The First 90 Days

The First 90 Days by Michael Watkins is squarely aimed at the task of a manager coming in and dealing with a new team. Those first ninety days can really make or break a business relationship and it is well worth studying this information before you take on a new job.

Michael breaks down your task into these discreet steps: promote yourself, accelerate your learning, match your strategy to your situation, get early wins, negotiate success, achieve an alignment, build your team, create coalitions, keep your balance and expedite everyone. Each step gets its own discussion so you get a handle on how to succeed in each area.

New hires are often swamped with "learning things" - Michael helps you balance that learning with actually doing productive work. That way people feel energized by your being there and get a sense of your promise.

Even if you're moving up in the same organization or taking on new responsibilities a lot of these issues are still important. You want to maintain solid boundaries - otherwise you'll get angry and resentful at people taking advantage of you. You want to admit errors quickly so you're not thought of as rigid and undependable. You want to proactively deal with problems instead of avoiding them, manage your stress so you don't burn out, and have a support system to keep you going.

There are a few "real life" style examples in the book, but it primarily is laid out like a textbook to learn and study. While some might find this difficult to read, it is well worth treating a new job LIKE an important test you want to study for. You may not get a letter grade - but your job success is probably far more vital than any random chemistry exam ever was.

Yes, some of this might seem like "common sense" - but after all, many bosses fail. They just don't understand all the aspects of their job. It is well worth reading through this even if you know 8 out of 10 things listed. Getting a good handle on the remaining two might be the difference between success and failure.

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