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“Master Your Next Move” by Michael Watkins – a HBR Book Review

Michael Watkins and his book “The First 90 Days” should sound familliar to any business management reader. The IMD professor has authored one of the most influential books of transitioning into a new role – “The First 90 Days” is considered by many one of the top 50 ever published management book (certainly one of the best sold *1). Should we also be excited that the sequel is about to hit the book shelves?

Well, I think so. Since its first publication (Sept 2003 by the Harvard Business Review Press too), “The First 90 Days” influenced millions of new managers. Almost 16 years later, “Master Your NExt Move” takes the higher level career advancement to a further development. Michael Watkins has gone through a whole re-invention process – did a lot of research, conducted many interviews, got and sent feedback on his management philosophy. And thus Michael Watkins climbed on his learning curve. He substantially expanded on the mistakes new managers usually do:
– not learning enough about the organisation’s culture and politics;
– having the answers first, not the questions;
– to do too much too soon;
– not aligning on expectations with the main stakeholders.

Interestingly enough, “Master Your Next Move” is designed to be used as a companion to “The First 90 Days”. Whilst the latter looks at the mistakes and their causes mostly, the new title gives more detailed advice on how you can address the challenges of new higher positions. “Master Your Next Move” starts with a diagnosis of your situation and challenges. Based on this diagnosis, the promoted leader can start working his way through the most important challenges.

All chapters are built as mini study-cases (Harvard Business Review style) and come packed with practical advices. The various sections built gradually along the transition curve, starting with Chapter 1 (“The Promotion Challenge”) and ending with Chapter 9 (“The STARS Portfolio Challenge”). One can easily jump to the latest challenges in his management career or simply go through the topics one by one – “Master Your Next Move” is easily designed to support both styles.

To conclude, Harvard Business Review Press is back with a worth-to-own management title. We all go sooner or later through a (hopefully successful) transition to a new leadership role. A big part of a leader’s experience is to learn from other’s mistakes and make his own – and “Master Your Next Move” will help you do just that. Until its much anticipated publication, you can get a glimpse on Michael Watkins’ research on his company website (*2).

And yes, if you found this review useful and would like to to buy your own copy of “Master Your Next Move” by Michael Watkins, we at would appreciate your small support by using this link – thank you!:

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