YOU'RE IN CHARGE—NOW WHAT?: The 8-Point Plan

Thomas J. Neff, Author, James M. Citrin, Author, Catherine Fredman, With with Catherine Fredman. Crown Business $25 (320p) ISBN 978-1-4000-4865-6

For any manager in a new position, from CEO to department subhead, the title's question is of paramount importance. The authors of this seminal book, top brass at leading global executive search firm Spencer Stuart, answer it with a comprehensive approach to maximizing the first 100 days on the job, drawing dramatically on the experience of more than 50 chief executives (as well as other corporate personnel) interviewed in depth. The authors' clear, sound eight-point plan covers the bases of what incoming business leaders need to know, from how to prepare physically and mentally for the first 100 days to crafting a strategic agenda; dealing with and transforming corporate culture; shaping the management team; working with a boss or a board; and more. What truly distinguishes this book from available management volumes, besides its inspiring hit-the-ground-running approach, is the material gleaned from the chief executives (among them, for example, Gary Kusin of Kinko's; Paul Pressler of Gap Inc.; Jonathan F. Miller of AOL; Steve Bennett of Intuit), which is full of entertaining, enlightening first-person anecdotes. Notably, this material focuses on steps to avoid as well as on appropriate actions to take. Lawrence Summers, for instance, named president of Harvard University in 2001, recalls that he "didn't fully appreciate the importance of simply providing traditional institutional reassurance.... I failed to appreciate that if you're going to be questioning everybody and challenging everybody, you have to do a lot of reassuring in return." Near book's end, Neff and Citrin (Lessons from the Top , etc.) distill their plan into two principles: "Listen and Learn. Underpromise and overdeliver." Their expert elaboration of those principles throughout will make their work a guiding light to many an incoming manager. First serial to Fast Company. (Jan. 11)

Reviewed on: 11/29/2004
Release date: 01/01/2005
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