THE FIRST 90 DAYS:
Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels
Michael Watkins
253 pages (Harvard Business School Press, 2003)

Anew leader’s success or failure is often determined within the first 90 days on the job, and Harvard Business School professor Michael Watkins aims to help people minimize the risk of failing at their new roles, whether diving into a new organization or transitioning within an existing one. He provides common sense advice gleaned from studying career transitions and outlines numerous ways to think about starting a new role. The book is organized around 10 vital actions at a new job (“promote yourself ” and “create coalitions” are two), and each section is concluded with a brief checklist. While written in smooth and readable prose with helpful recommendations, it lacks specific connection to research. Watkins alludes in his preface that the book extends the research from his earlier work, but the footnotes and direct references are infrequent and do not seem to support many of the suggestions. As a result, the origin of the suggestions is often unclear.

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