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  • Writer's pictureRobert Norton

When is a habit like an old shoe?

Updated: Oct 20, 2022

The CEO of an international tech company served as a guest speaker in a change leadership workshop I facilitated last week. He spoke with great compassion for his leaders facing seismic industry shifts.

He said, “Imagine being a mid-career Japanese executive who expected to retire with his company, only to have it acquired by an American competitor. He is halfway through the game, and the rules have fundamentally changed.”

Moments of career transition require us to reevaluate our historical patterns of success. Whether we initiate the change (think: promotion) or the change happens around us (think: acquisition), it forces us to consider whether the habits, mindset, and priorities that have served us well in the past will hold up to our new demands.

Change around us calls for change within us.

The habits that make us outstanding individual contributors don’t always hold up when we begin to manage others. The priorities we cultivate as leaders of a single team might not work anymore when we start leading across functions. The mindsets that fuel early careerists sometimes don’t make sense when we start families.




Some people wait to change until the threat of standing still is so clear that they have no choice but to try something new. Others dance in the shifting winds. Regardless of your natural predisposition to change, times of transition always present an opportunity to reflect.

Ask Yourself:

  1. What habits, mindsets, and priorities have made me successful up until this point?

  2. What new habits, mindsets, and priorities will I need to succeed in this next phase?

  3. How do I go about creating space for them?




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