CIO Straight Talk - Issue 6 - 61

GETTING THINGS RIGHT,
RIGHT FROM THE START
Compared to even a few years ago, someone in a new position has less time to make
an impression and begin to have an impact. You need to hit the ground running.

"Every successful career is a series of successful
assignments, and every successful assignment
is launched with a successful transition," writes
Michael Watkins in The First 90 Days: Proven
Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and
Smarter. The first edition, published in 2003 by
Harvard Business Review Press, spent 15 months
on the BusinessWeek bestseller list, and the
hardcover edition continued with strong sales for
the next decade. The second edition, published
in 2013, has proved even more popular. Between
the two editions he wrote a number of books on
leadership transitions, including Your Next Move
and a book for public managers, The First 90
Days in Government.
This body of work has earned Watkins
international recognition as an expert on
leadership transitions. Watkins, the cofounder of
Genesis Advisers, which designs onboarding and
transition programs for Fortune 500 companies,
is also a professor at the IMD business school, in
Lausanne, Switzerland, and has taught at Harvard
Business School and the Harvard Kennedy School
of Government.
Dubbed the "onboarding bible" by The
Economist, The First 90 Days played a seminal
role in launching widespread interest in talent
management and the onboarding of new hires
- critical issues in the global talent wars. But
Watkins urges us to apply the principles of
successful leadership transitions to more than
just leaders who are entering a new organization

- say, an executive who's moving from the
C-suite in one company to the C-suite in another.
In today's business environment, he notes, it's
crucial for people to know how to step into any
new role or assignment, inside their company as
well as in a new one, and start contributing as
quickly as possible.
The first step may be simply to recognize that
you're in a transition - sometimes a leader's
role and responsibilities change but his or her
title does not. "The most dangerous transition,"
Watkins writes, "is one you don't recognize is
happening."
These days, many CIOs - newbies and veterans
alike - experience these "hidden transitions"
as the role evolves from chief technical expert to
business strategist who's expected to align IT and
related technologies with the organization's broad
goals. Are you ready to play the role of strategic
business partner in an organization that expects
that? Are you ready to help redefine the role in an
organization that still thinks of the CIO in narrow
terms? The answers to those questions, and to
many others, determine whether such a de facto
transition will be bumpy or smooth.
Indeed, many factors come into play whenever
a leader steps into a new role. Watkins spoke
with CIO Straight Talk Editor-in-Chief Paul Hemp
and Managing Editor Ritesh Garg about some of
those factors, the increasing imperative of speedy
transitions, and a few of the books he hasn't
yet written.

CIO Straight Talk | 61



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CIO Straight Talk - Issue 6

Contents
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 6 - Cover1
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 6 - Contents
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CIO Straight Talk - Issue 6 - Cover3
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