Lou Dobbs: Lessons for Career Transition

Lou Dobbs, former CNN anchor and now with Fox Business, is a role model for how to do career change efficiently.

Dobbs left his old job at CNN with a war chest of millions. He invested some of that in testing out the political waters, including retaining the public relations counsel of Manhattan-based agency The Dilenschneider Group. But Dobbs hedged his bets.

Simultaneously he kept a hold on the world of media. He launched a sophisticated website and did radio broadcasts. Now and then he captured both the media's and the public's attention with controversial stances. One was that he, a known conservative, opposed the Republican proposal to eliminate constitutional protections for how illegal immigrants are treated. That position also softened his earlier harsh pronouncements on the whole issue of immigration. A very nice touch was his recent cameo appearance as Lou Dobbs on popular television show 'The Good Wife.' That attracted major publicity.

No surprise, he announced that, after a time of looking at changing careers, he is returning to the small screen. Next year he will be in charge of a Fox Business show.

Lessons you can pick up from these moves by Dobbs? They include:

  • Yes, try out your dream. But set a time limit. Most skilled players adopt the attitude of getting in and getting out fast.
  • Invest the best resources in this experiment. Dobbs hired a top public relations agency.
  • Keep doors open. If possible, like Dobbs, ride two or more horses at once. The new economy is opportunistic, not one based on careful, detailed strategic planning. You don't know what good thing might drop in your lap. If you are focused too much on one goal, you won't be able to identity, pounce on, and exploit whatever else could work out just great.

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