Successful Job Transitions for HSE Pros

Author’s Note:  A version of this post originally appeared on my LinkedIn account as an announcement for the BLR webinar I lead on this topic.  I wanted to capture the knowledge here for my blog readers.  I have posted a summary of the slides I created for the webinar below.

shutterstock_78224647 compressedI have transitioned to new roles 6 times in my nearly 30 year career. For younger professionals, that number will increase. The risk of failure becomes greater with each new organizational level you transition to.



Hope is not a plan…

Do you know how to make a successful transition? Unless you have been through it a few times, and perhaps had a mentor to guide you, you probably are going to wing it and hope for the best! Hope is not a plan…

Article in Professional Safety

Seasoned professionals know that there is a method to the madness of a transition into a new role. Young professionals however are frequently not aware of the tried and true principles that their more experienced colleagues are utilizing to generate success and stability. I have recently had the honor of sharing my view on many of these techniques in an article for the American Society of Safety Professionals in their Professional Safety journal The title of the article is: Essential Mistakes for OSH Managers to Avoid, and it appeared in the July 2018 edition. I hope you find the article helpful.

Seasoned professionals know there is a method to the madness of transitioning into a new role.

Deep Dive in BLR Webinar

If you are interested in learning more about successful transition strategies for HSE Professionals, I have again teamed up with BLR to present these concepts in a 90 minute webinar: New Safety Managers: Essential Mistakes to Avoid Concerning Training, Investigations, Recordkeeping, and More. The webinar was recorded and is available at the link above.  I have posted a summary of my slides here.

Brief Overview of the Methods

I wanted to give the reader of this post a quick view of the methods I have found useful in transitions.  I have based much of this method on the ideas in the book The First 90 Days by Michael Watkins.  The article and presentation summary above provides more detail but below is an overview.

Start by understanding your situation.  Pilots call this situational awareness and it involves quickly comprehending information to assemble an accurate mental picture of the situation.

Methods of collecting information:

  • Conversation
  • Observation
  • Documentation

Next you must take action in a timely and decisive manner to maximize your success early.  The typical window to start showing strong progress is within 90 days.  After that, you are fighting and uphill battle with the odds slipping out of your favor more each day.  Successful leaders start strong with a plan and execute it!

Methods to assemble and act on your mental picture:

  • Promote yourself to the job
  • Accelerate your learning
  • Match Strategy to situation
  • Secure early wins
  • Negotiate success
  • Achieve alignment
  • Build your team
  • Create coalitions
  • Keep your balance
  • Expedite every one


I enjoy sharing what I have learned in my many years of professional practice with young EHS professionals.  I hope you found this post and related materials useful in furthering your career.

About Chet Brandon

I am a highly experienced Health, Safety and Environmental Professional for Fortune 500 Companies. I love the challenge of ensuring HSE excellence in process, manufacturing and other heavy industry settings. The connection of EHS to Sustainability is a fascinating subject for me. I believe that the future of industrial organizations depends on the adoption of sustainable practices.
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1 Response to Successful Job Transitions for HSE Pros

  1. Great article. I have always benefited from reviewing past audits and incident investigations when stepping into new organizations as it gives me a window into how the organization functions

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