Short-term Assignments

Short-term assignments, transfers, or rotation programs can have big advantages: You’re exposed to new geographies, functions, cultures, and people. But these temporary positions often come with little or no training, so it’s your responsibility to get up to speed fast.

Here are three ways to make sure you’re getting the most from a short-term assignment:

  • Set goals.At the start, write out what you hope to accomplish during your tenure — whether it’s to receive a permanent position or to develop a certain type of expertise (or both!). Also think through what you need to reach those goals.

  • Ask for feedback.Mention up front to your boss and peers that you’d like their feedback as you acclimate to the new role. Set up at least one formal check-in with your supervisor.

  • Keep a journal.When you see something that works — or doesn’t — write it down. Compile your thoughts over time and reflect on them. Taking note of lessons learned makes it more likely that you’ll leave even a brief experience with real insight.

Adapted from “Maximize Your Learning in Short-Term Assignments,” by John Coleman

 Trevor Lee