The First 90 Days is now one of my favorites, right up there with Leadership 2.0 (a must-read for leaders). This book is a great and practical guide to help any leader transition into a new job, position, and organization-within 90 days (a critical timeframe to be considered as "hitting the ground running"). There's a checklist at the end of every chapter to help you absorb key lessons, apply them to your situation, and tailor them to your own transition plan. The book is loaded with practical strategies, lessons, and advice for a smooth transition.
The First 90 Days - Chapter Summaries:
INTRODUCTION: THE FIRST 90 DAYS
- The actions you take in your first three months in a new job will largely determine whether you succeed or fail.
1. Promote Yourself: Make the mental break from your old job and prepare to take charge in the new one. The biggest pitfall you face is to assume that what has made you successful to this point in your career will continue to do so.
2. Accelerate Your Learning: Accelerate the learning curve as fast as you can in your new organization. Understand its markets, products, technologies, systems, structures, and culture, and politics.
3. Match Strategy to Situation: Diagnose the business situation accurately and clarify its challenges and opportunities.
4. Secure Early Wins: Early wins build your credibility and create momentum.
5. Negotiate Success: Figure out how to build a productive working relationship with your new boss and manage his/her expectations. Plan for a series of critical conversations. Develop and gain consensus on your 90-day plan.
6. Achieve Alignment: Figure out whether the organization's strategy is sound. Bring its structure into alignment with its strategy.
7. Build Your Team: If you are inheriting a team, evaluate its members and restructure it to better meet the demands of the situation. Make tough early personnel calls.
8. Create Coalitions: Influence people outside your direct line of control. Rely on supportive alliances, internal and external, to achieve your goals.
9. Keep Your Balance: Work hard to maintain your equilibrium and preserve your ability to make good judgments, professionally and personally.
11. Expedite Everyone: Help everyone in your organization-direct reports, bosses, and peers-accelerate their own transitions. The faster this is done, the faster you can perform.
CONCLUSION: BEYOND SINK OR SWIM
- The biggest danger you face is belief in a one-size-fits-all rule for success.