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Master your next move by Michael D. Watkins – Remarks

Posted by Raul Barral Tamayo en Martes, 2 de junio, 2020

Copyright 2019 Michael D. Watkins
All rights reserved

Your next professional move can make or break your career. Are you ready?

In business, especially today, you are only as successful as your next career transition. Do well, and you’ll be on the fast track to even more challenging roles. Fail, and you could irreparably harm your career–and your organization.

In his international bestseller The First 90 Days, transition guru Michael D. Watkins outlined a set of basic principles for getting up to speed quickly in new professional roles. Since that book was published Watkins has worked with thousands of leaders, helping them to accelerate their transitions. These leaders posed challenging questions on how to apply the basic principles in real-life situations. The truth that emerged: the First 90 Days framework can be applied in every transition, but the way you apply it is entirely different when you have been promoted to a higher level than it is when you are joining a new organization or taking a role in a different country.

Master Your Next Move answers a distinct need, focusing on the most common types of transitions leaders face and the unique challenges posed by each. Based on years of research, and now with a new introduction, this indispensable book explores eight crucial transitions virtually everyone encounters during their career, including promotion, leading former peers, onboarding into a new company, making an international move, and turning around a business in crisis.

With real-world examples and many practical models and tools, Master Your Next Move is your guide to surviving and thriving as you make your next move … and every one after that.

Michael D. Watkins, PhD, is the world’s foremost expert on accelerating leadership transitions. He is cofounder of Genesis, a leadership development consultancy based in Boston, Massachusetts.

Comments extracted from the book, they could be right or wrong, you decide for yourself:

  • Common mistakes, not learning neough about their new organization’s culture and politics, coming in with “the answer”, trying to do too much too soon, not aligning expectations.
  • The first 90 days framework.
    1. Accelerate your learning. The faster you learn about the technical, cultural and political dimensions of your new position or assignment, the more you’ll be able to accomplish in the critical first months.
    2. Match strategy to situation.  A clear assessment of the business situation is an essential prerequisite for developing your transition plan.
    3. Negotiate success. Planning for a series of critical conversations about the situation, expectations, working style and resources.
    4. Achieve alignment. Develop your strategy to realize that vision achieve your goals.
    5. Build your team. You must rapidly assess and reshape the team, and the align, organize, and energize it to achieve your goals.
    6. Secure early wins. Getting early wins is essential in order to build your credibility and create momentum.
    7. Create alliances. You need to build alliances to support your key initiatives. This identifying the most important people whose support you need and developing a plan for getting them onboard.
    8. Manage yourself. You need to be disciplined in deciding what you will and won’t do, and you must invest in building and leveraging the right network of advisers.
  • Eight classic types of transitions:
    1. The promotion challenge. Moving to a higher level.
    2. The leading-former-peers challenge. You have ben elevated to manage a team including your former peers.
    3. The corporate diplomacy challenge. Moving from a position of authority to one in which you need to be effective in influencing others.
    4. The onboarding challenge. Joining a new organization and grappling with the need to understand and adapt to the new culture.
    5. The international move challenge. Leading people in an unfamiliar culture while at the same time moving your family.
    6. The turnaround challenge. Taking over an organization that is in deep trouble and figuring out how to save it from failure.
    7. The realignment challenge. Inheriting an organization that’s in denial about its need for change.
    8. The business portfolio challenge. Leading an organization in which different units are in different modes.
  • This book is about how leaders can survive and thrive when dealing with the classic types of transitions that virtually everyone faces on their journey to the top.
  • To promote yourself, it also helps to distinguish between challenges that are common to most promotions and challenges that are specific to the level and position to which you’re ascending.
  • Newly promoted leaders tend to get into the most trouble; their experience better prepares them to deal with the common challenges of promotion (e.g., delegating differently) than to develop wholly new level-specific competencies.
  • Be an effective “problem finder”.
  • Understanding when to keep soaring and when to swoop down for a closer look is something that every leader needs to relearn each time he or she gets promoted.
  • Peter Drucker: “The ability to delegate lies at the heart of leadership”.
  • If you are leading an organization of five people, it may take sense to delegate specific task. In an organization of fifty people, your focus may shift from tasks to projects and processes. At five hundred people, you often need to delegate responsability for specific products or platforms. And at five thousand people, your direct reports may be responsible for whole businesses.
  • Conventional wisdom says that the higher up in the organization you go, the easier it is to get things done. Not necessarily. Paradoxically, when you get promote, positional authority becomes less rather than more important for pushing agendas forward. The process becomes more political which isn’t good or bad, simply inevitable. The issues you’re dealing with become much more complex and ambiguos when you move up a level.
  • Despite your positional authority, it’s actually the people who exhibit that expertise and create those worldviews who have the most influence on what happens.
  • At a higher level of the organization, critical constituencies are more capable and have stronger egos. You were promoted because you are able and driven; the same is true for everyone around you. So it shouldn’t come as a complete surprise that the decision-making game becomes that much more bruising and politically charged the higher up you go.
  • One inescapable reality of promotion is that you inevitably attract much more attention and a higher level of scrutiny.
  • You’ll increase your odds of making a sucessful transition if you can master the new skills required in your new role and let go of some of the behaviors that made you successful previously but that might not work as well in your new job.
  • The skills required of lower-level managers can often be reduced to rules and procedures. Higher-level promotions become less about acquiring specific skills and more about making the right shifts in mind-set.
  • Seven seismic shifts that functional leaders must make to become effective business unit leaders:
    1. From specialist to generalist. Some who grew up in marketing obviously cannot become a native speaker of operations or R&D, but he can become fluente, familiarizing himself with the central terms, tools, and ideas employed by the various functions whose work he must integrate with the rest of the unit.
    2. From analyst to integrator. It’s important for new business unit leaders to make the shift to managing integrative decision making and problem solving and, even more important, to learn how to make appropiate tradeoffs.
    3. From tactician to strategist.  They must be able to define and clearly communicate the mission and goals (what), the core capabilites (who), the strategy (how), and the vision (why) for their businesses.
    4. From bricklayer to architect. Business unit leaders must understand where and how strategy, structure, systems, processes and skill bases all interact.
    5. From warrior to diplomat. They identify opportunities for cross-company collaboration, reaching out to rivals to help shape the rules of the game.
    6. From problem solver to agenda-setter. When they reach business unit leader status, they must focus less on fixing problems nad more on recognizing and preventing what I call predictable surprises form ocurring in the first place.
    7. From supporting cast to lead role. Business unit leader are constantly “on stage”, being held to a higher standard, that of exemplary role model.
  • Use these questions to guide your analysis and develop your transition plan,
    • What does it mean to “promote yourself” into your new role? What must you do more of, even if you don’t enjoy or feel fully competent doing it? What do you need to do less of or let go?
    • Which of the common promotion challenges do you most need to focus on?
    • Which level-specific competencies do you need to develop to be sucessful at the new level?
    • What can your organization do to help you accelerate your development?
    • What do you need to do to meet the personal adaptive challenge? Do you need to enhance your self-awareness and, if so, in what ways? Do you need to exert discipline to do things that don’t come comfortably? Do you need to identify or recruit natural complements in your team? Do you need to alter your advice network or use it differently?
  • Being promoted to lead people who were formerly your peers is among the toughest transitions you can make, precisely because of the complex web of organizational relationships you’ve created over the years and must now redefine. The protocols, perceptions, and interactions must all be different now.
  • original entry: https://raulbarraltamayo.wordpress.com/2020/06/02/master-your-next-move-by-michael-d-watkins/
  • An unfortunate price of promotion is that your personal relationships with former peers must become less so.
  • Those first days of an internal promotion are more about symbolism than substance.
  • Companies should prepare the people who are not going to get promoted. The ability to do this is rooted, in part, in performance review and succession systems that do a rigorous job of evaluating performance and, critically, that shape realistic expectations about the potential for advancement.
  • You’ll of course need to recognize that disappointed competitors will go through stages of grieving similar to those defined by psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance) and that it will take some time for them to work through these feelings.
  • No question, an off-site can be a powerful vehicle for mobilizing change. Done right, the meeting can focus people’s attention, break down barriers, build commitment, and leave teams energized, aligned, and ready to do great things. But poorly planned and facilitated, such a meeting can go very badly.
  • You must algo recognize that you’ll have to grow into your new role, and that it’s going to take some time.
  • Don’t try to do too much in a single off-site meeting. You can’t realistically accomplish more than two of goals. Focus, and strive to stay focused.
  • The trap here is assuming that just because you and your boss are the same people, the relationship will stay the same. Just as your relationships with your former peers will change when you’re promoted internally, so will your interactions with your boss.
  • It is wise for new leaders to build new relationships in anticipation of future needs.
  • There is a difference between building relationships and building alliances.
  • Some alliances are founded on long-term shared interests that provide the basis for ongoing, supportive interactions; others are short-term arrangements that push specific agendas and then disband.
  • Understand people’s perceptions of their interests is only half the story. The other half is to understand how they perceive their alternatives.
  • On average, moves between units in the same company are rated to be 70 percent as difficult as joining a new company.
  • When the culture and political networks in organizations are working well, they prevent “bad thinking” and “bad people” from entering the building and doing damage. But if the system is working too well, even potentially good things coming from the outside can be destroyed.
  • Think hard before you reflexively reach back to your old organization for talent, lest it contribute to triggering an immune reaction. It is specially risky to “bring in your own people” if your new organization is a realignment or sustaining-success situation. In less-urgent situations, the reflex to bring in people you know can easily be interpreted to mean you’re dissatisfied with the level of talent in your new organization.
  • If you need to replace people on your team, the first place to look is one level below. The second best option is to hire people from the outside, just not from your old organization.
  • What is culture? It’s a set of consistent patterns people follow for communicating, thinking, and acting, all grounded in their shared assumptions and values.
  • Recruiting is like romance, and employment is like marriage: during the recruiting period, neither party gets a complete view of the other.
  • You should start by asking questions, not making statements, even if you’re pretty sure you know what the centra issues are. Let the members of the organization validate (or disprove) your theories. Don’t worry about setting up your office; go to the front lines right away, wherever they are.
  • When potentially unethical situations arise, and they will, sooner than you think, you must be decisive and consistent. “Zero tolerance” should be your guiding mantra. If you start making compromises early, you’ll find yourself on a very slippery slope.
  • Rather than freeze your focus on the data that’s missing, you should being to shape direction and priorities based on the information you have, taking a reasonable first cut at defining your strategic priorities and drafting plans to execute on them, while simultaneously determining ways to get the information you’re missing. Better to develop some reasonable direction than no direction at all.
  • When it comes to turnarounds, speed is of the essence. In the business context, your initial actions as the new leader of a turnaround should be just as urgent: you inmediatly try to stabilize the business, preserving the “defendable core” si it will survive. Then you can shift your attention toward reworking the business, laying the foundation for growth.
  • When people  fail to execute on their commitments, they make excuses rather than accept responsability.
  • The incentive system provides a core rationale for why people should want to act in productive ways.
  • Mission about overarching goals and what will be achieved. By contrast, a vision gives people a reason to go the extra mile.
  • As the old saw puts it, “plans never survive first contact with the enemy”. Good business strategy must be robust in the face of shifts in the environment.
  • “Bring me answers, not problems”, a dangerous philosophy that can give team members a handy excuse for not raising tough issues. Rather informed intervention: “Bring up issues early, and come prepared to talk about how you’ll diagnose root causes and being to deal with them”.
  • Changes in attitudes do lead to persistent changes in behavior, but the reverse also is true, and often the effect is greater.
  • If you gather people to work on a problem, they go in with certain assumptions, namely, that there is a problem. If you gather people to generally explore or diagnose a business situation, they don’t feel forced to reach conclusions about possible solutions, or about the depth of transformation needed, until they are prepared to so do.
  • If you reward people (through recognition, status, and advancement) for fighting fire, you shouldn’t be surprised if you end up with an organization of pyromaniacs.
  • You should seek out team members whose skills and styles complement your own.
  • How you achieve the early wins is as important as the victories themselves.
  • While each of the transition types has distinct features and demands, they all confront new leaders with the same fundamental imperatives: to diagnose the situation rapidly and well, to crystallize the organizational-change and personal adaptive challenges, to craft a plan that creates momentum, and to manage them for personal excellence.
  • Companies should recognize that effectiveness in transition acceleration is an essential element of enterprise risk management and a potential source of competitive advantage.
  • Companies should manage leadership-transition acceleration as they would any critical business process.
  • It doesn’t make sense to design different systems to accelerate different types of transitions. There is an underlying unity among the many distinct types of transitions. It is both feasible and desirable for companies to design unified systems to accelerate everyone.

Related books:



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