Thinkers50 Hall of Fame: Michael Watkins

Michael Watkins has been inducted into the
Thinkers50 Hall of Fame 2023.

Professor of leadership and organisational change at IMD, Michael Watkins is co-founder of consultancy Genesis Advisers. He is also the author of The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter (HBR Press, 2003, 2nd edition 2013), which has been translated into 23 languages and become the classic reference for leaders in transition. First published in 2003, it outlines basic principles to help leaders transition quickly and efficiently to new professional roles, identifies the most common traps, and provides the tools and strategies to avoid them. 

The First 90 Days was followed by Your Next Move: The Leader’s Guide to Managing Critical Career Transitions (HBR Press, 2009), which offers additional guidance on how to apply the 90 Days framework in different contexts and more turbulent times. Both books have been updated and expanded, most recently with the 2019 publication of Master Your Next Move: The Essential Companion to The First 90 Days (HBR Press).

A globally recognised leadership and career transition expert, Michael is a former professor at the Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Business School. He has applied his First 90 Days® methodology to help leaders make successful transitions both through his teaching and his consultancy practice.  

Michael sat down with Thinkers50 co-founder, Stuart Crainer, to talk about his work.


Hear from Michael at RenDanHeYi OpenTalk 2023: Into the Ecosystem Future, which took place virtually 12-14 September 2023. Hosted by the Business Ecosystem Alliance (BEA) in partnership with the Haier Model Institute (HMI), this free event explored the very latest thinking and best practice in the field of business ecosystems. It also included a webinar with Michael and several other of the new inductees into the Thinkers50 Hall of Fame.

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