The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan: A book review by Bob Morris

The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan: How to Take Charge, Build Your Team, and Get Immediate Results
George B. Bradt, Jayme A. Check, and Jorge E. Pedraza
John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (2009)

Finis origine pendet” (The end depends on the beginning.)

The aphorism offered by Latin poet Marcus Manilius would be an appropriate core concept on which George B. Bradt, Jayme A. Check, and Jorge E. Pedraza could establish a foundation for the onboarding process they introduce in this book, an expanded Second Edition. In fact, what they present involves more than a process; it is, in fact, a cohesive, comprehensive, and cost-effective system for anyone who is considering or who has just accepted a position that involves increased leadership and management responsibilities.

For either an internal promotion or for an external hire, the primary objective is the same: Get everyone involved “on board” as quickly and as smoothly as possible. The co-authors include some rock-solid advice on how to have a complete onboarding system already in place before there is (a) an internal promotion within a department, (b) an internal promotion or reassignment from elsewhere within the given organization, or (c) a new hire from outside that organization. Bradt and co-author Mary Vonnegut cover all of that much more thoroughly in Onboarding: How to Get Your New Employees Up to Speed in Half the Time.

Specifically, in Parts I and II of The New Leader’s 100 Day Action Plan, the co-authors explain how an individual should

• Position one’s self for a new leadership role or promotion
•  Negotiate the terms and condition
•  Avoid the most common “land mines”
•  Complete due diligence
•  Handle an internal promotion
•  Embrace the “fuzzy front end” (i.e. first 100 days on the job)
•  Decide how to engage the new culture
•  Drive action with an ongoing communication campaign
•  Take control immediately (i.e. on Day One)

Then in Part III, they introduce and thoroughly explain how their reader can formulate and then implement a “100 Day Action Plan.” They offer an abundance of resources that include five appendices and several dozen downloadable “tools” with worksheets. Appendix III, for example, focuses on the most important communication issues such as Context or Frame, Timing, Style, Body Language, Actions, Inaction and Silence, Rhythm and Repetition, Visuals, and Second- and Third-Hand Channels; downloadable tools include “”Culture Change Management,” “Communication Planning,” and “Crisis Management Checklist.”

Whereas in Onboarding, Bradt and Mary Vonnegut focus primarily on what an organization can do – indeed must do – to enrich as well as expedite the process, in this volume, he and his co-authors focus primarily on the process from the new leader’s perspective. For that reason, if your organization has devoted relatively little (if any) serious attention to the process (as is true, regrettably, of most organizations), I urge you to purchase both books. Yes, there are some redundancies but so what? They reinforce key points, one of them stressing that those who “come aboard” as well as their new associates deserve better preparation and more considerate than is usually the case. That is not only dumb, it’s wasteful.


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