Michael D. Watkins is Professor of Leadership and Organizational Change at IMD. He has spent the last two decades working with leaders—both corporate and public—as they transition to new roles, transform their organizations, and craft their legacies.
Dr. Watkins is author of the international bestseller The First 90 Days, Updated and Expanded: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter, which The Economist recognized as “the on-boarding bible.” With more than 750,000 copies sold in English, and translations in 24 languages, The First 90 Days has become the classic reference for leaders in transition and a standard resource of leading change. In 2011, it was named one of the best 100 business books of all time.
Prior to joining IMD, Dr. Watkins was an adjunct professor at INSEAD, and an associate professor at the Harvard Business School and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. While on the faculty of these institutions, he designed and taught world-class programs for high-potential leader development, corporate diplomacy, and strategic negotiation.
Dr. Watkins is the author or co-author of eleven books and numerous articles on leadership and negotiation. In the field of leadership these include Your Next Move: The Leader’s Guide to Managing Critical Career Transitions (HBS Press 2009), Shaping the Game: The New Leader’s Guide to Effective Negotiating (HBS Press 2006) and Predictable Surprises: The Disasters You Should Have Seen Coming and How to Avoid Them (HBS Press 2004). Predictable Surprises was named one of the best business books of 2004 by Strategy + Business and won the 2006 annual Kulp-Wright Award from The American Risk and Insurance Association. He also is the author or co-author of eight Harvard Business Review articles, including “It’s All About Day One” (2013), “How Managers Become Leaders” (2012), “Picking the Right Transition Strategy” (2009), “The Leadership Team: Complementary Strengths or Conflicting Agendas” (2007) and “The Successor’s Dilemma” (2000).
Originally from Canada, Dr. Watkins received his undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Waterloo, did graduate work in law and business at the University of Western Ontario, and completed his Ph.D. in Decision Sciences at Harvard University.
Session length: 90 minutes
When leaders take new roles, they need to climb steep learning curves, define direction, build their team, and get early wins as rapidly as possible. New leaders often need to assess, reshape, reorganize, and realign their teams. Major changes, such as restructuring, accelerated growth, and post-acquisition integration, result in organizations that need to be “rewired” to drive alignment and accelerate integration. In this 90-minute session, Michael Watkins will introduce you to the Transition Roadmap™ framework, and the ingredients for successful transitions – leader, team and organization – based on a career of advising leaders and teams in Fortune 100 companies. The First 90 Days framework, language and toolkit will pave the way for the transition capable workforce.
Accelerate Your Learning – Understanding technical, cultural and political dimensions and what a leader’s focal point should be.
Match Your Strategy to the Situation – Understanding how to adjust a leader’s approach depending on different dimensions of the situation he/she is facing.
Gain Alignment – Having the right conversations with manager(s) and key stakeholders.
Establish Direction – Understanding the mission, goals, vision, strategies—the what, the how, the why. What are we going to accomplish, how are we going to do it, and why should we get excited about it.
Build your team – Most leaders inherit someone else’s team and need to assess, reshape, align and accelerate that team from the outset.
Securing Early Wins – Understanding what early wins to focus on, how to get them, and how to build support to make them happen.
Create Alliances – In order to get things done, a leader must create alliances. The name of the game in order to get early wins and establish direction around them is to build key alliances.