The actions taken during the first three months of a new job will largely determine whether you succeed or fail in the long term. The goal should be transition acceleration, not just failure prevention. This article offers a blueprint for addressing the linked challenges of personal transition and organizational transformation that confront all leaders in their first few months in a new job. Five propositions are: (1) The root causes of transition failure always lie in a pernicious interaction between the situation (with its opportunities and pitfalls), and the individual (with his/her strengths and vulnerabilities); (2) There are systematic methods that leaders can employ to both lessen the likelihood of failure and reach the breakeven point faster; (3) The overriding goal in a transition is to build momentum by creating virtuous cycles that build credibility and by avoiding getting caught in vicious cycles that damage credibility; (4) Transitions are a crucible for leadership development and should be managed accordingly. They strengthen diagnostic skills, demand growth and adaptation, and test personal stamina. Transitioning is a teachable skill; (5) Adoption of a standard framework for accelerating transitions can yield big returns for organizations. Everyone (bosses, direct reports, and peers) needs to speak the same “transition language”. Match leadership strategy to situation – methodically diagnose the situation and match your strategy to it: Step one – Diagnose the business situation. The four broad types of business situations: start‐up, turnaround, realignment, and sustaining success. Each presents a distinct set of challenges. This article defines actions for each. Step two – create a 90‐day transition acceleration plan. A framework of the ten key transition challenges is included in the article.
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