The First 90 Days by Michael Watkins


Book Review

New Presidents of a country normally get tested in their first 100 days, and according to the writer of ‘The First 90 Days’, business executives get 90 days. I’m not sure what the significance of the days are but the fact remains that new leaders – whether in business or politics – are under scrutiny in their new roles for roughly 3 to 6 months.

The First 90 Days

The focus of ‘The First 90 Days’ is mainly for people who have already established themselves in the business world and are on top of their career; the book’s main discussion is on transitioning leaders who’ve been given the tasks of realignment, restructuring, or total reorganization of the company or department they’re overseeing. Some of the strategies discussed in the book include the example of General Electric where new leaders have a dedicated coach who is selected internally from within the company to assist new leaders in their transition. Other strategies include:

  1. The need for creating the right team around yourself within the first 90-days of your new job.
  2. Understanding the ‘core values’ and politics of the organization – the author goes in great depths when discussing the dissonance in core values versus what is actually being practiced in workplaces, and how similar and generic they are in just about every organization.

I could not relate much with the topics of discussion throughout the book – perhaps because I have never taken up a role in my current organization where I’ve had to transition at a senior level – but I do encourage picking up a copy of this book because it’s a relevant topic. Any change in job will require that need to focus on the right things and requirements for success in the new role.

Recommendation: New senior managers and business leaders changing jobs when already on top of the organizational chart.

Rating: 4/10 (I would have given it a 5/10 but the audio book lost a point because the reader lacked energy and had a very monotonous tone throughout the book).

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