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Tom Neff and Jim Citrin are two of the world’s leading experts on leadership and career success. As key figures at Spencer Stuart (hailed by the Wall Street Journal as the number one brand name in executive ...
Tom Neff and Jim Citrin are two of the world’s leading experts on leadership and career success. As key figures at Spencer Stuart (hailed by the Wall Street Journal as the number one brand name in executive search), they must understand the criteria for success when they recruit top executives for new leadership positions.
Through compelling, first-hand stories you will hear from people such as Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of GE, on how his career has been a series of successive first hundred days. Larry Summers, president of Harvard University, talks candidly about what he could have done differently in his early days to avoid dissipating goodwill among the diverse constituencies important for his future success. Gary Kusin of Kinko’s shares the specifics of the hundred-day action plan he crafted for himself before he started his new job. Paul Pressler of Gap Inc. shows how he developed a general strategic agenda that established fundamental principles and goals, waiting to prepare a more detailed strategic plan until later in his tenure.
Tom Neff and Jim Citrin’s actionable eight-point plan will be the foundation for your success—whether you are moving to a new organization or being promoted—showing how to:
- Prepare yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally from the time you accept until the time you begin
- Manage others’ expectations of you—bosses, colleagues, and subordinates
- Shape and build the team that will work with you
- Learn the lay of the land and find out how things “really work around here”
- Communicate your story effectively to people inside and outside the organization
- Avoid the top ten traps that confront every new leader, such as disrespecting your predecessor, misreading the true sources of power in the organization, or succumbing to the “savior syndrome”
When you start a new job you are in what AOL’s Jon Miller calls a “temporary state of incompetence,” faced with having to do the most when you know the least. But with the eight-point plan of You’re in Charge—Now What? you’ll understand and be able to take action on the patterns that will build your success.
Also available as an eBook
From the Hardcover edition.
PREPARING FOR THE RACE BEFORE YOU REACH THE STARTING LINE
When does a race begin? At the starting line, when you are taking your last deep breath in anticipation of the starter's gun? Earlier that day, when you follow the rituals that focus your mind on the race ahead? Or weeks or months in advance, when you construct the training program that will enable you to meet and manage the upcoming trial?
WALK IN WITH A "STRATEGIC PROCESS"
Everyone's countdown period to a new leadership position is different, depending on whether they come into a new position from inside their organization or were recruited from the outside, whether they are entering a company in crisis or in a stable environment, and whether they are jumping right into a new job from an already demanding one or have the luxury of some free time for additional preparation.
But all countdown periods share a common goal: to learn as much as possible about the new world you're about to enter so that you can figure out how to best explore and navigate your way through it. To accomplish that, says Dave Peterschmidt, CEO of the Internet security firm Securify and former CEO and COO respectively of Internet pioneers Inktomi and Sybase, "You shouldn't expect to walk into a new leadership job with an established strategic plan. Rather, you should walk in prepared to lead a strategic process."
This is a process of multiple dimensions. You're clearing and focusing your thoughts so that you can diagnose the challenges and opportunities of the new situation. You're identifying key constituencies and starting to forge alliances and build new relationships. You're attempting to flush out biases while distilling valuable information from people who have key insights into the company. You're thinking about all that needs to be done in the context of your own skills and experience. You're considering the strength of the managers who will soon make up your team, and you're hypothesizing about where the holes are likely to be. Simultaneously, you're preparing yourself emotionally for a major life transition and taking steps to get your family and support infrastructure ready to run without you for a period of time.
THE VALUE OF PREPARATION
By now, just about everyone knows that Lance Armstrong is the record-breaking six-consecutive-times winner of the Tour de France, one of the most grueling endurance contests in the world. His success is based not only on his extraordinary athletic ability, supernatural lung capacity, and ferocious competitive drive fired by his heroic conquering of cancer, but also on the intensive time and energy he invests in preparing for the race. In his memoir, It's Not About the Bike, Armstrong discusses the importance of building the right team, learning the course, and ensuring that he and his support staff have the right training, the proper conditioning, and the best equipment to go for the win. He literally memorizes the entire 2,106-mile course, diligently researching every conceivable permutation of wind, weather, and temperature affecting each curve and straightaway.
No serious athlete walks into a competition without prior preparation. It should be no different when you are approaching a challenging new business assignment. You too are entering a race. If you are not sharp and at the top of your game before the starting gun fires, you will squander a golden opportunity and diminish your chances of achieving your goals.
"The countdown establishes the foundation to maximize your chances for success," says Dan Schulman, CEO of Virgin Mobile USA. "The...