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Book Review - Hit the Ground Running, A Woman's Guide to Success for the First 100 Days on the Job

Guest Author - Kristy Jackson

Author: Liz Cornish
Publisher: McGraw-Hill, 2006
ISBN: 0-07-147246-0
$20.00 / hardcover

What an amazing book! I just finished reading Hit the Ground Running by Liz Cornish. I was completely impressed by the scope and depth of the workplace issues addressed by the author. Author Liz Cornish covers everything in one simple book, including how to prepare yourself to start a new job, how to handle common personnel issues, starting at a new company vs. handling a promotion at your current workplace, and transitioning beyond the “new” phase for ongoing workplace success. Simply put, this career guide is all-encompassing.

Many of the career guides that I’ve read over the years are filled with lofty ideals but are lacking in solid ideas that can actually be used. However, Hit the Ground Running has pages and pages of great ideas that can be applied in a real workplace. At one point, I even felt like I was reviewing a great list of tips from a white board at a power-house brainstorming session – there are that many useful ideas packed into this book! In addition to the author’s ideas, there are also interviews with other female executives that help to further illustrate the main idea of each chapter.

It’s clear from the author’s bio that she understands “leadership” (she has been an executive coach for over 20 years), but as I was reading her book, it was obvious that she understands the unique needs of women leaders, as well. Her book is both inspiring and energizing, while offering clear direction at the same time. Her powerful yet practical words of wisdom help women learn to manage their first impressions, navigate through common career roadblocks, and maintain their confidence during challenging situations.

Some of the specific things she teaches us include:
* How to manage your “going-in” strategy
* How to quickly identify organizational dynamics and use them to your advantage
* Why it’s important to keep negations open for the first 100 days
* How to identify short-term wins that will boost your credibility with bosses, clients, peers, and subordinates

Another thing I liked about this book was its organization. Each chapter begins with “JumpStarters”, which are coaching tips from the author. In addition, each chapter ends with a “checklist” so that you can assess your own progress. If that wasn’t enough, there are two great resources in the appendix. My personal favorite is the “100 Day Accelerator – Topic 5B”, which is an awesome grid that gives a new leader some ideas for “managing the message” that they want to give to their employees as they start their new job. For example, if you are a “young” manager and you fear that your subordinates and clients might not have much confidence in your abilities, this particular grid shows what behaviors to watch for to confirm your suspicions, what message you’ll want to send to gain their confidence, and what specific actions to take to make sure the message you want to send is getting across.

As a career counselor, I can honestly say that I haven’t seen another book that covers this unique topic area in such depth. I would strongly recommend this book for any woman who is either aiming for or currently in a management role.

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