“The First 90 Days” by Michael D. Watkins is a book on leadership transition that I had delivered to me from my new manager at the role I just took on at a new company. I read the book ahead of starting last month but finally got around to sitting down and writing out my summary. The book provides a comprehensive framework for making a successful transition, with practical advice and tips that are applicable to any industry or organization.
Understand the Situation
Watkins stresses the importance of gathering as much information as possible about the new role, the team, the company, and the industry before making any major decisions or taking action. This involves conducting research, talking to key stakeholders, and developing a clear understanding of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Here are the five key points I pulled from it.
Secure Early Wins
To build credibility and establish trust with the team and the organization, it is important to identify and achieve some early wins in the first few weeks or months of the transition. This involves setting clear goals, prioritizing tasks, and executing effectively to demonstrate competence and value.
Build Your Team
Watkins emphasizes the need to build a strong team and establish a positive culture early on in the transition. This involves assessing the current team, identifying strengths and weaknesses, and making strategic hires or changes as needed. It also involves setting expectations, communicating vision and values, and providing feedback and support to team members.
To be successful in a new leadership role, it is essential to build relationships and alliances with key stakeholders both inside and outside the organization. This involves identifying influencers, engaging with them, and building trust and rapport over time. It also involves managing conflicts and navigating political dynamics in a constructive way.
Keep Your Focus
To stay on track and achieve long-term success, it is important to maintain a clear focus on the goals and priorities of the new role, while also remaining adaptable and open to new opportunities and challenges. This involves staying organized, managing time effectively, and developing a clear roadmap for the future.
I found the book to be a pretty brisk read and especially enjoyed the templates available to help guide some of the meeting notes I should take as I meet with my new directs, peers and VP. It really helped me put together a formidable 30/60/90 day plan to tackle this new role with success!