J.D. Meier's Blog

Software Engineering, Project Management, and Effectiveness

The Microsoft Career Survival Guide

The Microsoft Career Survival Guide

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If there’s one book that I suggest as The Microsoft Career Survival Guide -- it’s The First 90 Days, by Michael Watkins.   It’s a great book with extreme knowledge on how to survive and thrive in your job, especially during transitions.  Transitions are always the toughest time because you have to adapt and acclimate fast to your new surroundings, and it can very quickly turn your world upside down.

The First 90 Days just might be THE leadership book and corporate career guide.

I’ve had eight manager changes in the last three years, which means I’ve had to learn success strategies and tactics to make the most of the changes.  It’s been a great opportunity for me to put everything I learn into practice, and continue to learn from The First 90 Days.

One of the most important lessons I learned from The First 90 Days, is to focus on securing early wins.  It sounds like common sense, but there is a big difference between knowing and doing.  The credibility and air-cover that comes with delivering fast wins, early on, sets the stage for momentum and an upward spiral of success.  The ability to execute and drive relevant wins early on also reflects your ability to understand what is valued, and how things get done.  It forces you to learn the system quickly, from a people, process, and tools perspective.   It helps you reveal the chessboard.

The people part is the most challenging, but the most important.  You get things done with people, and The First 90 Days shows you how to understand the influence map, build coalitions, and build an effective advice-and-counsel network of technical advisers, cultural interpreters, and political counselors.   The faster you can put this into place, the more effective you will be.

Since this is one of the most important books to have on your career shelf, I wrote a special book review to help share why this book is such an important asset:

It’s also one of the first books I always recommend to anybody that I mentor to help them get a firm foundation in how organizations really work, what really drives people, and how not to get blindsided or surprised … because what you don’t know can hurt you.

Enjoy, and best wishes on your career success.