Michael Watkins (US) – Leading transition expert

Topical keynote Speakers & Experts -

  • Michael D Watkins is Professor of Leadership and Organizational Change. He is a globally recognized leadership transitions expert and author of the best-selling book The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter.
  • A Thinkers50-ranked management influencer, Watkins has developed proven frameworks and tools to help professionals navigate personal and organizational change challenges.
  • He has spent the past two decades working with leaders as they transition to new roles, build their teams, and transform their organizations.
  • In 2023, Watkins was inducted into the Thinkers50 Management Hall of Fame, which recognizes remarkable contributions to the realm of management concepts and ideas spanning many years.

About Michael Watkins

He is author of the international bestseller The First 90 Days, Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter, which The Economist recognized as “the on-boarding bible.”
With more than 1,000,000 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 800-CEO-Read. Amazon declared it “one of the 100 best leadership and success books to read in your lifetime.”
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:
Master Your Next Move: The Essential Companion to The First 90 Days (HBS Press 2019),
Shaping the Game: The New Leader’s Guide to Effective Negotiating (HBS Press 2006)
Predictable Surprises: The Disasters You Should Have Seen Coming and How to Avoid Them (HBS Press 2004)

Michael Watkins is a renowned author/co-author of Harvard Business Review articles, including:

Initiative Overload (2018)
Onboarding Isn’t Enough (2017)
Leading the Team You Inherit (2016)
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)
The Successor’s Dilemma (2000)

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.

In addition, he has written extensively on business-government relations, international security and negotiation, most recently co-authoring Case Studies in U.S. Trade Negotiation, Volumes 1 and 2 and

Winning the Influence Game: What Every Business Leaders Should Know About Government.
His books on negotiation – Breakthrough International Negotiation: How Great Negotiators Transformed the World’s Toughest Post-Cold War Conflicts and Breakthrough Business Negotiation: A Toolbox for Managers, won the CPR Institute’s prize for best books in the field of negotiation in 2001 and 2003.

Prior to joining IMD, Dr. Watkins was 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.

He is the co-founder of Genesis Advisers, a transition acceleration consultancy.

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.

Your Next Move: Navigating High-Stakes Changes

You’ve got big ideas and ambitions, and have done well…so far. But are you really ready for what’s next?
Michael prepares you for the 8 classic transitions—including an internal promotion, managing former peers, on-boarding, and an international move—that you will face along the road to becoming a senior leader.

He also discusses the challenge of organizational change and the impact of company-wide acceleration programs.

Hero or Steward: Matching Leadership Style to Organizational Change

The most successful leaders adapt their leadership style as conditions change in their organizations. You may be facing the “hidden transitions” that are part of normal growth and downsizing—or coping with a merger, reorganization, or new leadership.

Michael explains the critical relevance of leadership style, and how you can master the art of adaptive and inspirational leadership for ongoing success.

Your Next 90 Days: Thriving in a world of continuous transitions

Welcome to your next challenge! Be it the First 90 Days, or the next business challenge, you need to take the time to assess yourself and the situation you are facing to maximize your results.

Make an investment in your success and plan Your Next 90 Days.

Based on the international bestseller, The First 90 Days, recognized as one of the top 100 business books of all time.