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VINE VOICEon 17 February 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Michael Watkins is an expert in management transition, the move from one job to another. Your Next Move follows his highly successful earlier work, The First 90 Days. The structure of the book is laid out in the Introduction, each chapter is a look at one of eight popular types of transistion:
The Promotion Challenge
The Leading-Former-Peers Challenge
The Corporate Diplomacy Challenge
The Onboarding Challenge
The International Move Challenge
The Turnaround Challenge
The Realignment Challenge
The STARS Portfolio Challenge (a group of different challenges)

Each section uses an example. There are questions to think about during and at the end of each chapter, to help focus awareness for the person in transition. There were also references to a website with online tools.

The book is well worth reading. Most people who have, or who are about to change jobs, would benefit from reading through the relevant chapter, depending on the type of job move. There are some very useful tips on how best to approach certain situations, as well as a number of models to plan your transition strategy. I found it fascinating relating the book to individuals who I've observed coming into a new role in the last few years - and analysing their effectiveness in transition.

The questions in each chapter are a very good guide to the issues, focusing time to those aspects of the job which would benefit most time spent considering. I'm afraid I wasn't as impressed with the website, which was advertised as further help in the book.. I logged on to the site, and registered (which is free), but online tools were more just an advert for other books.

However, I would strongly recommend the book to anyone who is planning to, or already progressing in their career. It will give you some insight into what you may face, and a valuable steer as to how best to tackle potential situations.
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VINE VOICEon 1 January 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is the type of management book that appeals to me: useful lists of points that need to be considered when confronting a specific challenge with sufficient explanation as to why these issues are important and what can go wrong if they are not addressed, but with no spurious claims that the author has some sort of magic bullet that will always provide a solution in every circumstance.

The first five chapters deal with commonly experienced types of new jobs ranging from having to manage former peers to an international move. In all cases the author describes a comprehensive array of potential problems for which strategies may have to be developed and implemented.

The final three chapters essentially repeat the procedure for situations which the author describes as 'turnaround' (i.e. a crisis), 'realignment' (not yet a crisis, but a dropping off in performance) and 'portfolio' (a mixture of circumstances). The turnaround chapter is the weakest in the book, the author spending too much time pontificating on principles of business strategy rather than delivering the pragmatic advice that he provides elsewhere. The realignment chapter ploughs much the same furrow as Koch's A Sense of Urgency, but I would suggest in a usefully complementary manner. The portfolio chapter offers interesting concrete ideas as to how to prioritise when faced with a multiplicity of issues in a new role. Watkins obviously comes from the qualitative rather than the quantitative side of the business school faculty and more numerate readers will probably choose to substitute multiplication for addition in his 'early wins evaluator', but nonetheless it's an inherently useful little tool.

So, basically recommended for reading and keeping on the shelf for future reference.
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on 9 June 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Very far from a Leadership guide, this is more a series of quite specific scenarios that a middle-manager might find themselves in, with quite a lot of detail devoted to setting out imagined scenarios, some or most of which are unlikely to be relevant to any one reader. The book is written in quite an earnest US-centric tone - with terrible neologistic phrases like 'the Onboarding Challenge' and 'Organizational thermodynamics' sprayed throughout.

Much of the advice contained in this book is straightforward leadership and transitional change territory, which I personally think is better covered in books like The Perfect Leader: All You Need to Get it Right First Time (The perfect series),The New Secrets of CEOs: 200 Global Chief Executives on Leading,How to Act Like a CEO: 10 Rules for Getting to the Top and Staying There. Getting to the useful material here involves trawling through the different scenarios and is just too laborious.

Other advice is so earnest or specific, its of little use. One example is where 'Julia' is promoted above her peers. Does she still lunch with them or join the senior team table? The answer is apparently to 'stop by the table with her new peers, say hello and mention that she will be reaching out to meet with them individually and that she's looking forward to working more closely with them' before slinking back to the old table. Really? If any newly promoted executive made that little speech to any of the top teams I've known, they would be laughed out of the company.

I've worked through many of the career challenges presented here - turnarounds, promotions, international moves, senior positions in established firms, and I have to say that I found very little of this book very insightful or relevant. Far better read a generic leadership or turnaround book in my view - particularly taking on board the experiences of those who have lived through such management challenges, rather than this dry, ivory tower effort.
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VINE VOICEon 23 February 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Well written book this, packed with useful advice from an author who is clearly very experienced and knowledgeable. At around 200 pages in length it's very digestible and I managed to get through it in a couple of days without too much problem. The writing is clear and concise. Of course, it's packed with business-speak, but I don't think that detracted from the content. The chapters are arranged around various "challenges" facing leaders who are navigating into different careers. It's likely that most readers will only find 1 or 2 of these challenges appropriate to their particular situation. I read the "corporate diplomacy challenge" and I found it very insightful, with a number of tips I will take away into my current work.
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VINE VOICEon 18 July 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
As a student reading this, I thought the ideas and concepts would probably go over my head. Instead what I found was a book that took a common approach into the subject matter. Despite what the title says, "Major Career Transitions" can pretty much be titled "Career Transition".

Moving your whole family to a new country is of course a big transition both personally and profesionally, but the advice on how to integrate oneself into a new business and adapt to local customs can be applied to any business as each will have their own sets of customs.

I found the author gave helpful advice and through examples *which I am not sure are all entirely true* highlights how a problem was discovered by colleagues and solved. There is an element of psychology working, as the author often encourages the reader to change attitudes and behaviour of colleagues. How one is perceived is also strongly brought up several times in the book.

The author succeeds at making the reader feel enabled to achieve their career transition and without hand holding highlights the skills necessary to succeed at the higher level of a firm. How to navigate the tricky alliances formed between departments to joining a new firm and not immediately be taken for a ride.
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VINE VOICEon 6 March 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Unusually for a 21st Century business book, this isn't littered with jargon or mystical mumblings (although it's not entirely free of it: almost every action is "leveraging"). But it doesn't sink to the ridiculous depths of Clever or The Idea Hunter. It uses plausible examples to show the challenges facing executives undertaking their next step up and offers practical, generally sensible advice on how to tackle those problems.

Despite what the title might suggest, it isn't a handbook on how to secure your next job. It assumes you've got that job, either through promotion or switching companies, and details the pitfalls that await and explains why your talents might not be enough to guarantee success. The advice is sensible, and it doesn't pretend that it will transform you from an ambitious mediocrity into a master of the business universe.
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on 13 May 2011
If you've just been promoted into a major executive position at your firm, here's hoping you can dodge the bullets your new colleagues will aim directly at your head. Likewise, moving from one corporate business unit to another or taking an executive position at a new company present difficulties. So how should you handle yourself? Leadership development expert Michael D. Watkins outlines eight common executive-career transitions and lays out how to deal with them. He explains why leaders making career moves must step carefully amid office politics, corporate life-stage changes, overseas challenges and business pitfalls. getAbstract recommends his sage advice and savvy suggestions to any executive making a career move. Here's how to do it right.
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VINE VOICEon 15 May 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Your next move is always challenging. This book tries to provide a kind-of a guide to help you in some of the scenarios that you could face like getting a promotion, moving to a different country or facing corporate diplomacy, etc.

The author establishes a framework called STARS for dealing with these different scenarios. It is a plausible way of analysing the different scenarios and handling with situations. The book itself is well-written and easy to read. As a management guide, it is a good book. Different scenarios are well explained, some tips are nice and I can relate to them, e.g. when you move to a new country (even a new city), you need to plan not only for what you personally will do in the job but what your spouse and kids will do there and suggests that you should allow ample time for moving your family before you start the job and establish a support network.

The book starts very slowly and the first chapter is a big hurdle. It is the most challenging to go through and quite often refers to author's previous book. All of the scenarios are quite common but the situations provided are sometimes too specific for us to take them and apply in a different situation. Nevertheless the information is relevant enough and nothing could stop us from using our power to infer. Also could be a bit difficult if scenarios discussed are completely unfamiliar, but then again, you could skip that chapter and read later if a need arises.

Overall a good effort and the pace is quite good from second chapter through to the finish after a slow start.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 3 June 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
If you work for a large company there may come a time when you have to make a large career move, either in your current team, across the business or, if you are lucky, on an international assignment. Any help you can get in this respect is priceless.

Your Next Move is not going to make everything work perfectly as every situation is different, however it gives some good basic advice and cites some relevant examples. These are, as you may expect, very Americanised, but they are interesting to read and will give you tips on how to handle yourself from day one in the new role, when people are looking to see what sort of a manager/colleague you are going to be. Expect some consultancy mumbo jumbo and you won't be disappointed.

The slightly grating thing is the constant reference to Mr Watkin's other books - yes, we get the point that it's not the first publication. But put this minor annoyance aside and you find something useful in here for you. It's not too long at just over 200 pages so you can read it on a couple of train journeys or flights.
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VINE VOICEon 8 March 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I found this book far too US biased in its approach. It is simple a series of scenarios / chapters with opinion presented as useful advice, and in my view its major flaw is the assumption is made that you are already in the situation presented in any one of the several chapters, without meaningful guidance on how to get there.

Some of the behaviours described here, simply don't fit in a UK corporate environment, almost to the point of cringing with a 'ivory tower' approach and a tone at times potentially alienating the reader. The book approach reminded me of a questionable career growth and development seminar I was enrolled on by a former employer. The ideas presented are fine within the context of the seminar, but not so applicable outside of that context.
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