How To Check If You Are on Track as a New Leader



“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.” — Henry Ford

Are you on track at work?

Are you focused on the right things and balancing the right priorities?

How do you gauge your progress towards your targets for success?

As a new leader, how do you know whether you’re trending in the right direction?

To improve your personal effectiveness at work, you need to know whether you are on track.

In The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels, Michael Watkins shares the questions you can use to determine whether you are building momentum or losing your balance.

8 Questions to Ask Yourself as a New Leader

Watkins provides the following diagnostic questions to serve as your gyroscope for keeping your balance and orientation:

  1. Are you adopting the right mind-set for your new job and letting go of the past? (Promote yourself)
  2. Are you figuring out what you need to learn, from whom to learn it, and how to speed up the learning process? (Accelerate your learning)
  3. Are you diagnosing the type of transition you are facing and the implications for what to do and what not to do? (Match strategy to situation)
  4. Are you focusing on the vital priorities that advance long-term goals and build short-term momentum? (Secure early wins)
  5. Are you building you relationships with your new boss, managing expectations, and marshaling the resources you need? (Negotiate success)
  6. Are you identifying and fixing frustrating misalignments of strategy, structure, systems, and skills? (Achieve alignment)
  7. Are you assessing, restructuring, and aligning your team to leverage what you are trying to accomplish? (Build your team)
  8. Are you building a base of internal and external support for your initiatives so you are not pushing rocks uphill? (Create coalitions)

Key Takeaways

Here are my key takeaways:

  • Know the common traps.  The big traps include using the wrong strategies, failing to adapt to your new situation, and failing to build an effective support network.  Using the questions above can help make sure you cover your bases.
  • Ask questions to common traps.  Use the questions within the core challenges to make sure that you’re setting yourself up for success by avoiding common traps.

Reflection is a powerful way to improve your personal effectiveness.  Through a few key questions, you can quickly assess whether you are on track and correct course if you need to.

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