In The First 90 Days Michael D. Watkins shares his thoughts and strategies for effectively navigating a job promotion or new leadership role. He makes the very obvious and astute point that the first three months in a new leadership position must be approached with many considerations in mind. Understanding what points to focus upon during the formative window of the transition will have a great deal to do with the long-term success of a leader. A promotion is an affirmation and a great vote of confidence in the individual by the organization. Making the effort to transition successfully by giving proper consideration to the importance of the redefined relationships, the new leadership expertise that is required, the goals of the company, the problems one was hired to address, and the expectations of superiors are some of the topics that Watkins clarifies in this easily readable volume.
While the critical time period for a successful transition naturally differs from career to career, 90 days is used to illustrate how quickly those who are being led and those who supervise the newly promoted leader are forming their perceptions on his or her future effectiveness.
An earned promotion is a significant step for an aspiring leader in their career of choice. Often new leaders make the understandable mistake relying on old skill sets and patterns of behavior that have made them successful in past positions, yet find that they are inadequate or incomplete for the new role into which they have been placed. Watkins identifies several areas on which the newly promoted leader would be well served to concentrate for a successful transition and for future success.
The reader is encouraged to recognize that in a transition one can find themselves in a weak position for a number of reasons. Accurately recognizing and assessing the challenges and possibilities of the new role is crucial. Watkins speaks specifically about the formation and handling of crucial relationships, particularly with supervisors, peers and those who also desired the promotion for themselves. Quickly acquiring new skills required for the performance of the job as well as making the effort to take on tasks that are outside of their area of comfort are steps in the right direction.
The book introduces the reader to several areas for consideration following a promotion. Watkins repeatedly cautions the reader against relying on “old habits”. Challenging oneself by leaving behind old ways of performing and upgrading your competencies is a theme throughout the book. Taking time to develop an action plan that is right for the new leader is also addressed. Special mention of effectively assessing the strengths of your team and reorganizing said team with purpose is highlighted for the reader. Seeking ways to effectively communicate and receive feedback is also explained as being vital to the new leader. In addition, tips on how to understand and engage positively in the politics of the organization are referenced several times throughout.
As demonstrated in the pages of the First 90 Days, leadership is an intentional set of actions, and a positive culture is created through focus attention to detail and a commitment to an ideal. At Fired Up! Culture it is our mission to help new leader be successful both in the near and long-term.