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Development Zones

A Shift conversation happens when there is a mismatch between the employee and their current role. You see the effort they’re making, but you’re not seeing the results. Maybe they were promoted into management and their skills aren’t quite right for the position. Maybe they’re excited for a pet project that’s not driving value for the organization. Maybe you took a chance that they could fill a role they were interested in but didn’t have the experience for, and they aren’t yet ready for it. Maybe the job evolved in ways you didn’t expect and outgrew the employee.


Shift conversations have a certain urgency to them because the situation is fundamentally unsustainable. Either work isn’t getting done that needs to get done, or work is being done that isn’t necessary. Left unresolved, the mismatch will create a toxic situation for the employee and ultimately for your team.

In a Shift conversation, the goal is to find the employee a new opportunity that is a better fit. Where is the overlap between the needs of the business and the employee’s skills and passions? This may involve widening the conversation to include other people in the organization who can help the employee drill down into their skills and passions or who have a broader view of what opportunities exist or are coming open at the company.

Ultimately, though, a Shift conversation should facilitate the employee’s discovery of and commitment to a new direction.



There’s a mismatch between this employee and their existing role; where would they be better aligned?