Top critical review
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Second-hand ideas - buy FIRST 90 DAYS instead
on January 21, 2005
"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
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. However, I do appreciate the concise 10 guidelines for each of the eight steps. And the appendices also offer practical advice. These contributions earned the two stars rating.
By the way, to complete the "cut-and-paste" issue, please take a look at Gerald M. Czarnecki's book from 2003: "You're in charge ... what now? - Seven essential steps for work leader success". Same title. Same topic. Only different authors...
Being a reader, I obviously do not care much about who owns the intellectual rights to the ideas. It's just that I do not like to buy a new book on a favourite topic just to learn that I've read all the ideas before in another book on the subject. At least, I would expect an online reviewer to tell me. Well, that's why I wrote this piece...
MSc in International Business (Marketing & Management) and Graduate Diploma in E-business