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Holiday Reading I: The First 90 days

Author: Michael Watkins
Harvard Bussiness School Press
We have been told that we will be change agents when we return to industry. Now, how do we fit into our new found positions of responsibility? 'Build sponsorship from the top and trust at the bottom.' , said Ralph Katz in the first month of the SDM program. That is great advice and a start but then what next?

This nugget I found in a Barnes and Noble near my place, may have more answers. It is for anyone trying to settle down into her new found position of responsibility.This could be one of us trying to adjust to the real world after this program on an experienced executive who is settling into a CEO position.

One recurring theme on this book is that whatever got you up to this point will not take you further. It is time to adapt to your new universe.Watkins offers the following steps to get into gear.

Most of us take on new jobs and consume a certain quantity of value. Then we reach a breakeven point where we contribute as much value as we take in and then and only then move beyond to contribute more than we consume. This book intends to get to this breakeven point sooner.

1. Promote Yourself: This is not with a PR team but getting out of your own old mental models and to fit into your new roles. Identify your comfort zones then identify areas of your new job which will require you to step out of them. Assess your vulnerabilities, watch your strengths, relearn how to learn and rework your network.

2. Accelerate your learning: Learn all you can about the company, its products, its performance, it's root causes and its History of change. Learn its present vision, strategy, its people, its processes, its land mines and where you can have your early wins. Ask about the company's future: opportunities, challenges, barriers, resources and culture.Learn about your comapn from your customers, distributers, suppliers, outside analysts, R&D, Sales, purchasing, staff, integrators and natural Historians.

Create your learning plan. By the first month, you must have your preliminary results and a hypothesis.Analyse a few key processes, meet key integrators, and then update your questions and your hypothesis. Meet your boss and discuss your observations.

Learn how organizational, professional and geographic cultures interact within your organization.

3. Match Strategy with Situation: The business situation you are in could be a hybrid of one or more of the following: Startup, Turnaround, Reallignment or Sustaining Success.In the first two situations one needs to make quick decisions with limited data. In the next two, you have some more time on your hands.

4. Secure Early Wins: On the other side of the coin are avoiding early failures. The common traps here include failing to focus, not considering the business situation, non allignment with organizational culture, failing to win what matters with the boss, and letting means getting more attention than ends.
5. Negotiate success with your boss so that both of you are on the same page in terms of expectations.
6. Achieve Allignment: This is where your figure out if your organization's strategey is sound.
7. Build your team: For this your approach must be systematic and strategic
8. Maintain balance between your personal and professional life.
9. Expedite everyone, both at the top and at the bottom.






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