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You're in Charge, Now What?: The 8 Point Plan Paperback – March 27, 2007


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You're in Charge, Now What?: The 8 Point Plan + The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter, Updated and Expanded + The New Leader's 100-Day Action Plan: How to Take Charge, Build Your Team, and Get Immediate Results
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business; Reprint edition (March 27, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400048664
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400048663
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,193 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. For any manager in a new position, from CEO to department subhead, the title's question is of paramount importance. The authors of this seminal book, top brass at leading global executive search firm Spencer Stuart, answer it with a comprehensive approach to maximizing the first 100 days on the job, drawing dramatically on the experience of more than 50 chief executives (as well as other corporate personnel) interviewed in depth. The authors' clear, sound eight-point plan covers the bases of what incoming business leaders need to know, from how to prepare physically and mentally for the first 100 days to crafting a strategic agenda; dealing with and transforming corporate culture; shaping the management team; working with a boss or a board; and more. What truly distinguishes this book from available management volumes, besides its inspiring hit-the-ground-running approach, is the material gleaned from the chief executives (among them, for example, Gary Kusin of Kinko's; Paul Pressler of Gap Inc.; Jonathan F. Miller of AOL; Steve Bennett of Intuit), which is full of entertaining, enlightening first-person anecdotes. Notably, this material focuses on steps to avoid as well as on appropriate actions to take. Lawrence Summers, for instance, named president of Harvard University in 2001, recalls that he "didn't fully appreciate the importance of simply providing traditional institutional reassurance.... I failed to appreciate that if you're going to be questioning everybody and challenging everybody, you have to do a lot of reassuring in return." Near book's end, Neff and Citrin (Lessons from the Top, etc.) distill their plan into two principles: "Listen and Learn. Underpromise and overdeliver." Their expert elaboration of those principles throughout will make their work a guiding light to many an incoming manager. First serial to Fast Company.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“Take it from someone who’s been there. You’re in Charge—Now What? asks all the right questions and tracks down all the right answers from people who ought to know.”
—Dick Parsons, chairman and CEO, Time Warner Inc.

“The secret road maps of many prominent leaders are revealed for the first time.”
—Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, Yale Chief Executive Leadership Institute

“Leavened by anecdote and enriched by the authors’ deep understanding of American corporate culture, this book isn’t just a navigational chart for the Big Cheese. It is also an entertaining read for the layman.” —Time

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Customer Reviews

I read the book cover to cover and made lots of notes.
Noah Nason
I enjoyed this book and thought the ideas and guidelines on how to make the best transition possible were very powerful.
Robert Kirk
Highly recommend this book to any leader that is taking over a significant new business.
Robert U. Craven

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

246 of 263 people found the following review helpful By Peter Leerskov on January 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover
"Writing a book is not that hard. You take the first 11 books on the subject and then you write the 12th". The Danish Philosopher Soren Kierkegaard said this already 150 years ago. And it's apparently still true.

Only in this case, the authors seem to have gotten their inspiration from one key source ... and that is Harvard professor Michael Watkins, who published "THE FIRST 90 DAYS - CRITICAL SUCCESS STRATEGIES FOR NEW LEADERS AT ALL LEVELS" in 2003. In that book, Watkins outlines 10 strategies for all leaders about to take up a new leadership position. By the way, Watkins' book is well written without any academic flavour.

What is Neff and Citrin's 8 POINT PLAN? The fundamental idea is: Get set to learn, listen well, set proper expectations, read the culture, build trust, lead by example, set the appropriate direction, and communicate effectively. These ideas are transformed to become the 8 steps for building your foundation towards great performance as a new manager:
1. Prepare Yourself During the Countdown
2. Align Expectations
3. Shape Your Management Team
4. Craft Your Strategic Agenda
5. Start Transforming Culture
6. Manage Your Board/Boss
7. Communicate
8. Avoid Common Pitfalls

If you read my online review of "The First 90 Days", you'll see that both books focus on exactly the same issues. But Neff and Citrin generously allow 100 days for new managers. Just like Machiavelli suggested for politicians...

I've read this book because I'm very interested in being better at taken on a new leadership position (a situation that I've tried five times in 15 years). Since I enjoyed "First 90 Days" a lot, I thought this book would add further to my knowledge on the subject. Unfortunately, it didn't.
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70 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 28, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Why would two headhunters want to write a book about best practices starting their jobs among new CEOs? Based on reading this book, I can only conclude that they wanted to show off the CEOs they had recruited for client companies in order to garner more business from those companies and to obtain CEO search assignments from new clients.

Having read many books on this subject, I can only assure you that this one adds nothing to the literature beyond some new cases. On the other hand, this book is no worse than any other book on the subject.

Those who will be most disappointed are readers who wanted to learn something new who have read other books on this subject. The next most disappointed group will be those who are taking on leadership jobs that will not involve heading companies or divisions. Those readers will find little specific information aimed at those needs.

With a natural market of 150 U.S. CEOs a year, why does a book like this sell many more copies? It's really a book that appeals to those who hope to be CEOs of large public companies someday, which will mostly be MBAs who are fairly young. Such readers can dream about how they would handle these same situations. While that can be fun, the time would be better spent on developing a new skill for your current and next job.

As I have noted before, best practices can be misleading. Best practices can suggest that there is no better route available.

That thought led me to think about what's missing from a book like this. Here are a few of the many examples I could list:

1. A description of what on-going measurements to put in place in order to understand where the company is today, how it needs to change and what its most realistic opportunities are.

2.
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101 of 112 people found the following review helpful By Robert David STEELE Vivas HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 9, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought two books on the first 100 days--this one and "The First 90 Days" by Michael Watkins. I found this book the most useful, and it quickly and immediately inspired me to prepare a succinct 100 day plan broken down into 10 day blocks, for a new $2 billion a year agency. Hence, I completely disagree with those that trash this book and recommend "The First 90 Days" instead of this book. I do find both books useful--read this one first, then cherry pick from Watkins.

Sure, anyone can cook a meal with the same ingredients, and sure, there are a number of books on this topic. For me, this book has exactly the right combination of white space, font size, lay-out, progressive structure, and inspiring snippets (including the all-important advocacy for having an in-house revolutionary).

I recommend this book be read in conjunction with Robert Buckman's "Creating a Knowledge-Driven Organization," Margaret Wheatley's "Leadership and the New Science" (which Buckman told me inspired his own work), and Clayton Christensen's "The Innovator's Solution" (or you can just read my short summative reviews of those three books).
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By D. Kanigan VINE VOICE on December 31, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought "The First 90 days" by Michael Watkins and this book. I found this book to be a stronger and more practical guide. Both offered excellent guidance however Neff & Citrin produced a more interesting and readable (less text-book like) book with real life examples and a road map. Word of warning in that the book is written for senior business management and less applicable for lower levels of management or line positions.
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