Leadership Transition: The First 90 days

Whether a manager is hired by a new company or promoted from within, organizations have high expectations for the first 3 months of the new appointee according to Michael Watkins, author of The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels.

Cross-cultural communication skills are expected to be known by the new leader to deal effectively with multicultural teams and a global network of clients and stakeholders .

In fact some researchers found that the very first days are critical to build credibility (see : Harvard Management Update: New Leaders: Stop Downward Performance Spirals Before They Start January 16, 2009 by Jean-Francois Manzoni and Jean-Louis Barsoux )

Here are some tips for making the most of those early 90 days:


1-Meet your team and listen to each direct report individually, ask their opinion on why they think things work or do not work. Ask what are their career plans for the next 3 years.

2-Ask for suggestions and identify people who can partner with you

3-Listen and understand others before being understood

4-Learn the company values, vision, mission, strategies and rules as they might be very different from “home”.

5-Meet with your boss often and ask for a weekly feedback session

6-Prioritize actions you can do in 90 days that will have an impact on your long-term success

7-Volunteer for an internal new project, do as much team building exercises as possible

8- Do effective networking inside and outside the company. Contact your local chambers of commerce, look for cultural events, be part of local social networks.

9-Think positive and enjoy your knew situation

10-Hire an executive coach

11-Look for a mentor


1-Do not rely on your past experiences and behaviors that were successful as they might not apply to your knew situation

2-Do not tell people all about your past experiences but share future vision

3-Do not make negative comments about your former boss or company or your current host country

About Anne Egros

Zest and Zen is a blog about Expat Life Challenges, Global Leadership, Intercultural Communication, Health and Wellness, Nutrition, Change Psychology, Life Transitions
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