The first 90 days: Getting off on the right foot

“Joining a new company is akin to an organ transplant — and you’re the new organ. If you’re not thoughtful in adapting to the new situation, you could end up being attacked by the organizational immune system and rejected.” ― Michael D. Watkins

In a 2009 article, U.S. News and World Report writer Ken Walsh described the first 100 days of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidential tenure. In that short period of time, FDR pushed an incredible 15 major bills through Congress, such as the Glass-Steagall Act and FDIC.

“Faced with the spreading catastrophe of the Depression in 1933,” wrote Walsh, “Franklin D. Roosevelt knew from the start that what Americans wanted most of all was reassurance that under his leadership, they could weather the storm. … This began an unprecedented period of experimentation during which Roosevelt tried different methods to ease the Depression; if they failed, he tried something else. His success in winning congressional approval became the stuff of legend. … The new president immediately established a new, infectious atmosphere of optimism.”

For the past eight decades since FDR’s whirlwind initiation, the first 100 days of a president’s tenure in office has been used as a benchmark to measure productivity and effectiveness. Congressional leaders and political pundits closely study the new leader’s behaviors and agenda items during this early period to see what type of leadership they can expect for the balance of the term and possibly beyond.
A similar dynamic exists with new business and organizational leaders, though for them …