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Sunday, March 22, 2009

How Executives Can Survive the First 90 days.


This is the first of several posts of the coming week based on my book review of The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leader at All Levels by Michael Watkins (Harvard Press).

**Startling Statistic: Executives coming into a company fail at the rate of 40-50% at a cost of $2.7 million to the company.

According to Harvard Business School professor Michael Watkins, an executive gets 90 days (three months) to move from a value consumer (costing the organization) to a value creator (value added)—and thus hit the break-even point. The faster this transition takes place the better off the organization is and the more likely the transitioning executive is to be successful. As mentioned, the failure rate for senior executive outside hires into a company is a whopping 40-50%, at a cost of $2.7 million per executive in both direct and indirect costs. Watkins does an excellent job setting up a new executive to succeed. He uses ten steps (PAMS-NAB-CRE)—I need mnemonics to help me remember things. I'll review each of the steps in the next week. You may want to buy this book if you're heading off to a new job--if just as an insurance policy.

One note: I've been working with transitioning executives for some time now--those coming into a new company from the outside, those being promoted from within, and those leaving the company. I've found the process of transition to be done exceptionally and uniformly poorly. In fact, I'd say with rare exception, it's never done well and the results are universally devastating for the employee, his family and the company. Truly, these transitions are the most blatant lose-lose situations I've seen.

Post your transition stories here.

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