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

Maybe this book, The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels, was the first career- related book I read when I started my career 10 years ago, and since then, I read it 4 or 5 times. If you think that job transition is not for you then you may need to think twice. The book started with some numbers..employees do at least one transition every 1.3 years. Whether it is an internal transition within the same company, form one company to another and from one industry to another, we all do this transitions.

firstThese numbers mean that the breakeven point (where the value that the company gets from the employee equals the value that it provides him/her) costs too much for the company, so we need to pan to squeeze it to 3 months instead of 6.2 months as the author revealed in the book.

Every time I read the book, I learn new things and get to notice new issues. Maybe because my understanding of certain topics depends on my experience with these issues.

The topics that the book covers are:

  1. Proven yourself
  2. Accelerate your learning
  3. Match strategy to a situation
  4. Negotiate success
  5. Secure early wins
  6. Achieve alignment
  7. Build your team
  8. Create alliances
  9. Manage yourself
  10. Accelerate everyone

The book provides many helpful tips starting from the importance of taking a mental break between jobs up to negotiating success, building teams, and learning plans.

The most important three tips that worked so good for me are:

  1. Create a learning plan before starting each transition and/ or a structured learning process.
  2. Define clear outcomes/ expectations.. this is also related to one of the 7 habits of highly effective people book: Begin with the End in Mind.
  3. Create quick wins as early as I can.

My concern about the book is that it puts so much emphasis on the employee’s role but not his/her manager’s role. The book assumes that the new employee will have that much of maturity and sense of responsibility to put a learning plan, negotiate success and think of how to get alliances while in reality, these issues vary from one person to another. Therefore, there must be a most structured and slid role for the hiring manager as well.

All in all, the book is a must and I believe it has to be part of onboarding programs for newly hired employees in any company and from any level.


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