Read The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels by Michael D. Watkins Online


Since its original release, The First 90 Days has become the bestselling globally acknowledged bible of leadership and career transitions. In this updated and expanded 10th anniversary edition, internationally known leadership transition expert Michael D. Watkins gives you the keys to successfully negotiating your next move—whether you’re onboarding into a new company, beiSince its original release, The First 90 Days has become the bestselling globally acknowledged bible of leadership and career transitions. In this updated and expanded 10th anniversary edition, internationally known leadership transition expert Michael D. Watkins gives you the keys to successfully negotiating your next move—whether you’re onboarding into a new company, being promoted internally, or embarking on an international assignment.In The First 90 Days, Watkins outlines proven strategies that will dramatically shorten the time it takes to reach what he calls the "breakeven point" when your organization needs you as much as you need the job. This new edition includes a substantial new preface by the author on the new definition of a career as a series of transitions; and notes the growing need for effective and repeatable skills for moving through these changes. As well, updated statistics and new tools make this book more reader-friendly and useful than ever.As hundreds of thousands of readers already know, The First 90 Days is a road map for taking charge quickly and effectively during critical career transition periods—whether you are a first-time manager, a mid-career professional on your way up, or a newly minted CEO....

Title : The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels
Author :
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ISBN : 9781422188613
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 304 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels Reviews

  • Erika RS
    2018-10-04 07:06

    I think I must not be the target audience for this book because I found it dull. The book had a number of useful techniques but it was definitely targeted toward leaders in more traditional companies than my workplace. I would like to read a book with fundamentally the same content but written for folks in the more casual parts of the software industry.Since I did find the book useful but boring, I include a detailed summary below.The first 90 days after a transition are critical for establishing yourself in the new position. Companies often fail to prepare leaders for successful transitions. There are key steps you can take to help your transition succeed:Promote Yourself. Make a mental break from the old job. Don't assume that what made you successful before will make you successful now. Be aware of what sort of problems you'll need to solve and how they differ from the types of problems you've been good at solving in the past.Accelerate Your Learning. Create a plan for learning about the past, present, and future of your new organization. Look at both concrete facts and subjective impressions. Learn from internal sources and external sources. Start learning what you can before you've transitioned into your new role. Share and discuss your learning plan and learnings with your team and your boss(es).Learn iteratively. Focus on learning the most important things first and then coming back and adding more depth and breadth. When meeting with individuals, ask everyone the same set of questions in the same order; this gives you a set of easy to compare answers. Match Strategy to Situation. There are some common categories of situations a leader will be taking on. Knowing what type of situation you are taking on can make the difference between success and failure. The four most common situation types are startups, realignments, turnarounds, and sustaining success. Each has different challenges. For example, in a turnaround, you don't have a lot of time to succeed but everyone acknowledges that change is necessary, while in a realignment you may have time but people may disagree on the need for change.Secure Early Wins. Don't get lost in the big changes thatyou see when you enter an organization. Focus on securing early (generally small) wins to help build momentum. This helps you focus in the early days, and it also helps to build your credibility with the people you're working with. Ideally, the size of your wins will increase over time and all work toward some long term goal.This chapter provided a valuable framework for the elements that must be necessary before a person can enact change. There must be sufficient awareness that change is needed. There must be a diagnosis of what needs to be changed and why. There must be a vision and strategy for change. There must be a plan for change. Finally, there must be people who support implementing the plan. Before trying to cause change, a leader should look at each of these elements and strengthen any that are weak.Negotiate Success. You are responsible for setting up a productive relationship with your boss, even if your styles differ. Use conversations with your boss to set clear expectations of what you plan to get done when and potential opportunities or issues. Don't use these meetings to go over checklists or complain fruitlessly.The book suggests 5 types of conversations you should have with your boss. These conversations are roughly chronological, but will repeat over time as situations change. The situational diagnosis is a chance for you to understand your boss's perspective on the current business situation. The expectations conversation is where you work to understand what you need to get done, what success looks like, and how performance is measured. In the style conversation, you'll learn how to communicate most effectively with your boss, being on the lookout for ways their preferred style differs from yours. Once you know what you're trying to accomplish, you'll need to have a conversation about what resources you need. Finally, once you've proven your credibility with small wins, it's a good time to talk about your own personal development. These conversations should inform your 90 day plan, and you should also present your plan to your boss to get their buy in and feedback.Achieve Alignment. The insight of this chapter is that the strategy, structure, systems, skills, and culture of an organization all need to be aligned to achieve success. The strategy should lead the direction, with structure, systems, and skills working to support that strategy. Culture is the often invisible background that all of these systems work against. It is the hardest to change but often the most influential.Build Your Team. Obviously, having the right team is critical to success. What's less obvious is that it's important for a new leader to restructure their team quickly to avoid the expectation that change is not going to happen. But the team should not be changed too quickly, because a new leader has to get to know the existing team and too much churn causes instability. What I found most valuable from this chapter was the list of 6 criteria you can use to evaluate members of your team. Competence evaluates whether or not they have the technical ability necessary for the job. Judgement evaluates whether or not the person makes good decisions, especially in difficult situations. It's also important that a team member bring the right kind of energy to the team. They need to be able to focus on the right priorities, and they need to have good relationships with the rest of the team. Finally, you need to have people you can trust to follow through on their commitments.The book suggests dividing 100 points among the 6 criteria to weight their value and then evaluating each of your team members on these criteria. I found this framework to be useful because I find that, when it comes to evaluating people on my team, it's often hard to assess non-technical skills consistently across people and across review sessions. Explicitly defining and weighting the list of criteria would help to make evaluation more consistent. I plan to use this technique in the future. I also appreciated the range of categories for team members after the initial assessment. A team member may be someone you want to keep in place, keep and develop, move to another position (that's a better fit), observe for awhile (and help them develop), replace (but not urgently), replace (urgently). This range of categories provides room for people who could succeed on your team but aren't currently, a situation where it's easy for things to go badly if you don't work to be aware of the possibilities. Create Coalitions. To enact change, you need support. It's important to figure out who are supporters, opponents, and convincibiles. To turn convincibles into supporters, you want to change their perception of the choice they have to make. Often, maintaining the status quo is seen as zero cost and change is seen as high cost. Thus, as a general strategy, to get support for change, you want to raise the perceived cost of the status quo and lower the cost of change. Bribes and threats are two blunt ways of doing this, but better is to create compelling framing arguments, setting up action-forcing events such as commitments to take particular actions, getting people to change their behavior (which can lead to them changing their minds), and leveraging small commitments that will lead to larger change (e.g., get someone to come to a meeting, then review a design, then evaluate a prototype, etc.). Keep Your Balance. All these techniques for getting off to a strong start are useful, but they're all for naught if you let yourself get overwhelmed by the change. To maintain balance, you need to adopt strategies for success, use discipline in executing those strategies, and build your support system. Key to maintaining discipline are taking time to plan, deferring commitment to prevent yourself from becoming too busy, setting aside time for hard work, taking time to step back from high stakes situations, focusing on the process by which you try to implement change and how others perceive it, and staying aware of how your feeling (perhaps by using structured reflection), and knowing when to quit. Your support system needs to include not just your professional support system at work and outside of work. It also needs to include your family. Change in your job can often mean change for your family. Keeping your family healthy is key to preventing a destructive feedback loop. Expedite Everyone. Finally, for these techniques to be most effective, make sure that everyone is using structured transition techniques. As a leader, it's easiest to spread structured transitions to your team, but you can also work to spread it to your peers. If everyone can transition more effectively, then the company as a whole will be more successful.

  • Themistocles
    2018-10-06 08:20

    Well, let's put it this way: if you need this book, then you obviously have no place in managing anything, and your pet goldfish is probably already dead out of neglect and lack of food.Really?? Is this one of the best business books of the last years? Published by Harvard Press? For the love of god... As Dilbert would say, I was blinded by the obvious time and again and got tired of the oh-so-original (NOT!) charts and diagrams very soon. What practical advice the author gives could have been summed up in 50 pages or so. The case studies are nicely drawn, but very few and very short. The rest is page filling.I guess the only positive about this book is that it gives you a time frame to accomplish things, but even this is not always possible; for instance, it says that for the first month you just listen and listen... but this is not always possible, certainly not in companies with no 'leader assimilation' period.Better spend the money to buy a round of doughnuts for your coworkers, it'll be more worth it.

  • Ryan
    2018-10-12 11:51

    I'm very skeptical of business books - I see them as slightly more serious versions of Get Rich Quick books and Self Help books. But this was actually helpful. As someone who's worked in less traditional office and business settings, starting a new job in a real organization would be a very different experience. The First 90 Days provided some productive ways of thinking about how offices and coworker and boss relationships work. It also gave strategies of thinking about how to hit the ground running in any new situation. Planning for goals after the first day, week, month, two months, and three months helps you think about what you might want to be doing. Even for less senior people, the chapters that go through how a new CEO starts surveying her team and figuring out who should stay and go are interesting - you end up looking at a common situation through another set of eyes. Other helpful thoughts ranged from how you want to introduce yourself to new coworkers, how to organize priorities, and how to split up what you need to learn into easily manageable chunks. Much better than I thought it was going to be.

  • Alex Duncan
    2018-09-17 09:51

    A must for people in career transition.

  • Scott
    2018-09-28 06:10

    The First 90 Days is focused on providing proven strategies for effectively getting through transitions from one job to another job or one company to another. The book is marketed at professionals in all levels of an organization, but there is a secondary emphasis on those in a leadership role. Don’t let that worry you if you are not in a formal leadership role. This book will still be helpful for you. I have read this book when I moved from a management position in one company to another. I read it again when I moved from a management position in one company to a non-management role in another company. I just finished reading for a third time while moving from one non-management role to another in the same company. It works for any material job change. Watkins lays out his approach using 10 chapters focusing on each of the following topics:1. Promoting yourself2. Accelerating your learning3. Matching strategy to the situation4. Securing early wins5. Negotiating success6. Achieving alignment7. Building your team8. Creating coalitions9. Keeping your balance10. Expediting everyoneI really appreciated the chapters on accelerating my learning, negotiating success, and achieving alignment. I have found in my circumstances, there have been many times when I misread situations, failed to properly align expectations with my upline and team members, didn’t ask the right learning questions when learning new tasks and processes. This book really helps to layout simple strategies and templates for personal use that help mitigate mistakes and help you stay on track during work and business-related transitions. In today’s business world, it seems that there is not much training available on how to successfully move from one role or job to another, let alone from one company to another. These changes can be dramatic and most onboarding lacks the information that we need most to succeed in new environments while avoiding pitfalls and political landmines. That’s why the strategies in this book are so valuable and effective. The book is a quick read, about 250 pages in length. I found this book to be very helpful in making my own professional transitions. It helped me with strategies that increased my learning curve during the transition. It helped me with prioritizing what seemed like overwhelming expectations in the new job role. It helped me avoid some pretty important pitfalls that would have set me back professionally and socially. It helped me learn and apply key lessons into my approach and strategy that accelerated my transition into a new role or team.Overall, I can honestly say that this book will make a difference for anyone going through a material work change, whether it is from one company to another, or one job role to another. I have successfully applied its lessons on three different occasions in my professional career and it made a remarkable difference. Trust me, if you are transitioning roles or accepting a promotion, it is well worth reading. Take notes and apply the techniques for yourself. It works.

  • Bob Selden
    2018-10-01 14:13

    As a keen student of new manager behaviour always on the lookout for new ideas, I picked up “The First 90 Days” with great anticipation. Michael Watkins sets out to provide new managers (he calls them “leaders”) with a 90 day plan for taking over in a new role. There’s lots to recommend this book. There’s also lots to question. In “The First 90 Days”, the author stresses the importance of building momentum during the critical transition phase from new manager to successful manager. A 90 day acceleration plan is suggested that includes 10 transition challenges ranging from “promote yourself” through “score early wins”, to “expedite everyone”. One needs to look further than the title of these challenges as they are often more than what they seem. For example, “promote yourself” has more to do with changing your perspective to fit the new role rather than self-promotion. I particularly liked some of the practical tips included in this book, such as the “Problem Preferences Assessment” which enables the new manager to quickly select the most appropriate and rewarding problem areas to address. Also a suggestion to write yourself a letter as if you had been in the role for three years describing what others said about your success in the role, is a nice way to set a broad vision for the new manager. Chapter 5 “Negotiate Success”, which is all about managing your boss through the 90 day plan, is worth the price of this book alone. I have three areas of criticism. Firstly, whilst the book has a fantastic array of suggestions, strategies, tips etc, I feel it would take more than 90 days to implement them all, let alone do the work that is required in the role. As such, it would make a great text for students of management, but could overwhelm the new manager looking for some quick or directed advice. Secondly, although the author stresses otherwise, the book seems more suited to upper level roles than first line supervisors. For example, Chapter 6 “Achieve Alignment”, looks at quite a sophisticated process of crafting strategy, assessing coherence, assessing adequacy and modifying strategy. Finally, I’d like to see more positive case studies to illustrate rather than the “what went wrong” scenarios provided in a number of chapters. Although in real life, we often learn more from our mistakes, in a teaching role (such as this book) it is far more effective for the reader if he or she can see what works and implement this, rather than what doesn’t. I would recommend this book as an excellent text for management students and a resource for management teachers/educators. If you’re a new manager reading “The First 90 Days”, then go straight to the practical “How to” areas, otherwise your 90 days will be up before you finish reading.

  • Edyth
    2018-09-20 12:03

    The First 90 Days is now one of my favorites, right up there with Leadership 2.0 (a must-read for leaders). This book is a great and practical guide to help any leader transition into a new job, position, and organization—within 90 days (a critical timeframe to be considered as “hitting the ground running”). There’s a checklist at the end of every chapter to help you absorb key lessons, apply them to your situation, and tailor them to your own transition plan. The book is loaded with practical strategies, lessons, and advice for a smooth transition. The First 90 Days - Chapter Summaries:INTRODUCTION: THE FIRST 90 DAYS- The actions you take in your first three months in a new job will largely determine whether you succeed or fail. 1. Promote Yourself: Make the mental break from your old job and prepare to take charge in the new one. The biggest pitfall you face is to assume that what has made you successful to this point in your career will continue to do so. 2. Accelerate Your Learning: Accelerate the learning curve as fast as you can in your new organization. Understand its markets, products, technologies, systems, structures, and culture, and politics. 3. Match Strategy to Situation: Diagnose the business situation accurately and clarify its challenges and opportunities.4. Secure Early Wins: Early wins build your credibility and create momentum. 5. Negotiate Success: Figure out how to build a productive working relationship with your new boss and manage his/her expectations. Plan for a series of critical conversations. Develop and gain consensus on your 90-day plan.6. Achieve Alignment: Figure out whether the organization’s strategy is sound. Bring its structure into alignment with its strategy. 7. Build Your Team: If you are inheriting a team, evaluate its members and restructure it to better meet the demands of the situation. Make tough early personnel calls. 8. Create Coalitions: Influence people outside your direct line of control. Rely on supportive alliances, internal and external, to achieve your goals. 9. Keep Your Balance: Work hard to maintain your equilibrium and preserve your ability to make good judgments, professionally and personally. 11. Expedite Everyone: Help everyone in your organization—direct reports, bosses, and peers—accelerate their own transitions. The faster this is done, the faster you can perform.CONCLUSION: BEYOND SINK OR SWIM- The biggest danger you face is belief in a one-size-fits-all rule for success.

  • Robert Chapman
    2018-09-23 13:53

    The saying goes that you have 90 days in a new job or position to make an impact and demonstrate competence. This book is all about how to create and execute against a 90 day plan to ensure a successful transition.Four specific types of transitions are covered in detail with examples of both success and failure and the conditions which contributed to the end result.The four types of transitions are called the STaRS model:• start-up• turnaround• re-alignment• sustaining successEach of these transitions requires a specific set of behaviors and a unique plan to make the transition successful.I found the level of detail provided for each transition type excellent, it covers everything from how manage up to how to deal with direct reports and peers. Being in a new position at work myself, this book was very timely and has provided with me with excellent guidance in how to approach and manage the challenge.I highly recommend this book to anyone who is about to undertake a transition.

  • Emily
    2018-10-03 12:54

    Obviously, I should circle back and review this book more thoroughly in a few months. But it seemed useful to me. When you start a new job as an individual contributor, you mostly have to figure out the subject material and your boss, which is relatively straightforward and can unfold at its own pace. But if you have direct reports, you need to figure out what you're doing, what you should ask them to do, how to operate in a new culture, how much to change how fast, and how to work with your peers to manage projects and resources, too. This book offers a blueprint for finding out what you need to know, making contacts, and forming plans. Even if it seems to assume that you are the incoming CFO of a multinational widget concern, it is confidence-building to have a systematic plan to react to and adapt, an agenda that tells you how to start.

  • Kristine Morris
    2018-09-23 11:18

    If I was transitioning into a more senior role and I read this book, I think I'd quit before I even got started. There's a lot of organizational development, change management, people management, knowledge management, to scare anyone off - especially if you are trying to get a handle on these things in the first 90 days! While it proposes that the 90 day strategy is useful for managers at all levels, it is skewed towards senior levels and Watkins' advice "even if this doesn't apply to you, read it anyway" seems a bit disingenuous considering the time crunch faced by a new manager. I suspect that on a second reading some practical checklists (many the chapter summaries) would prove somewhat useful. The most important thing about the book is it's premise. You need to plan for your transition and not just wing it.

  • Vinod Peris
    2018-10-16 08:19

    I was given this book by my boss at Cisco, Shailesh Shukla, when I took on a new role as head of engineering for MARSBU. If you are curious about the acronym, yes, it is the Business Unit from MARS. I opened the book and randomly landed on page 115 which had a section titled "Educate your Boss"; that definitely made this a must read.The book is definitely a quick read and I had to pace myself so that I don't read it all in a couple of sittings and quickly forget all that I had read. There are some narratives in each chapter thath outline some simple example scenarios, but the author fails to develop any of them beyond a couple of paragraphs. The main theme of the book is compelling. Whenever a manager takes on a new role, he/she will take several days to reach the break-even point, which is defined as the point where the executive creates more value than he/she consumes. Regardless of which level you are at, your first few days in a new role set the stage for your success and if you can properly plan your transition you can make the right first impressions and greatly improve your chances of success. Around 25% of the managers in a Fortune 500 company take on a new role every year. If this book accelerates the transition of even a small fraction of these, then it has achieved its purpose.There are a few things in the book, that while obvious, are a useful reminder for all of us. The author carefully underscores the importance of first understanding the situation that you are in, i.e. are you in a startup situation, or is it a mature organization in need of a turnaround, re-alignment or sustaining operation. Your strategies are different depending on the situation. There are several other nuggets that the book imparts and I will not give it all away here. The book does tend to get repetitive and does not have too much meat behind the nuggets of wisdom. Nevertheless, it is a useful reminder to all of us when we take up a new role. I recommend this book to anyone who is recently promoted or changing jobs and is most relevant before or as soon as you take on your new role.

  • Chris Russell
    2018-10-14 05:52

    The First 90 DaysA review of an excellent tool for transitioning into new rolesI recently have been going through some career transitions. As part of this I’m necessarily engaging in new roles with new organizations in different capacities. I did what we always do when we wonder if anyone else has found a solution to this challenge. I googled it. I mean, why recreate the wheel if best practices already exist in the public domain? Is there a cheat sheet?It turns out there is. This is how I came across this wonderfully helpful book. The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter, by Michael Watkins. It is from Harvard Business Review, which always gives me pause. Many of the HBR books are terrible 250 page expansions of a decent 10 page white paper. This one is not. It’s a great, practical guide with step by step instructions and good and bad examples. The first 90 days of a new role is a critical time. You have the perfect storm of an incredibly steep learning curve, an unfamiliar organization and the need to produce results. You are in the spotlight not only with your new management but with your new peers and reports as well. These 90 days make or break your ongoing role with that organization. It’s an opportunity to put your stamp on the role. Many people fail in these transitions. They fail because they try to wing it. This book could have saved them. It’s not just that you may need the information once in a while when you change jobs. You need to have this skill as part of your portfolio in the modern career. It’s a competitive advantage. Why? Because even if you manage to survive the transition you will underperform your time-to-value break even point. The faster you can get to value the more value you will accrete to yourself and your career. When I say ‘breakeven point to value’ I mean both kinds of value – the value you bring to the organization and the cumulative value to your career. It’s not just about being enthusiastic, working hard and having a history of success. You have to know what you’re doing to get to that value breakeven point. One of the things I appreciate about the book is that it lays out everything you need to consider in the first chapter! It lays out the ‘transition traps’ that will feel eerily familiar to anyone who has transitioned roles. “But your objective is not only to avoid vicious cycles; you need to create virtuous cycles that help you create momentum and establish and upward spiral of increasing effectiveness.”You could stop right there at the end of the introduction and be armed with enough to save your bacon in the transition period. Then he marches through each topic in the subsequent chapters in great, practical Harvard B-school examples. Specific examples and instructions on how to approach each directive and each conversation to make your first 90 days amazingly productive. The directives that I found particularly useful were: 1. Accelerate your learning. Think about it. When you transition to a new role, especially an executive role, you are drinking from a firehose. There is too much to learn. How do you manage it? He lays out how to create a learning plan that allows you to climb the learning curve effectively. Great stuff. Write it down and then you can share it with your new boss. You are going to learn the people of the organization, the products, the markets, etc. The point is you think about the learning process ahead of time so that you can focus on what is important and with the end in mind. 2. Match your strategy to the situation. This was the most useful for me. . It turns out there are only 5. The acronym is STARS. Your new role is either a startup, a turn around, an accelerate growth, a re-align or a steady state. I have taken over startups and turn-arounds, but if I applied those strategies to my current role I would not be as successful. Each situation requires a different approach. My current role is an ‘accelerate’. This means that I have to take what is there, understand what is working and not and build on it. If I treated it like a turnaround, marched through the door and started stepping on throats, that would be the wrong approach. The organizational immune system would reject me. Match the strategy to the situation. 3. Secure early wins. People have a tendency to try to do too much in that first 90 days. You can’t do everything. You have to work with your boss to negotiate what early wins will be. What can we accomplish that will make a differencein30, 60 and 90 days? Understanding this ‘early wins’ requirement will accelerate your time to value. It will also keep you from getting stuck in a unwinnable situation. 4. Negotiate success. Key to all of this is to keep your boss in the loop with all the above. The book lays out how to have these conversations at the end of the first week where you present your 30, 60, 90 day plans and get his or her buy in. Then moving forward as you negotiate what you are going to do and what resources you will need to get it done. This gives you air cover and alignment with your direct manager. 5. Build your team. This part talks through how to assess the existing team and make the necessary organizational adjustments. These are not the only points covered but they are the ones that were most useful to me. They also gave me a framework from which to explain my strategy as I make my way around the organization. It may be that I found the book at the right time for me, for it to be so effective and relevant. But I found it to be a cookbook full of recipes for the high-stress, high-stakes process of taking on new leadership roles.

  • Vince Wu
    2018-09-17 06:02

    I think you'll find this book by Watkins quite disappointing if you're expecting some extraordinary insight on how to successfully take on a new role. This book isn't a summary of theory backed up by research. Nor is it a collection of motivating war stories.This book is much more suitable if treated as a checklist. Assuming you agree that having a strategy is critical to successfully transitioning to a new role, how do you go about formulating this strategy? How do you make sure you've considered every aspect? This is where the book comes in handy. The ideas aren't new or non-obvious, but it's valuable nonetheless in laying out a blueprint.

  • Kathryn
    2018-10-14 08:03

    This book was great. Very concise, and extremely well organized. From soup to nuts, it provides excellent guidance for those who find themselves in a new position of leadership within an organization. Chapter by chapter, Watkins provides effective tools for diagnosing specific types of leadership crises/ oppotunities and helpful suggestions for negotiating a path to success. I found the anecdotes he provided to be extremely helpful and not cheesy or inappropriate, as is often the case with a lot of the management literature out there. I will definitely come back to this book for continued guidance.

  • Steve Sarner
    2018-09-21 07:08

    This was a helpful book. It validated many things I already knew but did not offer too many new ideas. The systems and processes recommended for getting started are generally simple common sense approaches. That said, I think it is a great book for someone earlier in their career. I really could have used this many years ago when I inherited a senior team with a promotion. It offers sound and practical advice for situations of this nature and many others. It is a very solid read for a first time supervisor or manager too.

  • Michelle Riffer
    2018-09-21 10:05

    A fantastic book for anyone newly in a position, or to prepare for moving into a position - great prep for a promotion. Teaches how to have big wins early on to set yourself up for success; also discusses inheriting a team and when/how to make changes.I really enjoyed this book and recommend it highly to anyone about to enter a transition period in their career, especially when taking on new challenges. I've lent my copy out so many times the pages are dog-eared throughout and it seems to be a winner for those who want to hit the ground running.

  • Derek Emerson
    2018-09-29 08:55

    This book is best suited for the cutthroat business executive than just "any leader" as the promo implies. There are some good ideas in here, but too much of it sounds like an academic who comes up with semi-good ideas and makes them into a book. I read this quickly and focused on the parts that seemed the most applicable to my own work.

  • Sri Shivananda
    2018-09-25 08:09

    This book has now become a permanent part of my bookshelf. It is the most repeated read on my list. Each time my role changes, sometimes even slightly, I go back to this book as a framework I can use to onboard into the new role and follow a repeatable design pattern. I recommend this to all professionals who are going into new transitions in their careers.

  • Andrew
    2018-09-17 14:08

    Today it's three stars but I suspect in the future it'll gain another. Whether you're in transition, working with people transitioning, or managing others' transitions this is a great book to read through quickly.Then keep on your reference shelf to dive back into useful sections deeply.

  • Mickey Kammeyer
    2018-09-23 13:02

    Great book about how to succeed in a new leadership / managerial role. It is not just for reading though. Be prepared to actually dig in an make a plan (even if you are already entrenched in a role).I am going to read it again.

  • Raed
    2018-10-18 14:10

    Great insight, and helpful guidance on setting up w framework when you are in transition. It's an essential reference to managers, and executives.

  • Jay
    2018-09-28 07:54

    I recently interviewed for a project leader position in a small organization. I met with the HR representative at the end of the day and noticed “The First 90 Days” on the shelf in his office. He told me the organization gave this book to all new employees. Although I did not get that job, I figured there might be something of value in this book, so I gave the audio version a try. What I found was a pretty thorough description of the areas to spend time on when starting a new leadership position. While the advice on what to spend time on was not earth-shatteringly different than what you might come up with on personal reflection, this book does that work for you. It includes checklists to ensure that you aren’t missing things that might be important, and for that, I thought the book was valuable. I also found the case studies, stories about people starting new jobs, to be interesting and well done, and I could have used more.As an individual contributor and not a leader at work, I found this still was useful. In some ways, the advice was still spot on – you need to spend time on learning and need to break down your approach, you still need to understand the politics involved in your job, and so on. The individual contributor can just ignore some of the advice aimed at a leader, like the advice related to building your teams. Or put it in your back pocket for later. I thought this was also a good read for individual contributors in the organization I interviewed for because they would understand what new leaders in their organization were trying to do, and could be helpful in the process of getting new leaders up to speed. As a person with a career that could include technical sales management, I also read the book as if I was in that position. In many cases, technical sales management have to get up to speed on the management aspects of their job, but they also have to get up to speed on the technical aspects of their job. I didn’t see as much useful information on handling technical training beyond the very generic advice on learning.I listened on audio, and found that to be not the best medium for this kind of book – one with a lot of lists and charts. In this case, there are a number of detailed reviews that also cover the advice quite well at a basic level, so the availability of that material mitigates the list problem on audio. If you listen to this and like it, you will either want to get a copy of the book or at least bookmark some good, detailed reviews.

  • Rafael Rosa
    2018-09-30 10:09

    ## TL;DRProvides some structure to how to approach a new management job, with useful "reminder lists", but nothing out of this world. If you're new to management or looking to improve your political skills on higly hierarchical organizations it might be useful. The author is too forceful trying to sell his ideas and focus a lot on adapting to the environment and only rock the boat when needed, which is an approach I dislike.## OpinionNot bad as management books go, he provides useful check-lists of "things to consider" when on boarding or making management decisions. His accomplishment is giving a decent structure to these ideas that are usually spread across different disciplines or learned from experience.His method is a kind of "paint by the numbers" for on boarding and planning, split into the following parts:* Prepare yourself * Learn about what you're getting into before joining and mentally break away from the previous job* Accelerate your learning * Don't start by making changes and decisions. First spend time learning about the company history, culture, politics and processes before you act, but you need to do it methodically to speed up the process* Match your strategy to the situation * Undertand the situation and direction of the company using the STARS framework and adapt your actions and approach to it* Secure early wins * Early and small successes will build your reputation and buy you time to act on the long term* Negotiate success * Make sure your clear about what your boss and the organization expects from you. Underpromise and overdeliver.* Achieve alignment * With a clear understanding of the direction and strategy of the company make the necessary adjustments to structure, processes and skills to deliver it* Build your team * Be methodical when changing your team to make sure they can contribute to the company's goals, you don't get in legal trouble and you set the tone for the remaining team* Create coalitions * How to play politics and get the support you need to achieve your goals* Keep your balance * Make sure your personal life is under control to avoid derailing your new job* Accelerate everyone * Sell your company on the need for formal on boarding process, especially if they buy the authors' consulting services### The goodOne thing that I think is valuable and I didn't know before reading the book is the STARS framework to classify the company's direction and adjust your approach accordingly. STARS is an achronym for *start-up, turnaround, accelerated growth, realignment, and sustaining success*, which are different situations that a company, division or product line might be going through. Each situation calls for different approaches and *pain thresholds* the company is prepared to take. For example, during turnarounds the company can tolerate brutal changes to structure and products because they need to adapt fast or die, while in realignment situations it probably won't accept the same changes without a lot of resistance.[The author has an article explaining the basics on HBR](, it isn't rocket science and anybody with a few jobs under their belt will have an intuitive understanding of it, but it's the first time I saw it structure in this way and it provides a good share language to discuss such things.Also, the check-lists he provides throughout the book are useful, both when you're new to the job and when you're struggling with some organizational problem. They do not solve anything for you, but will help you approach these situations with more structure, which is helpful.## The badUnfortunately, by trying discuss so many topics, he's unable to discuss them in depth, a problem compounded by the lack of substantial reading recommendations. A good example of this is when he discusses strategic positioning and uses SWOT as a reference framework for it. He doesn't provide an in depth discussion, provides external references and barely suggests that there are alternative frameworks to strategy analysis. Adding some good external references, beyond his own articles on HBR, would improve the book a lot.## The uglyAll over the book he tries too hard to sell his awesome method, which is incredibly annoying. I get that he likes his method and it's "acclaimed" by the management publications all over the world, but I'm already reading his stuff, I don't need him hammering the marketing tag line on every chapter and have a sales pitch disguised as the "accelerate everyone" chapter.Another annoyance is that the book is clearly geared towards traditional, highly hierarchical and political companies, a more cynic review could summarize the book as "get your political backstabbing game to a higher level". I get that he wrote it thinking about joe-white-collar, but the fact that he proposes a chameleon approach when getting a new job, politely suggesting that you hide your true self until you're established, is a very disappointing.To his credit he asks readers to treat their employees with decency and respect, but in my book this is the bare minimum when dealing with people's livelihoods, so no extra cookies for him.## Notes on the formatI read it on Kindle, this is the kind of book that's probably better suited to print or e-book, but not audio, since most of the useful stuff is on diagrams and check-lists, and you'll probably want to refer to them from time to time. Some of the tables are mangled on Kindle, you were warned.

  • Jessica
    2018-10-06 07:52

    I found this to be a helpful book for getting into the right mindset for my new job. Although some of the ideas and tools seem pretty obvious, and others are not highly relevant to me, it provides a useful framework to keep focussed and mentally prepare, particularly if you're going into a situation without clearly defined tasks. I also started this on audio and can recommend the narrator, though there are a lot of tables and I wanted to take notes so I switched to Kindle.

  • Sisi
    2018-10-03 12:07

    Highly recommend this book to anyone who is becoming a new manager, or just got promoted. It's definitely a beginner's book, and I recommend starting to read it before you start your new job, but it's useful even after you begin.What helped me the most is that the book forced me to think about certain things that I thought were common sense, but didn't make the time to think through explicitly. Doing some of the exercises in here were incredibly illuminating for me.

  • المهند السبيعي
    2018-10-02 10:07

    A great book for a great start, I have learned a lot from this book specially chapter four.I wish from the author to make a special version for fresh graduates and another version for middle management staff.

  • Ethan
    2018-09-18 08:00

    Quite a bit of corporate speak, though some of the principles apply anytime in one's life where there are transitions.

  • Matthew Hodge
    2018-10-05 09:55

    Does exactly what it says.Watkins' advice is necessarily high-level because this is a book aimed more at people entering into senior management but it's all sound advice.I have recently started a new role and have referred to these chapters on several occasions over the last few months.

  • Joe Noto
    2018-09-23 13:06

    95% of this book is common sense, just typed out. It was really a struggle to read. The only thing I think could be valuable was how it split up the your company's status into 5 different stages and explained how to manage a startup as opposed to a steady company, as opposed to a growing company, etc, however even most of that was common sense. It you are a new supervisor and you dont already know the things in this book, you are in trouble. Lastly, there was constant repetition of the common sense. This could have been consolidated into a 8 page document. 2 stars because it was organized well, written clearly, and the last 2 chapters were kind of interesting.

  • Sara
    2018-10-13 10:00

    I read this book, because I was starting a new job and wanted to feel prepared and confident during my first few months. This was a great, quick read with lots of tools, practical examples, and frameworks. The book helped me set the right pace for myself starting at a new company. I will definitely read again!