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April Armstrong
The Day One Executive
How can ambitious professionals stand out as future executives? In The Day One Executive, strategic leadership advisor April Armstrong explains how long-term success requires getting results, building mutually beneficial relationships, and cultivating reserves of resilience. It empowers you to hit the ground running in all three of these areas starting on Day One. Early in her career, Armstrong discovered a huge gap between what is taught in school and what it takes to be a successful executive. This book aims to close that gap through insight, research, and stories from more than a dozen top executives who share secrets from the C-suite to help you know: Why it pays to move up early; How to spot—and seize—a potential "catapult moment," which can rapidly accelerate your career; and Why you must go beyond the job description to custom create your role starting on Day One. Choosing to be an executive is a very specific form of leadership: the stakes, standards, and levels of success are higher. The Day One Executive shares the distinguishing attitudes and behaviors to get noticed and, once recognized, start enjoying better choices, increased financial autonomy and freedom, and greater influence and impact in your career.
This motivational how-to guide offers a wealth of practical advice, strategies, and tools to becoming a confident leader in the executive suite and beyond—or, as Armstrong puts it, “to become the executive of your own life and stand out as a future executive starting on Day One.” With tips on perseverance, networking, time management, and much more, strategic leadership advisor Armstrong shares insights drawing on her years as a consultant and advisor to executives, government officials, and Fortune 500 business owners. Sharing personal anecdotes and success stories of clients and influential business tycoons, The Day One Executive offers hard-won knowledge straight from the source on how to build an executive mindset and career.

Armstrong balances the importance of being career-driven and persistent on the journey toward success with the need for individuals to shift their focus inward, as well, making the case that it takes more than business savvy and mastery of the “golden pyramid” to be prepared for an executive role. That also demands a strong will, a positive mindset, and understanding of how to make your value tangible to others. It takes sound well-being to overcome fear, imposter syndrome, and self-doubt. She urges readers to generate results, generate relationships, and cultivate resilience—the three organizing principles of this guide, and each crucial at the start, middle, or height of a career. “You don’t have to wait for someone else to make you an executive,” Armstrong writes. “You already are, and you can bring this forward on day one.”

The general advice here, such as “Exude presence” or “Don’t derail” (as in don’t thwart your own ambitions through neediness, arrogance, risk aversion, eccentricity, and more), always comes with rundowns of clear, practical specifics, presented with the kind of succinct directness that is itself a model for executive communication. Armstrong’s own anecdotes are supplemented by inspirational (sometimes familiar) tales of executive success that demonstrate her principles. Throughout, she lays bare what it takes to succeed—and to protect one’s position— in volatile times, both from an aspirant’s and an executive’s perspective.

Takeaway: An empowering self-help guide to achieving success as an executive leader.

Comparable Titles: Suzanne Bates’s All the Leader You Can Be, Bella Rushi’s The Innovative Executive.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A

Andrew Neitlich, Director, International Coaching Federation-Accredited Center f

"You essentially have at your fingertips a guide that will fast track your career success. April has nailed it with unique research, cases, and insights. She's written a 'must have' reference for leaders everywhere. The content in this book is too valuable for a single book."

Jeff Paniati, Executive Director and CEO, Institute of Transportation Engineers

"The Day One Executive brings a fresh perspective on how technical leaders can navigate the path from subject matter expert to executive. Smart people often get left behind when it comes to advancing in the ranks of leadership because they have not invested in their people and relationship-building skills in the same way they have developed their technical knowledge. April provides a great resource to help aspiring leaders take control of their careers and increase their influence on Day One."

Jerry Abrams, Envisioneer, Center for Creative Leadership

"If you work, whether you just started or are a seasoned leader, this is a wonderful resource. Comprehensive, well researched, and exquisitely written indispensable advice makes The Day One Executive your best guide to success!" 

Jonathan R. Alger, President, James Madison University

"The Day One Executive is full of practical, easily understandable leadership wisdom that anyone can apply to their own life, starting immediately. Having learned many of these lessons the hard way through the trials and tribulations of life experience, I wish I'd had this book when I was starting out as a young professional. April's advice will help readers to become more self-aware and intentional about their decisions and behavior and to build confidence and agency that will, in turn, lead to a greater sense of control and purpose throughout their lives and careers."

Maggie Wilderotter, Former President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Frontier

"For those aspiring to sit in the executive suite—a must read! April has provided a clear playbook for a successful career by providing great examples and tips to build on your strengths, recognize your blind spots, and embrace change."

Michael C. Smith, PhD, Former Executive Director, University of Virginia Acceler

"April writes from extensive research, direct observation, and lived experience. The Day One Executive translates a lifetime of experience into accessible, actionable, and authentic advice that can help individuals and organizations achieve real change and effective outcomes—beginning on Day One."

Paul Speer, PhD, Chief Operating Officer, Marine Biological Laboratory, Universi

"This book is a field guide to success for any aspiring executive. I had the pleasure of working with April on challenging projects for almost a decade, and I recognize her keen insights throughout. With nearly 300 research citations, The Day One Executive is jam-packed with insight yet is accessible and easily readable. An aspiring executive will gain awareness, get pragmatic ideas for thorny problems, and add some new tools to their toolbox for leading change from even a single chapter."

Rebecca M. Brewster, President and Chief Operating Officer, American Transportat

"This book compresses a decade of learning to help you fasttrack your success without taking any shortcuts: Whether you're just starting out or you're a seasoned professional, The Day One Executive is a must-read! Make tomorrow your own Day One—you will thank you."

The Honorable Susan M. Gordon, Former Principal Deputy Director of National Inte

"April has, in the most clear, direct, and relatable language, captured the essence of what it takes to be a successful executive. In these disrupted, complex times, exceptional leadership will carry the day—and now, we all have a 'secret decoder ring' to help us on our way."