Race to the Top: Your First 90 Days

Q: I have been working for a new company for about two weeks. A friend gave me a book: The First 90 Days. Have you read it and should I?first-90-days

A: There are a few business books that everyone should read and this is one of them. “The First 90 Days: Critical Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels” is written by Michael Watkins and Published by the Harvard Business School Press. In a nut shell, the book provides great observations and recommendations on how to work when you are new and to ensure that you are leaving everyone you touch with that critical first impression. It also makes clear that if you have a plan for how to leave your best possible first impression, you will quickly develop a following in your organization and set your career on overdrive. Here are my general thoughts:

First, the book makes clear that you need a plan when you start a new job. I believe this is a very important premise for people who want to get ahead and want to get ahead fast. When you are new to a position, you are working with a clean slate and you can position yourself without having to worry about anything. To take advantage of this unique period, you need to have some clear goals and objectives. For example, you may want to set a goal of meeting all of the senior managers, even the leaders you will not likely work with on a day to day basis. When I worked in Washington, D.C., I met a first-time Congressman from Utah who was walking door-to-door introducing himself to all of the other members of the House of Representatives. That’s 435 people! When I asked him what else he was doing that day he replied. “Nothing. I don’t see how I can get anything done until I have met all of my colleagues.” Congress is a different environment, but the lesson here is very similar. Use your time as the new person to put other people first because it can pay big dividends.

I also like the book because it gives specific suggestions and it addresses important issues that, for some people, can be uncomfortable. For example, the first chapter addresses self-promotion. We all know people who are natural self-promoters, but the vast majority of people I have met would suggest that they are a select few, which means most people have to learn how to promote themselves and their work in a manner that fits with their respective personalities. It also highlights how to find the best sources of information, how to secure “early wins,” and how to build a winning team. Mastering all of these things (and more) is critical if you want to get ahead at work.

Lilyanne has worked in corporate America for 25 years and has supported eight CEOs. She wants to answer your career questions – so you can get ahead at work. Email your questions to Lilyanne@racetothetopcareers.com <mailto:Lilyanne@racetothetopcareers.com> , rttcareers@gmail.com or through your favorite connection to the Houston Forward Times.