4 Essential Lessons from a Career in Transition

Jun 08, 2021
Essential Lessons from a Career in Transition

When I started working at Disney, I could not have been more excited. During my almost 20 years there I spent a ton of time working with visionary executives who had big ideas. I was the details person. The person with a plan. The person that connected the dots. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to do so much while I was there. I spent time leading teams and in individual contributor roles. I led large operations and creative teams, and launched complex initiatives. I worked in back of house roles and led Guest interfacing teams.

Some of my most exciting work was bringing the vision of the Disney Service Basics to implemented reality across Walt Disney World operations. The ability to work with cross functional teams, shape thinking, partner vertically and horizontally across the organization, and ultimately impact the culture for 40,000+ Cast Members could not have been more rewarding.

While I loved my time at Disney, the pandemic of 2020 has taught us all the importance of being able to pivot – both personally and professionally. My eyes were opened to so many needs in corporate America that could not be met if I continued to work for one company. I learned so much during both my time at Disney and my time at GE and I felt I had a unique combination of skills and experience to offer. I knew I could scale those Disney principles and GE practices, especially around change and transition, for other companies.

I realize that these visionary leaders exist at every company. I also realized that what comes so naturally to me is actually an in-demand skill set.

It was a fun “a-ha” moment when it became clear that what was second nature to me can help other people.

That was about the time I decided to shift away from a job in corporate America, and to a consulting business where I could dedicate my time to helping visionaries operationalize their big ideas. I am ready to leverage my experience to help other leaders pivot, change and transition their business for future success.

Introducing Heather Havey Consulting

I am excited to share with you the launch of Heather Havey Consulting. I am passionate about making sure that your big ideas see the light of day, are fully supported by those around you, soar across the finish line and make you the hero of your organization. I help leaders with large, complex organizations ... leaders with big ideas about how to grow and transform their businesses.

If you have a vision that needs to be realized – I am here for you.

I will design custom solutions to help you get from where you are … to where you want to be. No-nonsense, practical, real-world solutions. No off-the-shelf products. No fluff. No forced approach that doesn’t meet your needs. I can build the change plan, help you align your stakeholders, and/or act as your fractional Chief Operating Officer. My goal is to see you succeed in your vision to grow and transform your business.

4 change lessons learned

I did not make this decision lightly. After 30 years in corporate America, it was time to follow my passion. And going through this transition I learned a few lessons that I bet you can relate to.

1. Change is hard, no matter the change.

I started with a big idea. I had a vision of my future that didn’t involve me working for one company – but involved me spreading my wings and helping other companies, other leaders, other visionaries bring THEIR visions to life. It’s not necessarily the path that was modeled around me. Most people I know work in corporate America. Some stayed with the same companies, some moved around fairly regularly. But few made THIS leap. I had some colleagues and mentors urging me to “get a job”. I wondered if I could be successful. Did my skills really translate? Could I actually make money? What would happen to my career … my reputation … my future if this failed? Fortunately, I was also surrounded by a group of supportive friends and family that believed in my vision and knew this was something I had to pursue. In fact, when I made the final decision, I told my husband “I’m doing this”, and he said “of course you are, it’s what you were meant to do”.

When I ultimately made the decision to transform my career and my future, I didn’t make the decision lightly. I went into this with my eyes wide open. I knew that transforming my career was going to be, at the same time, exciting and hard. In the process of starting my own business, I had a lot of learning to do – and just as much unlearning. This is why change is so hard.

Whether it’s changing jobs, changing schools, moving to a new city – change is hard. There are lots of ways to deal with change. You can look back and mourn what was. You can live with anxiety thinking about the uncertainty of your current situation. Or you can get excited about what’s next and start planning for your future. I have always been a glass-half-full kind of gal. I was ready for change, and I am ready to help others work through change.

What about you? Has your company been required to pivot? Is your company going through difficult changes? Do you know WHAT needs to change, but not sure HOW? Does figuring out the how keep you up at night? Change. Is. Hard.

2. We all have unique talents and the best thing you can do is bring your strengths and talent to the world.

As I went through the process to build my brand – through a lot of soul searching I realized that it wasn’t my six-sigma training, or Disney experience that allowed me to create results for my clients. It was my obsession with efficiency. Regardless of the job I was – I was passionate about making the most of every dollar, every hour, every opportunity. Waste has always been the enemy. I can help articulate other’s ideas and bring them to life – while maximizing resources. It’s taken me some time to realize it, but that’s my super power.

And it’s the diversity of who we are and what we do that makes life interesting. You may have big ideas … huge ideas. And that’s your talent, your strength. And how dare someone ask you to divert your attention away from coming up with new big ideas. You don’t need to know how to do those ticky-tacky details that get in your way. You may have heard the phrase “soar with your strengths”. It’s true! Do what you do best and let others take care of the things that fall into their areas of strength.

How about you? Are you leveraging your visionary strengths to their fullest extent, or are you getting caught up in the details you don’t like? Are you spending time convincing others of your vision, when you could be coming up with the next big idea? Embrace your super power.

3. You can’t deny your strengths.

This obsession I have with efficiency is not new. It didn’t start when I was building my brand, or when I was hired at Disney, or even when I was a six-sigma black belt at GE. It’s part of my DNA, it’s who I am, and it’s who I have always been. Sure, there have been points in my career and personal life that have amplified this obsession. But it’s always been there.

In my very first office job, on day one, I was handed a two-inch-thick report and told “highlight all of the negative numbers”. That’s not how I work. I need context. I have to understand where something has been, and where it’s going once that task is complete. I asked questions. How was this report generated? What do the columns on the report represent? How often is it produced? What will you do with the “negative” line items when I return the report to you? Does the value of the negative number matter? I got answers, and I was able to change the methodology which improved the process for collecting outstanding balances. I started in the summer through a temporary agency, which lasted for 3 summers. After college I was hired directly by the company, and shortly thereafter promoted in to a leadership role. This ultimately launched me in to my career with GE.

Your strengths will follow you … in your professional life and in your personal life. I’ve experienced this personally. I was volunteering for a local food bank filling boxes on an assembly line. It took me about 10 minutes to diagnose the inefficiencies of the process. I asked to redesign the line. We were instructed that there was a certain order in which the boxes had to be filled to make everything fit – this was true. However, the line was not arranged in way that supported that order. And the items were placed at all different heights, so volunteers were constantly standing, squatting, stretching. From my Disney days – I knew that was a safety issue. Lastly, I observed that as an item would run low you would have to stop and unwrap the next case for use, halting everyone’s progress. I re-engineered the line, reassigned volunteers, and we were back to filling boxes. We didn’t compromise cost, time or quality – we just worked smarter … and filled way more boxes than was anticipated.

And you? Have you ever repressed that strength? How have their strengths presented themselves? Where have you been surprised to see your strengths appear? Your super power is always there.

4. It’s MORE THAN OK to ask for help.

Alrighty – I worked through the tough emotions to make the big decision. I recognized that I have a super power. And I decided it’s time to share that super power with the world. So what was I to do next?

As soon as I made the decision to transform my future - the first step in my process was to hire Betsy as my mentor. Not because I am not smart. I am. I have just never run my own business before and it’s frustrating. Even though I put the emotions aside once I made the decision. But what held me back was the “I should already know this” myth.

Once I got past that and actually got to work learning and building my business tools – I realized that asking for help is the smartest thing I could have done because I got to the finish line faster with better quality.

What strengths are you lacking? What are you spending way too much time on – and you’ve not been able to cross the finish line. Or maybe you’re doing the work and not getting the results you need? It’s OK to admit it. In fact, it’s the first step. Find someone to fill those gaps so that you can soar with YOUR strengths.

What’s Next?

Please join me as I celebrate this career milestone.

And please be sure to spend a little time checking out my website.

And if you’re a visionary leader who has great ideas but hates the details involved with getting those ideas to the finish line, let’s connect.CLICK HERE to join my community, get added to my mailing list, and get my free tool that will help with your first big step which is to get your senior team and organization on board with the change you see. Get this tool so you can avoid that frustrating “flavor of the month” complaint and passive aggressive resistance that takes the winds out your creative sails.  And as a member of my community you will receive even more value-added tips and proven tools to help you gain traction towards achieving your goals.  

And if you think you could benefit from having an expert partner with real-world, action-oriented change solutions that will absolutely work, let’s chat. CLICK HERE to book a free strategy session that will get those ideas out of the clouds and onto the road to results.

Let’s do this!


About Me:  I'm Heather Havey and my consulting business helps visionary leaders bring their big ideas to implemented reality.   I’m passionate about efficiency and business transformation, and I will empower you to accelerate the achievement of your big goals.   I offer customized, no-nonsense, real-world solutions designed to position you as the hero in the reinvention of your business.    

Check out options for how we may be able to work together at https://www.heatherhaveyconsulting.com/services .   

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