Leading the team you inherit is the challenge of taking over an established team.

We explore the insights of Michael Watkins, expert on leadership transitions and the author of the bestseller The First 90 Days.

A lot of helpful frameworks explain how to build teams. Take the classic “Forming, storming, norming, and performing” model Bruce Tuckman developed. It lays out the predictable development phases teams go through and describes how to navigate each one.

But there’s a problem with such frameworks, and it’s this: Most models assume you get to build your own team from scratch. But a lot of the time, you’re taking over an existing team. And in those situations, the dynamics are entirely different.

What leaders need, then, is a framework that will help them navigate the distinct challenges of transforming an established team. In his work on leadership transitions, Watkins has developed a 3-step process for this.