ICE Book Review: The First 90 Days – Proven Strategies for Getting Up To Speed Faster

By: Rob Cooney

Career transitions are a fact of life as people advance in their careers.  This may be even more so in medical education, where faculty may advance as clinicians, educators, researchers, and/or administrators.  Unfortunately, career transitions are also a source of stress and frustration for employees.  This may be due to ambiguous roles, unfulfilled expectations, or poor guidance, amongst many other reasons.

With these factors in mind, the author set out to explore transitions and provide guidance that may help you more effectively manage your career transitions.

The first 90 days.jpgConsider the following:

New to your role?  May sure to mentally “promote yourself.”  Too often we fail to let go of our old roles as new requirements are expected of us.  Our old job requirements are comfortable and we have trouble giving them up to other people.  You must also recognize that the same skills that got you to your new role will probably be insufficient for success in that role.  Guess what-the learning curve just got steep again!

Next you need to “accelerate your learning.”  Take a step back and figure out your learning needs.  This will help you to markedly improve your transition.  Perhaps you need to review your organizations history?  Perhaps you need to sit down and interview your predecessor, boss, or subordinates (make sure to figure out what you want to learn and structure the interview)? Make sure that you’re ready to fail; learning will involve some failure on your part.  Treat it like research: ask a good question, make an assumption, and test that assumption. (Plan, Do, Study, Act, perhaps?)

Further chapters explore the nuances that occur next.  These include:

  • Recognizing the type of situation your organization falls into (start-up, turn around, realignment, or sustaining success)
  • Securing early wins for you and your team

“At the 90 day mark, you want your boss, peers, and subordinates to feel something good is happening.”

  • Building relationships (there’s a nice section here about the 5 types of overarching conversations you will have)
  • Negotiating success

“Shape the game to have a chance of success.”

  • Achieving alignment

“Don’t just make change for changes sake.”

  • Building your team

Don’t lose good people or hold on to the existing team too long if it’s not working.

  • Creating coalitions

As Felix would ask, who’s in your “advice network?”

  • Keeping balanced (i.e. Wellness)
  • Expediting everyone

Start training your replacement right away.

Throughout the chapters, I enjoyed the many listed traps.  As I transition into my new role as a program director, I will no doubt make many mistakes; however, I will hopefully avoid making many of those listed in this book.

(From the E-i-C:  I picked up this book when I recently started a new administrative position.  Practical, applicable advice.  The money spent on the purchase was recouped 1000’s of times over by avoiding rookie mistakes in a new job.  – Jonathan)

Featured image via Pexels