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The key points of '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 by Michael D. Watkins provides valuable insights and strategies for successfully navigating the critical transition period when starting a new role or position. This book offers key strategies for onboarding success, focusing on understanding the transition challenge, accelerating learning, and securing early wins. Let's explore the key takeaways from these strategies.

Key Takeaways

  • Understand the challenges of transitioning into a new role

  • Prioritize learning and skill acquisition during the onboarding process

  • Focus on achieving early wins to build credibility and momentum

  • Establish strong relationships with key stakeholders and colleagues

  • Create a clear roadmap for success during the first 90 days

Key Strategies for Onboarding Success

Understanding the Transition Challenge

When stepping into a new role, leaders must navigate the complexities of a transition, which often involves a shift in professional identity and a realignment of personal goals with the new organization's objectives. Understanding the transition challenge is crucial for setting the stage for success in the first 90 days.

  • Recognize the expectations of the new role and how they differ from previous experiences.

  • Identify the key stakeholders and their interests related to your position.

  • Assess the organizational culture and how it aligns with your leadership style.

Accelerating Your Learning

In the early stages of a new role, accelerating your learning is critical to success. To effectively absorb the vast amount of information available, it's essential to prioritize learning goals. Identify the key stakeholders and understand their expectations, as well as the business's culture and political landscape.

  • Establish a learning agenda

  • Determine the resources needed

  • Schedule regular check-ins with mentors and peers

Remember, the goal is not just to gather information, but to turn that knowledge into practical insights that can drive early successes. By doing so, you lay a solid foundation for long-term achievement in your new position.

Securing Early Wins

In the critical first 90 days of a new leadership role, securing early wins is essential for building momentum and establishing credibility. Early wins are not just about quick fixes but should align with the long-term strategy and goals of the organization. To ensure these wins are impactful, one must identify opportunities that are visible, unambiguous, and can be achieved relatively quickly.

  • Prioritization* is key when it comes to selecting the right projects or initiatives to tackle. Here's a simple framework to help you decide:

  1. Assess the value: Determine the potential impact on the organization.

  2. Estimate the effort: Consider the resources and time required.

  3. Gauge the timing: Align with the organization's calendar and cycles.

Remember, the goal is not just to make a splash, but to lay the groundwork for sustained success. Early wins should contribute to building relationships, improving systems, and enhancing your team's morale.


In conclusion, 'The First 90 Days' by Michael D. Watkins provides valuable insights and proven strategies for professionals entering new roles. The book offers practical advice and actionable steps to help individuals navigate the critical transition period and set themselves up for success. With its updated and expanded content, this book remains a must-read for anyone looking to get up to speed faster and smarter in a new role.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the main focus of 'The First 90 Days' book?

The main focus of the book is to provide proven strategies for professionals to navigate the challenges of transitioning into a new role or organization effectively.

Who is the author of 'The First 90 Days' book?

The author of the book is Michael D. Watkins, a renowned leadership transitions expert and professor at the Harvard Business School.

What are some key strategies for onboarding success discussed in the book?

The book outlines key strategies such as understanding the transition challenge, accelerating learning, and securing early wins to facilitate a successful onboarding process.

How can professionals accelerate their learning during the onboarding process?

Professionals can accelerate their learning by seeking out key stakeholders, building relationships, and actively seeking feedback to gain a deep understanding of the new role and organization.

What are early wins and why are they important during the onboarding process?

Early wins are quick, visible accomplishments that create momentum and build credibility. They are important during the onboarding process as they help establish a positive track record and build confidence in the new role.

What makes 'The First 90 Days' book a valuable resource for professionals?

The book is a valuable resource as it provides practical strategies, tools, and insights to help professionals navigate the critical transition period with confidence and effectiveness.

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