manage and leverage your resources?
  • Do you have experience managing department budgets?
  • Do you have experience leading projects (large scale as well as smaller projects)? Do you know how to effectively manage projects on a shoe-string budget?
  • How well do you collaborate within project teams? Do you know how to quantify and measure your value within a collaborative environment that may lack clear roles and responsibilities?
  • How effective are you in managing relationship dynamics?
  • How influential are you in communicating and negotiating with different style types?
  • Can you develop a presentation that speaks to four different quadrants of people's preferences for processing information?
  • How well do you manage priorities aka effective juggling of conflicting priorities?
  • What skills do you have for managing ambiguity or "white space"?
  • How knowledgeable are you about Emotional Intelligence and do you have practical experience with applying EQ in the workplace?
  • Are you capable of leading others through change (incremental as well as "change catching up")?
  • Do you already have a personal brand that just needs tweaking, are you rebranding yourself, or starting from scratch?


The benefits of stress testing your systems are that you reaffirm your strengths, discover where gaps exist, quickly learn how to adjust, and discover effective ways for pivoting on your feet. 

Be sure to check out our video course 30 Day Career Reinvention where we cover this material in more detail. Or consider joining our Seeding Change community if you're looking to level the innovation playing field (you get access to all our online courses). A great way to jump start 2016!