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How To Transfer Your Skills To A New Industry

Peter Franzman has worked across a range of industries throughout his time. To list but a few, he's worked in electrical engineering, media and advertising, telecommunications, banking and automotive. He's also contributed his consulting expertise to many other fields. He's now CEO of FTS Resolve, a growing Melbourne-based company that provides an end-to-end service for telecommunications and electrical infrastructure projects.
Entrepreneur Peter Franzman
Company FTS Resolve
Business type Telecommunications and electrical infrastructure 
Founded 2011
Head office Melbourne
Contact details ftsresolve.com.au


"You need to believe in your ability to learn fast and rely on those around you to fill in the gaps."
- Peter Franzman  

For Peter, choosing to transition into a new field is driven not necessarily by an interest in the particular industry, but by a desire to make a material difference. For that reason, he finds the challenge not to be so much about learning the ins-and-outs of a new business landscape, but winning people over, finding the most effective processes, and having the self-belief to keep going. Here's how Peter successfully transfers his skills when embarking on new leadership opportunities in unfamiliar industries.

Win over your people

Peter believes that to be an effective leader, you need to finesse your people management skills. When entering a new team with new people, it's important to see each member as an individual on their own journey, and understand that not everyone will welcome the change you bring. Peter says, "If I can bring 80% of the people at a new workplace with me on the journey, that's a win. Silly leaders think you can bring everyone around. You can't." 

So, how do you go about winning people over? Peter has a few tips:

  • Adapt your style to suit your audience

    That means, don't talk to tradesmen in the way you'd talk to the Board. Meet people where they're at.

  • Don't be put off by cultural challenges

    This is an opportunity to 'sell the dream' and help people understand the vision you have. Don't get too fixated on internal politics.

  • Be genuine and truthful

    Be real about why you're here and what your vision is. If you're sincere, you'll have a better chance at winning people's hearts and minds.

Look at your processes logically

The fact that you're coming into a new business from a completely different industry may mean that you need to learn and understand new processes. However, this doesn't have to be an overwhelming, negative experience. In fact, it's an opportunity to apply your strength as a leader and come at the current business practices with a fresh set of eyes.

Peter advises, "Approach this with a logical mindset. Look for patterns, and work with your team to figure out how systems and processes should work logically." 

He also encourages people transitioning industries to use this learning experience to connect with new team members, empowering them to teach and direct you. He says, "I allow people to be creative, to come to me with ideas. For me, when starting fresh in a new industry, there's no right or wrong way of doing things. My focus is on the outcomes."

Have self-belief

Peter believes the most important thing to do when transitioning industries is: "Don't freak out! You need to believe in your ability to learn fast and rely on those around you to fill in the gaps." 

He also warns that changing industries isn’t for the faint of heart. "You have to convince people that you have what it takes to lead them. You'll face challenges and will be completely exposed. You will know next to nothing to begin with. But, you also have the ability to claim a situation and change the subject, directing it to areas you’re confident in." 

Peter explains that to be successful, you don’t actually need to know everything about the industry. You just need to convince people of your credibility and capability. He says, "Be brave, and admit when you don't know the answer. I do this even to clients. You're allowed to say, 'I'm new at this!' Ask for advice. Treat people as if they're a friend."

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Case Study by Action Words

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