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Consider reading “The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter” by Michael Watkins. It offers valuable advice for successfully transitioning into new roles or positions. Reading it lets you learn effective strategies to make a strong start and excel in your career.
- Genre: Business, Leadership, Career Development
- Themes: Leadership Transitions, Onboarding, Career Advancement, Strategy Execution, Organizational Change
What is this book about?
“The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter, Updated and Expanded” by Michael D. Watkins is a highly regarded business and leadership book that offers a comprehensive guide for leaders transitioning into new roles or organizations. This book falls within the business genre and explores themes related to leadership transitions, career development, and effective strategies for success in the early stages of a new leadership position.
The book’s central theme revolves around the importance of the initial 90 days in a new leadership role. Michael D. Watkins argues that the success or failure of a leader during this period significantly impacts their long-term effectiveness within an organization. He introduces readers to a structured framework for confidently navigating leadership transitions and achieving early wins.
“The First 90 Days” provides readers with a roadmap for successful onboarding and integration into a new role. The book outlines key principles and strategies for understanding the organization’s culture, building relationships with key stakeholders, and developing a clear action plan for achieving strategic objectives.
Watkins emphasizes that different leadership transitions require tailored approaches. The book offers guidance and tools for each scenario: moving into a new position within the same organization, taking on a leadership role in a new company, or leading a team through a significant change.
Throughout the book, the author presents real-life case studies and examples of leaders who have effectively navigated their first 90 days. He shares practical advice on diagnosing the challenges and opportunities of a new role, accelerating learning, and driving results quickly.
One of the book’s key messages is the importance of proactive leadership and the need to take charge of one’s transition rather than passively adapting to the new environment. Watkins encourages leaders to set clear expectations, communicate their vision, and create momentum from the outset.
“The First 90 Days” also addresses the complexities of leading through organizational change and offers strategies for gaining buy-in from teams and stakeholders. The updated and expanded edition incorporates insights on virtual leadership transitions and adapting to the evolving business landscape.
Takeaways from “The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and
Smarter, Updated and Expanded” by Michael D. Watkins:
- The first 90 days in a new role are critical. This is when you need to make a good first impression, build relationships, and deliver results.
- There are four key pillars of a successful transition:
- Business orientation: Understanding the company’s business model, strategy, and competitive landscape.
- Stakeholder connection: Building relationships with key people inside and outside the company.
- Alignment of expectations: Clarifying your goals and priorities with your manager and other stakeholders.
- Cultural adaptation: Learning the company’s culture and values.
- Watkins provides several specific strategies for succeeding in each of these areas. For example, he recommends that new leaders spend their first 30 days listening and learning and then develop a 90-day plan that outlines their goals and priorities. He also says that building relationships with key stakeholders and getting buy-in for your plans is important.
Lessons and tips
Tips from “The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter, Updated and Expanded”:
- Be prepared. Before you start your new job, take some time to learn about the company, its industry, and the role you will be filling. This will help you to hit the ground running on your first day.
- Build relationships. Make an effort to meet and get to know your new colleagues, manager, and other key stakeholders. This will help you develop a strong support network and build trust.
- Set clear goals. Within your first 30 days, meet with your manager to set clear goals and priorities for your new role. This will help you stay focused and align with the company’s goals.
- Be proactive. Instead of waiting for instructions, proactively seek opportunities to make a contribution. This will demonstrate your value to the company and help you to make a good impression.
- Celebrate your successes. No matter how small your wins may seem, it’s important to enjoy them. This will help you to stay motivated and to keep moving forward.
“The First 90 Days” is best for professionals transitioning into new leadership roles or seeking to advance their careers by mastering the critical early phase of leadership. It is an invaluable resource for leaders at all levels, from mid-level managers to executives, who want to hit the ground running in their new positions and achieve rapid success. This book is particularly suitable for individuals who value structured approaches to leadership and desire practical tools and strategies for navigating leadership transitions effectively. Whether entering a new company, taking on a promotion, or leading a team through change, Michael D. Watkins’ book provides a clear roadmap to help you get up to speed faster and smarter, ensuring a successful start to your leadership journey.
Best-recommended books besides “The First 90 Days”
If you found “The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter, Updated and Expanded” by Michael D. Watkins valuable and are looking for similar books that offer insights and strategies for successfully transitioning into new roles or positions, here are some recommended alternatives:
“Transitions” by William Bridges
In “Transitions,” William Bridges explores the psychological and emotional aspects of change and transition. He provides a framework for understanding the stages of transition and offers guidance on navigating the challenges of new beginnings. This book helps readers embrace change as an opportunity for personal growth and transformation.
Why we love it:
- Learn more about how changes affect people emotionally.
- Learn strategies for successfully navigating life changes.
- Embrace change as a catalyst for personal growth and development.
“Leaders Eat Last” by Simon Sinek
“Leaders Eat Last” delves into the concept of leadership and its impact on team dynamics. Simon Sinek argues that effective leaders prioritize the well-being of their teams, creating environments of trust and cooperation. The book explores how leaders who prioritize their team’s needs can inspire loyalty, engagement, and high performance.
Why we love it:
- Understand how leaders play critical roles in building a strong, cohesive team.
- Learn how leaders who prioritize team well-being achieve better results.
- Gain insights into building trust and fostering a positive work culture.
“Leading Change” by John P. Kotter
John P. Kotter’s “Leading Change” is a classic in change management. The book outlines an eight-step process for successfully leading and implementing organizational change. Kotter emphasizes the importance of clear communication, building a guiding coalition, and sustaining change efforts over time.
Why we love it:
- Learn a structured approach to leading and managing change in organizations.
- Understand the common pitfalls in change initiatives and how to avoid them.
- Gain practical strategies for inspiring and guiding your team through change.
“Drive” by Daniel H. Pink
In “Drive,” Daniel H. Pink explores the science of motivation and what truly drives human behavior. Pink argues that traditional carrot-and-stick approaches to motivation are outdated. Instead, he presents a framework based on autonomy, mastery, and purpose as the key performance drivers of individuals and teams.
Why we love it:
- Gain deep insights into motivation and how it impacts leadership.
- Learn how to inspire and engage your team by tapping into intrinsic motivation.
- Discover strategies to create an environment where individuals thrive.
“Crucial Conversations” by Al Switzler, Joseph Grenny, and Ron McMillan
“Crucial Conversations” provides a framework for handling high-stakes conversations skillfully and confidently. The authors offer tools and techniques to navigate difficult conversations effectively in personal or professional settings. The book empowers leaders to address crucial issues and achieve positive outcomes.
Why we love it:
- Develop essential communication skills for leadership and relationship-building.
- Learn to address tough issues with empathy and respect.
- Improve your ability to lead by fostering open, honest dialogue.
“The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries
“The Lean Startup” introduces a methodology for launching new businesses and products focusing on rapid experimentation and customer feedback. Eric Ries emphasizes the importance of validated learning and iterative development. This approach can be applied not only to startups but also to innovation within established organizations.
Why we love it:
- Explore a framework for innovation and adaptation in fast-changing environments.
- Learn how to apply lean principles to leadership and decision-making.
- Embrace a mindset of continuous improvement and experimentation.
“Leadership and Self-Deception” by The Arbinger Institute
“Leadership and Self-Deception” is a fable exploring how self-deception can hinder effective leadership. The book introduces the concept of being “in the box” or “out of the box” in interpersonal relationships. It offers insights into improving leadership by addressing personal biases and developing a more outward mindset.
Why we love it:
- Gain awareness of personal biases and how they impact leadership.
- Learn to cultivate an outward mindset for more effective leadership.
- Discover practical strategies for improving relationships and communication.