Friday, December 21, 2007

Securing Early Wins

To build momentum in your new job, you have to get some early wins. But what a "win" is differes dramatically among the four situations. In The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels, Michael Watkins writes about the types of wins based on whether you are in a start-up, turnaround, realignment, or sustaining-success situation.

Wins Based on the Four Situations
Watkins writes about the types of wins based on the four situations:

  • Start-ups: Getting the right team in place and achieving strategic focus are key wins. Critically, you have to decide what you are not going to do -- and then you have to discipline your organization not to do it.
  • Turnarounds: Getting the right team in place is also a key potential early win, as is identifying the defendable core of the business and making major progress in paring the organization back to it.
  • Realignment: Gaining acceptance of the need for change and instilling a sense of urgency are often big early wins.
  • Sustaining-success: Gaining and displaying understanding of what has made the organization successful is a key early win, because it helps you win the right to make decisions about organization's future.

Key Take Aways
I cant relate to the flavors of wins. I see it as similar to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. You can't worry about higher level aspirations, if you haven't taken care of the basics. Taking care of the basics and having the right focus, builds momentum:

  • In a start-up, you need to have the right team in place and be focused on the right things.
  • In a turnaround, it's about knowing your unique value based on the market and play to your strengths.
  • In a realignment, it's an uphill battle if not everybody agrees anything needs to change. This is tough when there's a bunch of different vantage points, perspectives, and anticipation abilities.
  • In sustaining-success, the key is to really identify the patterns of success. Success leaves clues, so you can flip through your past to see what's worked well and carry that forward, and avoid what didn't work so well, or change the approach.

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