The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels
by Michael Watkins
first 90 days
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Harvard Business Press; 1st edition (September 18, 2003)
Available from:

In these days of the public's microscopic scrutiny of corporate C-level executives, it's a wonder anyone would aspire to the CEO position. Amazingly enough, many eager managers are still climbing--and Harvard Business School professor and author (Right from the Start [1999]) Watkins helps prepare them for career moves, accelerating their transitions. This is, essentially, practical advice about undertaking new opportunities and understanding new vulnerabilities, quickly and without much upheaval.

Different steps--sometimes simultaneously, sometimes sequential-- define success in the first three months, from promoting yourself (i.e., taking charge fast) to keeping your balance. Anecdotes enliven the checklists and sample learning plans; in fact, one specific case--Douglas Ivester of Coca-Cola--underscores the absolute necessity to adapt and change rapidly in new positions. Much content is human resources related, based on self-discipline, team building, and the availability of trusted advice and counsel. Would that every newly elected president of the U.S. heeded this practice.

"Watkins offers a do-it-yourself road map for executives, whether ... moving into start-ups,
leading turnarounds, orchestrating changes or sustaining high-performance companies."
                                          - Financial Times
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