New Reading on Business, Leadership and Careers Recommended by Darden Alumni Career Services

28 January 2021

The career consultants at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business Armstrong Center for Alumni Career Services work hard to stay up on job trends and growth opportunities. A number of consultants, who bring a wealth of experience in a variety of fields, recently shared insights from a series of business books on topics ranging from career reinvention to how the CEO of Chipotle built a cultural phenomenon.

Career Consultant Evan Inra (EMBA ’08) explained what he took away from The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting up to Speed Faster and Smarter.

In a post-COVID-19 pandemic world, the importance of getting off to a strong start in a new role is more important than ever. Whether you have been promoted, are transitioning into a different department or are starting at a new company, The First 90 Days by Michael Watkins provides proven strategies to help you succeed quickly. Watkins provides key tools you can use to quickly get up to speed and get to the “break-even point” — the point where you have contributed as much value to your new organization as you have consumed from it. Typically, this takes as long as six months, but you can help reduce this timeframe to increase your chances for ultimate success by: preparing yourself, accelerating learning, matching your strategy to the situation, securing early wins, negotiating success, achieving alignment, building your team, creating coalitions, keeping your balance and accelerating everyone. Most importantly, be flexible, listen and quickly adapt as needed to the needs and challenges of your new role. How you manage your transition will determine whether you ultimately succeed or fail in your new role. Use Watkins’s framework to help ensure this new role is your best move yet.

Stacey Milne (MBA ’87) described the insights in Love Is Free. Guac Is Extra: How Vulnerability, Empowerment and Curiosity Built an Unstoppable Team.

Love is Free. Gauc is Extra. is a positive, feel-good read to start the year and reflect on your leadership philosophy and career.  Monty Moran, the former co-CEO of Chipotle Mexican Grill, shares his life’s journey of gathering bits and pieces of knowledge that fit together into a worldview and an understanding of how to lead people and build successful teams. Not the typical leadership book, Moran focuses on the softer concepts he believes are the key to success:  truth, vulnerability, gratitude, curiosity, empowerment and, yes, love.

From his first job as a property claims adjuster for Farmers Insurance, to his law firm days as a trial lawyer and managing partner, to his role of co-CEO at Chipotle, Moran shares career insights and how he developed his definition of leadership. The book is filled with real-life experiences that any leader can apply.

After a career in the hospitality industry, I do not find Moran’s leadership philosophy and practices new or groundbreaking. However, the book is an enjoyable read, and it’s an excellent reminder that culture starts at the top and that a people-focused leadership approach can drive significant corporate results and allow those that are being led to realize their full potential.

Check out all of the recommended reads on Alumni Career Services’ Career Corner blog.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D., MSBA and Executive Education programs. Darden’s top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


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