What a difference a decade makes. When I set out to write The First 90 Days in 2001, little was out there about getting up to speed in new roles or onboarding new hires (hereafter “leadership transitions”).1 At the time, I was teaching negotiation and corporate diplomacy at Harvard Business School. Although I had coauthored a modestly successful book on senior executive transitions in 1999—Right from the Start with Dan Ciampa—I had been counseled by my colleagues at HBS that it was a risky career move to focus further on the subject.2

While I appreciated their advice, in the end I decided to push forward to write the book. Leadership transitions were just too interesting and ripe for study; it was virtually ...

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