Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Transitioning at work? New role, new organization, new peers? Read these books and shape your strategy

I have been through different transitions on my professional life. New countries, new clients, new company, new roles… I have always approached them with optimism, passion, open eyes and high expectations. As you grow into more senior roles you start understanding first that the initial days (the famous 90 or 100 days) are critical into the job (more in my opinion in corporations than startups) and that there are a number of personal experiences that have worked for you in the past that may guide you. However I also realized that your personal managerial recipe that worked in your previous role may not work (or not fully) in your next one.
So I was eager to do some reading on the subject and structure my thoughts a little bit. After some research I landed on 2 books from Michael D. Watkins
Read Michael's profile on linkedin 

 His original book and claim to fame “Your first 90 days” – Critical Success Strategies for new leaders at all levels
Book reference in
- His latest book on the subject “Your next move” – The leader’s guide to navigating major career transitions
Book reference in

I am not going to try to summarize them but I can recommend their reading very strongly. I read first your next move where Michael tries to qualify the differences in the different types of moves (promotion challenge, leading-former-peers challenge, on-boarding challenge, international challenge and the realignment challenge). He uses examples of real life cases across different industries, both successes and failures which allow you to get closer to the examples and think about what you will do in such roles
On your first 90 days, he tries first to make a clear differentiation on his STAR framework (basically making a clear difference on when you join / transition into a startup, turnaround, alignment or sustaining success) as the way in which you make decisions, your define objectives, you balance listening vs. doing and overall expectations on your first 90 days are very different across those 4 scenarios
I found some of the exercises and some of the frameworks very useful on structuring your thoughts and strategies. Even if there was some ideas clear in my mind (do lots of listening, don’t come with recommendations too early, secure early wins, have a plan after 30 days, etc…) it was good to added a second level of detail or understanding on them and learn different tricks
For executives facing one of those transitions, for executive coaches involved on coaching similar situations, for managers trying to incorporate more skills into their playbook this is a MUST read

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