Mastering your first 90 days: insights from "The First 90 Days, Updated and Expanded" by Michael Watkins

April 24, 2024
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Stepping into a leadership role in a fresh startup has been a whirlwind of learning and growth for me.

As an introvert, adapting to the spotlight and socializing didn't come naturally, but I was determined to lead my organization to success.

Equipped with personal guides and support from entrepreneur friends, I discovered "The First 90 Days" by Michael Watkins. This book became my trusted companion, offering invaluable guidance for navigating the critical initial three months in a leadership position.

Watkins emphasizes the importance of accelerating the learning curve during this pivotal period, and his comprehensive framework helped me navigate the challenges and opportunities I faced:

  • Embrace a Mindset Shift: Leaving behind my previous achievements, I focused on delivering results in my new role.
  • Understand the Situation: Engaging in diagnostic thinking allowed me to assess the company's culture, strengths, and weaknesses to devise a winning strategy.
  • Build the Right Team: Establishing strong relationships and addressing gaps in the team ensured we had the right people in the right roles.
  • Create a Clear Vision: Crafting a compelling vision and effectively communicating it rallied support and inspired my team to excel.
  • Master Time Management: Prioritizing tasks and focusing on high-impact activities aligned with our vision and goals.
  • Accelerate Learning: Seeking feedback, mentorship, and alliances with key stakeholders helped me navigate the learning curve effectively.
  • Overcome Obstacles: Anticipating resistance and addressing cultural challenges allowed us to forge ahead.
  • Deliver Early Wins: Achieving quick, visible successes built credibility and confidence in my leadership.
  • Negotiate for Resources: Advocating for the necessary resources ensured effective implementation of our strategic initiatives.
  • Sustain Momentum: Focusing on continuous improvement reinforced positive behaviors for lasting success.

Applying Watkins' principles, I streamlined my transition, made a positive impact, and positioned myself for long-term success. The book's real-life examples and practical tools were invaluable as I set the foundation for my leadership journey.

To all new leaders, especially those in startup environments, I highly recommend "The First 90 Days." Embrace the opportunities for growth and learning during this critical period—it will shape your entire tenure as a leader. Seize the moment to make a lasting impression and create a strong foundation for your leadership journey.



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