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The Art of the Pivot — 6 Steps to Reengineer Yourself for a Career Change Before switching careers or starting a business, learn why reengineering is your secret weapon for turning dreams into strategies, leveraging your unique skill set, and charting a course to undeniable success. This is the game-changer you've been waiting for.

By Scott Deming Edited by Micah Zimmerman

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

If you're reading this, you're likely considering a significant career change or maybe even dreaming of starting your own business. Wanting a change doesn't necessarily mean you're unhappy where you are or that you're stuck in a rut. Often, it's a pursuit of something more — be it greater personal fulfillment, new challenges or more freedom. However, desire alone won't get you there; you need a solid strategy. This is where reengineering becomes invaluable. It provides you with a comprehensive roadmap for navigating the intricacies of an ever-evolving career landscape.

Why reengineer if you're making a change

Whether you're captivated by the allure of entrepreneurship or are considering jumping into a new field, understand that shifting careers is akin to navigating an intricate, moving maze. The ground beneath us is shifting, thanks to technological advancements, the post-pandemic hybrid model, and the gig economy, among other factors. If you're contemplating a change, reengineering offers you the tools to navigate this maze effectively. It's not about discarding your previous experience or skills but leveraging them in a new context.

Related: Is Pivoting a Last-Ditch Effort or a Sound Business Strategy?

My reengineering story

In 2003, after two decades at the helm of my advertising agency, I found myself at a career crossroads. Over the years, I honed my craft in creating powerful ad campaigns, leading talented teams, managing complex relationships with clients and suppliers and even venturing into startups. Alongside this, I took on the role of training my clients' sales and leadership staff.

Despite how rewarding this was, I recognized that my skills and experience could make a broader impact. My ambition took a decisive turn. I shifted from focusing on mere advertising and occasional client training to a concentrated effort aimed at empowering individuals and companies. My new mission involved developing stronger leadership skills, elevating sales and service quality, transforming customer experiences and fostering corporate cultures that are both passionate and purposeful.

In essence, my goal became to help my clients and their staff evolve into their best selves—a mission advertising alone couldn't fulfill. Recognizing the need for a dramatic change and leveraging the skills and experience I'd amassed over the years, I reengineered myself from an advertising executive into a corporate speaker, trainer, and author. And so, a new chapter in my career story began.

Are you changing because of burnout?

Unfortunately, when faced with career burnout, many people opt for extreme changes. From lawyers turning into farmers to corporate executives opening cafes, the move is often radical. The idea is to reboot by diving into something entirely different, leaving their old careers in the rearview mirror. While this radical change can work for some, it's usually short-lived. Many find themselves acting impulsively and regretting their decisions. My advice? Slow down. Take a moment to evaluate your existing skills and strengths. Instead of leaping into unfamiliar territory, consider how you can leverage your current expertise to transition into a different yet related career.

Related: These Are the Core Elements Needed to Successfully Pivot Your Business

Self-assessment: Your strategic foundation for reengineering

Just like in my speaker training sessions, the first rule of thumb for considering a career change or starting a business is to understand yourself thoroughly. This isn't a superficial exercise; it's laying the foundation for your future. So, how do you go about it?

1. Identify Core Strengths

Start by identifying your core strengths and abilities. These are your "superpowers" that set you apart in the workplace. Are you a problem solver, a people person, or perhaps an analytical thinker? Knowing this helps you pinpoint the types of roles or businesses where you'll naturally excel.

2. Recognize Your Motivators

Next, what fuels your fire? Is it the thrill of closing a big deal, the satisfaction of leading a team to success, or maybe the joy of creating something new? Understanding what motivates you is crucial because a career that doesn't align with your passions and intrinsic motivators will likely lead to burnout or dissatisfaction.

3. Assess Marketable Skills

It's equally important to have a pulse on the market. What skills or knowledge do you possess that are currently in high demand? The last thing you want is to pivot into a field that's already oversaturated or declining. Do your homework — industry reports, job postings, and even informational interviews can offer valuable insights.

4. Utilize Assessment Tools

Various tools can assist you in the self-assessment phase. For instance, Gallup's StrengthsFinder offers an in-depth report on your unique talents and how to utilize them effectively. On the other hand, a SWOT analysis provides a comprehensive view of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Just as companies regularly conduct SWOT analyses to gauge their competitive standing, you should adopt the same practice to understand your own position in the business landscape.

5. Seek External Input

Don't underestimate the value of external perspectives. Talk to mentors, colleagues, or friends who know you well and can provide candid feedback. Sometimes, others see potential in us that we might overlook.

6. Document Your Findings

Finally, make sure to document everything. Create a "Career Reengineering Blueprint" that outlines your strengths, motivators, marketable skills and any areas for development. Refer back to this blueprint as you plan and execute your career transition.

By engaging in this comprehensive self-assessment, you're not just engaging in introspection; you're developing a strategic blueprint that will serve as the foundation for your reengineering journey.

Time for tactics

Now that you've laid the groundwork with self-assessment, it's time to get tactical. The journey from contemplating a career change to executing it successfully can be broken down into three crucial phases: Planning, Preparation, and Performance. Pair these with the right tools and resources, and you're not just dreaming of a new career; you're crafting it. Let's delve into how each of these elements plays a pivotal role in your reengineering process.

Related: The 4 Secrets to a Successful Pivot

The 3 Ps of reengineering

  • Planning — The first step in any journey is setting the destination. Define your career objectives, but remember, rigidity is the enemy of adaptability. These goals may need to pivot in response to market trends or personal circumstances, so remain nimble and be willing to adapt.
  • Preparation — Skills are the currency of the modern job market. Take specialized courses, attend workshops, or even go back to school if necessary. Networking is equally vital; connect with professionals in your desired field, attend industry events, and consider finding a mentor.
  • Performance — Once the plan is set and the preparations are complete, the next step is execution. Monitor your progress using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) tailored to your career objectives. Data doesn't lie; it will show you whether you need to steer the ship in a different direction.

Related: Pivot or Persevere? The Key to Startup Success

Tools and resources

Time to gear up. From LinkedIn Learning courses to industry-specific webinars and workshops, there's a wealth of resources at your fingertips. Don't underestimate the power of online communities either; they can offer invaluable advice and connections.


If you're on the cusp of considering a career change or pondering the launch of your own business, here's something to mull over: Reengineering isn't just an intriguing option; it's a strategic necessity in today's dynamic job market. But hey, if you're waiting for that "perfect moment" to take the leap, let this serve as food for thought: The perfect moment just might be now.

Scott Deming

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Speaker, Trainer, Author

Scott Deming brings 30+ years of corporate expertise in leadership, branding, and customer experience. Known for his transformative keynote speeches and training, Scott has helped diverse industries evolve their cultures and boost growth. Visit to learn more.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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