Thursday, 20 October 2011 01:43

Book Review: The First 90 Days

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first-90-daysIt doesn’t matter what role you currently fill (CEO, Operations Manager, Supervisor or Team Manager), there is a period of transition that takes place when you transition from one role to another. Whether the role is internal or external to the one you are in at the moment, every role change brings with it a different set of challenges, expectations and frustrations. The First 90 Days by Michael Watkins looks at how a successful transition transition into a new role can be accelerated, while highlighting the pitfalls that many Managers make.


Key Points included in the book:

  • How to meet the 10 key challenges necessary to accelerate your successful transition into a new leadership role
  • How to diagnose your organization’s situation
  • How to handle the challenges and opportunities of four new leadership roles


Why we like it:

  1. Recognition that what made you successful in one role might not make you successful in another. Michael Watkins encourages readers to analyse what made them successful in previous roles and what (if any) of those skills can be transferred to a new role. Analysis rather than blind faith in previous success is a vital lesson to learn as a leader.
  2. The concept that successful leaders do not need to be good at all things. This fits with the ‘Kameleons’ approach to leadership (in short, the chameleon cannot change its colour to all in the rainbow, it has specific colours and environments that it can adapt to and avoids the ones it can’t).
  3. The realization that leaders at all levels of the organisation can (and should) set themselves and their team short and long term goals (that go beyond KPI’s set by the business).
  4.  It provides clear and logical steps and actions that can be taken rather than relying on pithy management / motherhood statements. Transitioning leaders need actionable steps to follow rather than guiding principles.


If there is a limitation to concepts in this book, it is that it is pitched more at the middle / senior Manager transitioning to a new role than a supervisor / team leader transitioning. The lessons are still applicable, but less able to be fully implements with a role with rigidly set KPI’s and direction from above.


If considering a new role or preparing to step up and take on a new leadership challenge, this book is worth the read to ensure you solidly prepare for your future success.


Have you read the book? What do you think? We would love to hear your thoughts or reviews.

Last modified on Thursday, 20 October 2011 01:49

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