Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Your Next Move: The Leader's Guide to Successfully Navigating Major Career Transitions

I recently read Your Next Move: The Leader's Guide to Successfully Navigating Major Career Transitions. The book is very appropriate for my current circumstances. I'm still considering what my next move will be.

Michael Watkins is author of The First 90 Days. Although I don't use his exact system, I have implemented a variation of that in everything I do.

The First 90 Days talks about 7 elements of successful transitions.

1. Organize to Learn. - Figure out what you most need to learn, from whom, and how you can best learn it. Focus on the right mix of technical, cultural, and political learning. This one is not a problem for me. If anything, I likely enjoy learning so much that I can spend too much time in it rather than doing.

2. Establish A-list priorities. Identify a few vital goals and pursue them relentlessly. Think early about what you need to accomplish by the end of year one in the new position.

3. Define strategic intent Develop and communicate a compelling mission and vision for what the organization will become. Outline a clear strategy for achieving the mission and realizing the vision.

4. Build the leadership team - Define your assessment criteria and evaluate the team you inherited. Move deftly to make the necessary changes; find the optimal balance between bringing in outside talent and promoting high-potential leaders within the organization.

5. Lay the organizational foundation for success . Identify the most important supporting changes you need to make in the structure, processes, and key talent bases of the organization. Put a plan in place for addressing the most pressing organizational weaknesses.

6. Secure early wins. build personal credibility and energize people by identifying "centers of gravity" where you can get some early successes. Organize the right set of initiatives to secure early wins.

7. Create supportive alliances. Identify how the organization really works and who has influence. Understand who needs to champion your success and create key alliances in support of your initiatives."

Your next move talks about

1. The Promotion Challenge - Understanding what "success" looks like at a higher level in the hierarchy. Adjusting your focus and approach to delegation. Developing new leadership competencies and cultivating "presence."

2. The Leading-Former-Peers Challenge - Being promoted to manage people who were formerly your peers. Deftly establishing your authority in the new role. Reengineering existing relationships. Dealing with problematic former peers.

3. The Corporate Diplomacy Challenge - Moving from a position of authority to one in which strong influence skills are critical for getting things done. Mapping the influence landscape. Building supportive alliances.

4. The Onboarding Challenge - Joining an organization and adapting to a new culture. The pillars of effective on-boarding. Building the right political "wiring." Aligning expectations up, down and sideways.

5. The International Move Challenge - Moving to a new country and leading people in an unfamiliar culture. Moving one's family and rebuilding the support system. Preparing for entry. Beginning to engage with the team and the business.

6. The Turnaround challenge - Taking over an organization that is in very deep trouble and figuring out how to save it from destruction. Diagnosing the situation, designing the business model, driving alignment, and dynamically adapting.

7. The Realignment challenge - Confronting an organization that is in
denial about the need for change. Creating a sense of urgency before emerging problems erupt in a crisis. Adjusting your leadership style to match the situation.

I think the book is very appropriate if you know what your next move is going to be. I particularly like the propensity for action and keeping the action periods short, demanding meaningful results in relatively short period of time, things like early winds.

I was expecting from the title that it would be more applicable to my personal situation and helping me decide what to do next.

It's still a great book.


At 10:57 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Jim, the ideas in this book is very similar to the current book that I am reading titled 'The New Leader's 100 - Day Action Plan' by George Bradt et al.

I think you will enjoy it, as well.

At 8:00 AM, Anonymous scheng1 said...

It's extremely difficult to learn to read people well.
Building a great team requires a deep understanding of human nature, ability to recognize potentials, and ability to motivate.
Some people just do not have the talent to spot greatness in anyone, much less to motivate and train others.


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