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The First 90 Days in Government

More than 250,000 public sector managers in the United States take on new positions each year and many more aspire to leadership. Each will confront special challenges-from higher public profiles to a greater number of stakeholders to volatile political environments-that will make their transitions even more challenging than in the business world.

Now Michael Watkins, author of the bestselling book The First 90 Days, applies his proven leadership transition framework to the public sector. In this must-have guide, Watkins and coauthor Peter Daly address the crucial differences between the private and public sectors that go to the heart of how success and failure are defined, measured, and rewarded or penalized.

This concise, practical book provides a roadmap that will help new government leaders at all levels accelerate their transitions by overcoming nine transition challenges, ranging from clarifying expectations to defining goals to building a team to managing personal stress. The authors also offer detailed strategies for avoiding major “transition traps.”

Zeroing in on the challenges faced by new government leaders, The First 90 Days in Government is the indispensable guide for anyone seeking to lead and succeed in the public sector.

“This is the best “hands-on” book on how to succeed and lead in government. [If you don’t have] the tools and lessons in this book, your top government job may turn into a nightmare, or even worse, a lost opportunity.”
– George Muñoz, President, Muñoz Investment Banking Group, LLC, and Former Assistant Secretary and Chief Financial Officer, U.S. Department of the Treasury

“I wish this book had been available years ago, when I was moving from the private sector, with virtually no management experience, into a brand-new role as a member of Congress with serious responsibilities and, suddenly, a real staff to manage. During my first 90 days I made a number of mistakes that could have been easily avoided if I had only had this road map to follow.”
– Mickey Edwards, Former U.S. Congressman, and Executive Director, Aspen Institute-Rodel Fellowships in Public Leadership

“The First 90 Days in Government should be a must-read for all new political appointees at the change of administrations and people who want a career in public service. This book accurately depicts the difficulties one may face in this environment as well as effective strategies to overcome these challenges. The advice outlined in this book can truly help you be ahead of the learning curve.”
– James Lee Witt, CEO and Chairman, James Lee Witt Associates, LLC, and Former Director, Federal Emergency Management Agency

“I wish I had had The First 90 Days in Government when I was recruiting executives from the private sector into the IRS for the first time. It would have helped my energetic and talented new recruits to avoid huge frustrations and wasted time in their early days on the job. Daly and Watkins have clearly and practically laid out two big points: what’s different about managing in the government, and how you can cope with these realities and still get things done.”
– Charles Rossotti, Co-founder, American Management Systems, and Former Commissioner, Internal Revenue Service

“Daly and Watkins are right: there are important differences between the public and private sectors, and the new government official had better understand the implications of those differences right from the start. The First 90 Days in Government provides an easy-to-grasp and useful set of recommendations designed to give the new government manager the insights that will improve the odds for success.”
– Robert Gallucci, Dean, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University