Transition into Tech
pivot book review

Pivot: the only move that matters is your next one (Jenny Blake)

Of all the books I’ve read in preparation for launching this blog, none seems more fitting to open my series of book reviews than ‘Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One’ by Jenny Blake.

Pivot was a surprising read; I had not heard of the author before and I stumbled upon the book accidentally. Yet the effect it had on me was anything but accidental. Pivot is not only well written, engaging and relatable; it is also thoughtful and practical to the last detail.

So how is this book helpful?

Pivot equips you with a tried-and-tested approach to making a career change, down to the smallest details. It teaches you to become more agile as a person, to constantly iterate to get just one step closer to your goal.  Through its Plant – Scan – Pilot – Launch steps, it guide your career transition, leaving you with a sense of confidence and bubbling with enthusiasm. It shows you how to explore a new career by ‘doubling down on what’s working, while mapping what’s next’, by leveraging your assets – strengths, interests, networks. Read it and… it dawns on you: this career change you’ve been considering is actually doable!  It comes with plenty of complementary resources online such as – my favorite – the pivotability self-assessment which I found eye-opening non necessarily through the results it yielded, but because of the introspection it required to answer the questions.

Pivot: the only move that matters is your next one (Jenny Blake) 1

Here are the steps, in detail:

  • Plant: understand what skills and experiences you can leverage from your past to anchor your next career move; get to know your values, vision, strengths and finances.
  • Scan: explore the opportunities and options you have available, research the new and related skills that you will be needing to pursue these; identify the skill gap and find solutions for closing it as well as the people that can help you get there.
  • Pilot: experiment with one of a few of the options you’ve identified during scanning to test whether you’re ready to move in that direction (you can do this within your current role, or outside of it). Assess how you feel about the experiment and gather and analyse all the relevant feedback. Rinse and repeat as many times as necessary.
  • Launch: take the leap – make the commitment and face the uncertainty. You’ve done your ‘homework’ – you are ready.

The other thing Pivot does well is be there for you when you need motivation (or re-motivating, for that matter). It gears you up for your first pivot and puts your mind at ease by showing you how you’ve actually done this plenty of times before, albeit unintentionally.

Is Pivot for me?

I think so! Sounds like this book is for everyone, especially in today’s world, where the advent of automation & outsourcing threaten many industries yet opens so many other opportunities and, in doing so, levels the playing field. What a great context to get out of your comfort zone and explore!

So read the book, leverage your pivot points, get out there and… transition into tech. And, as Jenny Blake says,

If change is the only constant, let’s get better at it.

Jenny Blake
Book contents

INTRODUCTION: PIVOT IS THE NEW NORMAL

– Pivot or get pivoted
– Changing careers in the age of the app
– Connect the dots looking backward
– Pivot method at a glance

HIGH NET GROWTH
– Career operating modes
– Trust your risk tolerance
– Two (many) steps ahead, one step back

STAGE ONE: PLANT
CHAPTER 1: CALIBRATE YOUR COMPASS – What are your guiding principles? What is your happiness formula?
– Create your compass
– Identify your happiness formula
– Reduce decision fatigue
– Meditate to activate your best instincts

CHAPTER 2: PUT A PIN IN IT – What excites you most? What does success look like one year from now?
– Avoid the tyranny of hows
– Vision cloudy? Start somewhere
– Clarify your vision statement
– Summarize knowns and unknowns

CHAPTER 3: FUEL YOUR ENGINE – What is working? Where do you excel?
– Identify your strenghts
– Work history highlights

CHAPTER 4: FUND YOUR RUNWAY – What is your timeline? How can you earn extra income?
– Build a solid financial foundation
– Pivot finance 101
– Income-anxiety seesaw awareness

STAGE TWO: SCAN
CHAPTER 5: BOLSTER YOUR BENCH – What do you already know? Who can provide advice? What can you give in return?
– Expand your sphere of influence
– Build a network of collective brainpower
– Career karma: seek reciprocal success

CHAPTER 6: BRIDGE THE GAPS – What skills and expertise will you take to the next level?
– Mind the gap
– Learn how to learn
– Limit linear thinking
– Investigative listening
– Be discerning about your learning

CHAPTER 7: MAKE YOURSELF DISCOVERABLE – How can you add unique value and build visibility?
– Define your project-based purpose
– Platform and leverage
– Revel in the work others reject
– Leapfrog: work backward from two moves ahead
– Let others know you are looking

STAGE THREE: PILOT
CHAPTER 8: GET SCRAPPY – What small experiments can you run? What real-world data can you collect?
– Aim first for quantity, not quality
– What makes a strong pilot
– Incremental pilots within organisations
– Reduce risk with redundancy
– Travel pilots to shake up stagnant thinking

CHAPTER 9: PAUSE, REVIEW, REPEAT – What worked? What didn’t? What could you do differently?
– Pause and review
– Take incrementally bigger risks

STATE FOUR: LAUNCH
CHAPTER 10: BUILD FIRST, COURAGE SECOND – When will you make the big move? What are your linchpin decision criteria?
– Identify your launch timing criteria
– Pivot hexagon
– Know when to hold versus fold
– Your gut has a brain
– Pivot scales: comfort versus risk

CHAPTER 11: FLIP FAILURE – What will move you into action?
– Rejection as a stepping stone to success
– Mine failure for strengths
– You can’t make everybody happy – so stop trying and start living
– Separate decisions from difficult conversations
– Don’t wait for perfect conditions
– How do you know your launch worked?
– The continuous pivot

STAGE FIVE: LEAD
CHAPTER 12: ARE YOU LISTENING – How can you facilitate engaging career conversations?
– Your interest matters more than you think
– How to use the Pivot method within organisations
– Pilot creative internal-mobility programs

CONCLUSION: CELEBRATE COMPLEXITY
– Checking in at the last resort
– The courageous life
– Post Pivot: online resources
– Pivot method quick reference
– Launch criteria checklist
– Resources for companies
– Pivot 201: recommended reading

Find out more:

You can also check Jenny out on video:

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