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In this hands-on guide, Michael Watkins, a noted expert on leadership transitions, offers proven strategies for moving successfully into a new role at any point in one's career. The First 90 Days provides a framework for transition acceleration that will help leaders diagnose their situations, craft winning transition strategies, and take charge quickly.
Practical examples illustrate how to learn about new organizations, build teams, create coalitions, secure early wins, and lay the foundation for longer-term success. In addition, Watkins provides strategies for avoiding the most common pitfalls new leaders encounter, and shows how individuals can protect themselves-emotionally as well as professionally-during what is often an intense and vulnerable period.
Concise and actionable, this is the survival guide no new leader should be without.
304 pages, Kindle Edition
First published September 18, 2003
1 Accelerate your learning. Efficient and effective learning is a necessary foundation for making a successful transition. The faster you learn about the technical, cultural, and political dimensions of your new position or assignment, the more you'll be able to accomplish in the critical first months.
2. Match strategy to situation. Different types of business situations require you to make significant adjustments in how you approach your transition. A clear assessment of the business situation is an essential prerequisite for developing your transition plan.
3. Negotiate success. You need to figure out how to build a productive working relationship with your new manager (or managers). This means planning for a series of critical conversations about the situation, expectations, working style, and resources.
4. Achieve alignment. Armed with a deeper understanding of the business situation, your manager's expectations, and the interests of key stakeholders, you can define your vision and core objectives. Then you can develop your strategy to realize that vision and achieve your goals.
5. Build your team. Like most leaders taking on a new role, you probably don't get to build your own team; instead, you inherit your predecessor's. You must rapidly assess and reshape the team, and then align, organize, and energize it to achieve your goals.
6. Secure early wins. Getting early wins is essential in order to build your credibility and create momentum. Wins create virtuous cycles that leverage the energy you put into the organization. They create a sense that good things are happening.
7. Create alliances. You can't accomplish much on your own; you need to build alliances to support your key initiatives. This means identifying the most important people whose support you need and developing a plan for getting them onboard.
8. Manage yourself. Throughout your transition you must work hard to maintain your equilibrium, manage your energy, and preserve your ability to make good judgments. You need to be disciplined in deciding what you will and won't do, and you must invest in building and leveraging the right network of advisers.