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Leadership Books
Posted at 01:56 PM ET, 08/04/2011

Michael Watkins’ ‘The First 90 Days’

Title: The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels

Author: Michael Watkins

Publisher: Harvard Business Press, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-1591391104, 208 pages


It doesn't matter what level of the organization your new leadership role is in – from project supervisor to CEO – every promotion brings a period of transition, the need for new skills and a set of new expectations, challenges and opportunities. Just because you've been successful in one leadership role, you can't assume that your old strategy will automatically succeed in your new role. It probably won't. Take an analytical approach. Diagnose the situation and adapt your strategy to it. Michael Watkins' book tells you exactly how. If you will soon begin – or have already begun – a new leadership role, this book is an invaluable resource to help you map out your strategy, get on your boss's good side and accelerate your transition. Watkins provides fundamental information for anyone who wants to become a leader and stay on top, because he teaches you how to make a successful transition when your time comes. getAbstract recommends this book to leaders at any level who are going through or embarking on a period of transition into a new role. Here's how to help make the transition more successful, faster and easier – on your staff, your boss and yourself.

Challenges in 10 key areas

To accelerate your transition into a new leadership role, master these challenges:

"Promote yourself " – Break from your old role, mentally and physically. Put the past behind you. Focus on the new situation, its challenges, skills and opportunities.

"Accelerate your learning"– In a new leadership role, learn the organization's history, products, services, market, systems, structures, politics and culture. Absorb the unwritten rules, identify the key players and learn the job's technical aspects.

"Match strategy to situation"– Analyze and diagnose the challenges and opportunities in your new role? Line your approach up with the specific situation.

"Secure early wins"– Build credibility with small, significant successes.

"Negotiate success"– Communicate with your new boss to identify expectations, challenges, opportunities and timelines. Read the boss. Understand his or her communication preferences and working style. Find out what your boss wants and create a plan to deliver exactly that. Under promise and over deliver.

"Achieve alignment"– Analyze the organization's architecture. Determine if its systems, structures, strategies, resources, culture and skills are aligned or at cross-purposes, creating friction. Eliminate sources of conflict. Rectify any misalignment.

"Build your team"– Identify and hire the right people. Mentor, counsel, teach and restructure to provide a solid base. These people are the foundation of your success.

"Create coalitions" – Build a network of influence. Identify potential supporters and opponents. Influence others by building alliances and creating win-win situations. Find out who has the potential to make you or break you; get on their good side now. Maintain your integrity. Set the tone for future relationships. Don't burn any bridges.

"Keep your balance"– Maintain work-life balance. Seek mentors; see the big picture.

"Expedite everyone"– Accelerate everyone's transition. When your role changes, so do the roles and relationships of those near you. Ease their lives. Share experiences.

Four leadership situations

Your new leadership role probably falls into one of the following four situations, as defined by the "Stars" model. The acronym stands for "start-up, turnaround, realignment and sustaining success." Each has its own specific characteristics, challenges and opportunities…

Click here to read on and receive a free summary of this book courtesy of getAbstract, the world's largest online library of business book summaries. (Available through August 11, 2011.)

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By Patrick Brigger and getAbstract  |  01:56 PM ET, 08/04/2011

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