Starting off right

Last January I left my previous job to join the Talent Management team at MnSCU.  One book was recommended to me multiple times  – Michael Watkins’ excellent primer on management transition, (Watkins, Michael & Daly, Peter H. The First 90 Days in Government. Harvard Business School Publishing. 2006.)

While the book is particularly useful for new leaders, I think it has many insights that are valuable no matter how long you have been in your position. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day work and not be intentional about longer-term strategies that can increase your value to the organization and enhance your career. I particularly like the five important conversations that Watkins recommends employees should have with their leaders. They are summarized How to Succeed with Your New Boss.

  1. Situational diagnosis conversation – What are the key challenges facing your leader and the organization?
  2. Expectations conversation – What are your leader’s top priorities?  What will success look like?
  3. Style conversation – What is your leader’s communication style? How can you align it with your own style?
  4. Resources conversation – What resources of time, information, and funding do you need in order to be successful?  How can your leader help you acquire them?
  5. The professional development conversation – How does your current position relate to your career goals?  Are there special projects or assignments that would be interesting to you?

These conversations, along with the strategies outlined in Watkins’ book, were valuable to me as a new employee. I think they will continue to help me be successful moving forward.

Dee Anne Bonebright


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