Transitioning from Executive to Non Executive: 5 Things Women Must Know

Career, Networking

Every corporate career has a beginning, a middle and an exit point. For senior executive women, exiting their corporate career can mean downsizing, retiring, or preparing for a second career.

It would be true to say that most female senior executives have at least considered their exit from corporate life, but how many manage it adequately?

What many fail to do is plan this career strategy from the moment they reach senior management, and then manage it adequately.

Following the Australian Institute of Company Director’s year of powerful stories and insights from inspiring female company directors; there is no better time than now to put pen to paper and consider planning an efficacious, lucrative and personally satisfying transition to a career as a non executive director.

Deciding the future of your career beyond your current role can be a difficult proposition to face, but it is crucial if you wish to come out financially strong, in control and leave a healthy legacy behind. Planning well in advance will also help to maximise opportunities and allow time for a smooth transition and unforeseen contingencies.

Career transition should be managed five years before the planned move, following these five steps:

1. Identify your ideal second career

Be clear on your ideal second career and do your research to identify the demand for your particular skills, experience and know-how. Understand what skills and attributes decision-makers and influencers value the most.

2. Get yourself in order

The first step here is to know where the gaps are. To maximise your transition opportunities, it’s important to make sure you stand out as the obvious choice by developing the sought after qualities, characteristics and traits (above and beyond your qualifications and experience) to the highest level.

3. Spend money on the process

Then focus your attention on developing or enhancing your presence-persona that will generate offers and opportunities. Consider professional development to get the presence-persona needed to stand out from the rest. Consult an expert, coach or mentor to honestly assess any gaps and work to address these. The investment is well worth it.

4. Network, Network, Network

Build and nurture your networks. The networks you built in your corporate career are where you have come from. The networks for your non executive career will be new.

5. Be ready for the opportunity

The right opportunity may knock at your door when you expect it the least. If you’ve done the first four steps and are mentally prepared to move on, you will be able to take full advantage of opportunistic offers coming your way.

In any case, the key to successful transition is to plan it early and manage it adequately. The outcome of such a well-coordinated process will benefit you for your next role… and the next… and the next.