In 2003, Harvard Business School Press published professor Michael Watkins’ book, The First 90 Days, described on the book jacket as “Critical success strategies for new leaders at all levels”. Ten years later, the book has become the go-to guide for professionals transitioning into new leadership positions, and is being updated and expanded in a new 10th anniversary edition to be released this month.
The First 90 Days lays out a ten-point plan for new leaders. No matter whether one is an experienced leader taking on a different role or is newly promoted in to management, Watkins argues that the actions taken by a new leader within the first 90 days will determine whether or not they are ultimately successful. Within those first 90 days, a new leader must build their own brand; learn fast and learn a lot; develop strategies for each situation; build and develop rapport with their team; internally network themselves to foster relationships; and score some early wins.
I was first introduced to this book when I got my first HR management job. A Senior VP in the organization took me out for lunch to congratulate me, and he gave me a copy of the book. Ever since, I’ve re-read the book every time I’ve started a new job and have used Watkins’ advice to start off on the right foot. Ever since, I’ve given a copy of the book to new or transitioning managers. Watkins’ book has become MY go-to guide for strategies for leadership transition success.
So Happy Anniversary to Michael Watkins and his The First 90 Days and thank you for the advice you’ve given me over the years.
You can learn more about Watkins’ book, The First 90 Days, at the Harvard Business Review website.
Mike Spinale is a corporate Human Resources leader at a healthcare information technology company located outside of Boston, Massachusetts and is an adjunct professor at Southern New Hampshire University. He has over eight years of experience in HR and management including career counseling, recruitment, staffing, employment branding, and talent management. Mike has dedicated his HR career to modern views on the field – HR is not about the personnel files – it’s about bringing on the best talent, ensuring they’re in the right seat, and keeping them motivated and growing in their careers. In addition, Mike is the author of the CareerSpin blog where he offers advice and opinion on job search, personal & employment branding, recruiting, and HR. Mike is a certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Babson College. He is also a board member of the Metro-North Regional Employment Board, a board which sets workforce development policy for Boston’s Metro-North region, and an active member of the Society for Human Resource Management and the Northeast Human Resources Association.