It seems to me like there is a contradiction between MT advice and "First 90 Days" advice. I'd like some help reconciling these two opinions.

One of the recommendations in "First 90 Days" is to quickly identify those people who aren't going to "work out" and get them off the team. (Unless I misunderstood the book).

However, MT advice (giving feedback, systemic feedback, late stage coaching) can't possibly happen quickly enough to remove an individual in the first 90 days.

Does anyone have any suggestions for dealing with this apparent dichotomy?

pmoriarty's picture
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I recommend using the 90 days to get a firm understanding of what you need, what skill sets your staff has and how you can align the two. Once you have a clear understanding here, you can then figure out who fits well, who needs further development and who doesn't fit.

jhack's picture

There are two key things here: the situation and the level.

If the situation is dire, you may need to clean house before you have a chance to coach your new team to higher performance. I forget which podcast, but M&M mention this specifically as something that may be needed.

If the situation is not dire, you should coach and grow the people.

Things are different at the very top, though. M&M don't specifically address a new CEO coming in and needing to put key trusted people in place. M&M are primarily focused on middle managers.


TomW's picture
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The First 90 Days is about analysis before action, so the key is IDENTIFYING those people. It may take longer than 90 days to either correct or remove them.

Mark's picture
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I'd be happy to be corrected by Michael Watkins, the author, who posts here periodically, but this is a case of executive vs. managerial guidance.

There are many - and I think Michael is one - who recommend executives move quickly to get the right people on their team. I am not sure that he would recommend that strategy for all managers, as I think he would say he knows it's harder to do so further down the chain. (And, I'm way out on a limb here, and ought not to be characterizing his work.)

We disagree on moving quickly EVER as a new manager. I NEVER recommend action like this within 90 days.


akinsgre's picture

Thanks Mark,

If I'm remember correctly, the late stage coaching podcasts are the only place where the progression from feedback, to systemic feedback to late-stage coaching are discussed.

Any pointers to other relevant podcasts or posts would be much appreciated.

akinsgre's picture

On another note, I don't want to make this entirely about getting rid of this invididual.

My gut feel at this point is that he is detracting from the teams performance. This has been echoed by the other managers, and my boss (who used to be his boss).

However, they also haven't taken the time to manage this individual and give him feedback on his performance.

Asking about "First 90 days" vs the MT guidance for this situation, was my way of asking what the most efficient/effective way of getting through this particular issue.


Mark's picture
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I think you're on the right track. Focus on saving the person - if for no other reason than it's cheaper than hiring someone else, and there's a danger in being seen as rash early in your relationship with your team.

You're right, the only place in a cast where we have connected the coaching continuum is in the late stage coaching cast. It's due for an update.

BELIEVE in him and your abilities to help him change, until the evidence against is overwhelming.