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A framework of the ten key transition challenges is included in the article. Watkins, M. Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Please share your general feedback. You can start or join in a discussion here. Visit emeraldpublishing. Abstract The actions taken during the first three months of a new job will largely determine whether you succeed or fail in the long term.

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If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form. Contact us. One's point of view will change over time, but starting with well-formed thoughts helps to speed a transition. Diagnosing the organization and environment. This involves; digging beneath the surface to understand the organization's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats; gaining knowledge regarding the competitive environment; and understanding the culture and politics. Assessing key people and relationships. Most important is to establish a dialogue with one's boss to understand her persona communication style, expectations, and the scope of authority the boss wants the new manager to exercise.

It is essential to reach alignment with the boss on the business situation and key priorities and to begin negotiating resource commitment. Also necessary is to assess one's team to determine the "keepers," to determine the desired organizational structure, and to put processes in place to guide and measure the team.

A new leader must also determine which stakeholders are critical to success, and begin building relationships with them.

Assessing personal vulnerabilities. It is important for leaders in new roles to assess their own vulnerabilities and weaknesses so that the learning plan can address them.

The First 90 Days Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels

A personal vulnerability may be a "comfort zone" related to a prior position, a lack of technical knowledge, lack of relationships, or difficulty extricating oneself from a previous position. Leaders must understand and overcome their vulnerabilities to perform well in their new role. Finding the best sources of knowledge.

New leaders should seek out those with deep organizational knowledge who can help them get up to speed and learn from previous organizational mistakes. Excellent sources include the informal "company historians" who have been there for years and know "where the bodies are buried.

The first 90 days are crutial to success at any new job – Book summary

Identifying places for early wins. Good leaders seek to create positive momentum through early successes. They find areas to achieve quick success and put plans in place to deliver. Types of transitions, and therefore learning plans, vary based on the personal situation of the individual and the specific business situation. Personal Situations.

The emphasis of the learning plan will differ based on each person's background, experience, previous roles, and specific transition. For example: External vs. Line vs. Functional vs. Business Situations. Some business situations are clear, while others will not be obvious and may spark disagreement. Is it important to achieve clarity and alignment on the business situation.

In some circumstances, leaders will assume roles having elements of multiple business situations. The most common business types are: Startup: The key transitional challenges are marshalling resources and creating the right team. Turnaround : Due to problems with the business, there is clearly a need for action, with transitional emphasis on focus, technical skills, and fixing the fundamentals.

Realign : This is a going business with underlying problems. Realigns are difficult as some in the organization may not see the problems and perceive the business as healthy. The key challenge is building consensus around the underlying problems. Sustain : This is a business where the challenge is to sustain success. Learning challenges involve defining future success, filling the shoes of a successful leader, and earning the trust of an established team.

Book Review- The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels

The traps new leaders fall into are remarkably consistent. Communication traps.

More by Michael D. Watkins

Examples include becoming isolated and not tapped into the formal and informal informational flows, coming in with "the answer" which can appear arrogant and hurt morale, and setting unrealistic expectations. Cultural and political traps.

This involves making cultural missteps and alienating some in the organization. A political trap is getting "captured" by the wrong people and creating waves. In a transition, be an impartial mediator. Other common traps. These include attempting to do too much, and sticking too long with the existing team due to aversion to conflict or through hubris, believing that with you as the manager underperforming team members will excel.

There are clear benchmarks for where a new leader should be after 90 days.