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The First 90 Days



The first 90 days of any career transition—be it a promotion, a new job or a lateral transfer—are critical and can determine if you succeed or fail in the new role. In this book, Michael Watkins presents critical success strategies for new leaders at all levels. In this free version of The First 90 Days summary, we’ll give an overview of the proven strategies to shorten your learning curve and build momentum within the first 90 days of any new management role. The impact is multiplied when the approach is applied organization-wide.

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The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels” by Michael D. Watkins is an indispensable guide for leaders transitioning into new roles. Whether stepping into a higher position within an organization or taking on a new leadership role elsewhere, this book provides a comprehensive roadmap for navigating the crucial first three months.

Watkins emphasizes the significance of the initial period in a new role, during which leaders have a unique opportunity to establish themselves, build relationships, and set the stage for long-term success. He outlines a detailed framework comprising four main strategies: promoting oneself, accelerating the learning curve, matching strategy to the situation, and securing early wins.

The book begins by urging leaders to take charge of their transitions by adopting a proactive mindset and initiating crucial conversations with key stakeholders. Watkins emphasizes the importance of understanding the organizational culture, identifying potential challenges, and formulating a customized transition plan.

Throughout the book, Watkins provides practical advice on how to navigate common pitfalls such as misunderstanding the organizational culture, failing to build alliances, or underestimating the complexity of the role. He offers actionable strategies for accelerating the learning curve, gathering essential information, and making informed decisions.

Additionally, Watkins highlights the significance of aligning one’s strategy with the specific context of the organization and its challenges. He explores various situational factors such as turnaround situations, start-ups, or realignment efforts, offering tailored advice for each scenario.

Moreover, Watkins underscores the importance of securing early wins to build credibility and momentum. He offers guidance on identifying quick-win opportunities, rallying the team, and delivering tangible results within the first 90 days.

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