Book Review: The New Leaders’ 100-Day Action Plan

by Jennifer Miller on November 10, 2011

in Book Review, Leadership

Thinking of taking on a bigger leadership role, either inside your company or with a new one? Chances are you already know that getting a strong start is critical to your success. You may be surprised to know exactly just how early a start you need to get. According to authors George Bradt, Jayme Check and Jorge Pedraza – you should start your leadership transition before you even interview for the job. Now that’s what I call serious proactive measures.

The Book’s Premise

In their book The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan: How to Take Charge, Build Your Team, and Get Immediate Results, the authors put forth the central premise of preparedness. In this revised, third edition the authors state “a new leader’s role begins as soon as that person is an acknowledged candidate for the job. Everything new leaders do and say will send powerful signals, starting well before they even walk in the door on Day One.” The authors mean what they say. Day One doesn’t even show up until Chapter 7.

The Rundown

In the first six chapters, the reader is given advice on how to:

  • Find your leadership “voice” and chart your career path
  • Interview for the job
  • Conduct “due diligence” on the company, leadership role and team
  • Set up introductory meetings with key stakeholders prior to Day One
  • Structure a pre-employment cascade of communications to set up a successful Day One.

Chapter 7 is devoted entirely to making Day One a highly productive and successful first day. It covers such far-reaching considerations as where to physically locate on Day One if you lead more than one geographical location, dress code considerations and a list of common first-day mistakes that leaders make.

Chapter 8 is a chapter on communication, covering both the types of communications modes to consider (teleconference, social media, face-to-face meetings, etc.) and the subtleties of storytelling and unspoken “signs and symbols” that a leader conveys.

Chapters 9 – 13 cover the nuts and bolts of a leader’s first 100 days:

  • Embed a burning imperative
  • Create key milestones to drive team performance
  • Overinvest in early wins to build team confidence
  • Get the right people in the right roles

 

My Take on the Book

One of the best aspects of the book is that it provides detailed timelines and worksheets, many of which are downloadable at onboarding-tools.com. Using the worksheets online is free, but you do have to register with your name, email address and a password to access the site.

The book cover touts this book as “a comprehensive onboarding strategy for leaders at every level.” I agree with the “comprehensive” label; this is indeed a very structured and detailed account of what a leader needs in order to make a successful transition either internally or externally into an organization. I have a difference of opinion on the “leaders at every level” aspect of the book cover. This is a book that would most benefit someone at a senior leader (think director level or above). Many of the suggestions the authors make would not be financially or physically practical for a front-line supervisor or mid-level manager.

The Upshot

This is definitely not “light” reading or for the seat-of-the-pants type person. But if you are serious about making a successful leadership transition and making a positive impact in your new leadership role, you’ll want to give this book a try.

 

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book (pre-proof galley) for the purposes of reviewing it. It passed muster with me so I’m sharing this information with you.  Also, it would be a real drag for the Feds to show up and haul me away, so I’m following the  rules set forth by the FTC. Some of the links in the above post are affiliate links, meaning if you click on the link and purchase the item (looking is free), I will receive a commission. Hey, a girl’s gotta find a way to cover her blogging habit, right?


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

George Bradt November 10, 2011 at 11:03 am

Jennifer,

Appreciate the nice words. Thank you.

You are probably right about your “leaders at any level” point. Our bias is most definitely to the more senior leaders, leading big teams. Front-line supervisors and mid-level managers do end up picking and choosing which aspects of our plans to implement. I still think it’s useful for them to see the whole, comprehensive approach.

Jennifer November 10, 2011 at 11:12 am

George,

Thank you so much for visiting the People Equation! It’s rare for authors to make the time to do so when their books are reviewed. I appreciate your input!

As for the “leader at any level”- here are the parts of your book that I definitely think would be especially helpful to front line leaders: the sections on interviewing for a job and transferring internally into a new leadership position. These were very meaty sections of the book that would apply to anyone considering a leadership position.

Good stuff!

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