A clear 30-60-90 day plan gives you a better chance of doing a great job quicker. And you will have less stress and anxiety along the way. Why wouldn’t you spend a few hours creating a plan?
In this article, we are going to share our tips and approaches for creating a great 30-60-90 day plan for new managers and leaders that will make your early months easier and more successful. You can also listen to our podcast and video on 30-60-90 day plans.
As background: the average mid-level manager takes 6.2 months to become a net contributor to the organisation they work for. 6.2 months!
Imagine the benefit of getting that 6.2 months down to 3 or 4 months would give you, your career, and the company you work for?
As we all know, first impressions count!
When should you create a 30-60-90 day plan?
Two key points that creating a clear plan for your first 30-60-90 days in a new manager or leadership role makes a lot of sense.
30-60-90 day plan for interview
An interview question asking about the first 30-60-90 plans often separates the good managers and leaders from okay managers and leaders.
Learn your way:
If you are going for a manager level role, spend some time preparing for this question. In the early stages of the recruitment process you won’t have that much information so your planning might be fairly generic.
As you progress through the interview process and learn more, your plans should become more detailed and clearer.
If you don’t prepare for this question and it is asked, you could be out of the running. Don’t get caught out.
30-60-90 day plan for a new manager or leadership role
Well done for getting that new role or getting that promotion. The excitement is great. The pressure to deliver in your new role a little less so. Getting a good plan in place will help reduce any stress and anxiety you have about delivering.
Hopefully, you created a high level plan during the interview process.
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Refine this as much as possible before starting the new role.
- Ask for information to be sent to you.
- Go into the office for a day to meet your team and colleagues.
- Go through the company strategy and goals and work out what you will need to deliver.
Take any actions that allow you to have better quality thinking time before you start your new role.
Add additional detail to your 30-60-90 day plan and make changes based on the new information you have.
Keep your plan as a live document for at least the first few weeks. You will be learning a lot in the first months and you may need to make changes to your plan based on what you learn.
What to include in your 30-60-90 day plan?
1. Match your plan to the situation
Aim to deliver value to the company as quickly as possible. Some areas of your plan will be common to all companies such as building relationships with colleagues. Other areas will be specific to the company and your role within the company.
Make sure your plan is tailored to the situation.
Some areas for you to think about to tailor your plan:
- What is the strategy of the company?
- What part does my team play in delivering this strategy?
- Is the company in a steady state situation, in high growth, in a crisis? How will this impact my priorities?
- What are the key deliverables from the team to other areas in the business?
- What are the key priorities for the team now and what are the ongoing priorities?
- What are the immediate pressures on the team?
- What projects are the team involved in delivering now?
- Do I have enough and the right resources to deliver the results needed?
“How quickly do I need to make an impact?” should also be considered.
In situations like start-ups or turnarounds, you will need to construct new ways of doing things and quickly. When the business is in a steadier state situation, you have more time and incremental improvement is needed, not wholesale change.
2. Set clear goals for the team and individuals
When you are clear about what you want to achieve with the team, you can then set goals and objectives for each individual and the team.
By setting out your expectations and explaining why you have chosen these goals and objectives, provides each team member a direction of travel. They can then focus their efforts on achieving the goals set out.
An even more inclusive step could be to explain where you want to get to and ask the team to create the steps and milestones of how to get there. This creates even more buy-in as the team members own the plan alongside you.
3. Build relationships and team culture
In every new role, you will need to build new relationships. If you have been promoted, you will have to change how you are perceived within existing relationships.
When you start a new role, think about how you want to build relationships with
- Your team
- Your line manager and their peer group
- Your peer group
- Any other stakeholders of your team’s output
- Those that supply your team with information etc
If you are new into the company, building relationships should be one of your first priorities. After all you will rely on these relationships to do your job well.
Ideas for how to start:
- Book in one-to-one meetings with all your team members
- Hold regular weekly or monthly team meetings with a consistent agenda
- Book in one-to-one meetings with all the stakeholders you will work with
- Invite individuals or small groups to coffee or lunch.
When you are building relationships, work on both the professional and personal aspects.
4. Build your team
Your success as a manager or leader of the team will depend on the success of the team overall.
When you first start your new role:
- Work out the strengths and weaknesses of your team members – quickly
- Identify any skills or experience gaps within the team and create a plan to address them.
- Set out your expectations for the team. For behavioural expectations, you must live and display them first. Actions speak louder than words and if you are not prepared to follow the expectations you set, why should your team.
- Deal with poor performance or poor attitudes constructively and quickly. Do not put off taking action if you have these problems within the team.
Put in place a programme to develop the skills and ability of your team. This could include:
- Formal classroom training
- Informal or on-the-job training
- Mentoring and coaching
- Buddy systems – an experience member helps a less experience member of the team
The better your team, in terms of what they deliver and how they deliver it and in terms of attitude or culture, then the better your management and leadership will be viewed.
5. Target early wins
Nothing helps your reputation, and that of your team, more than delivering results. The quicker you can deliver improvements, the better.
You are new into the role (and possibly the company), so you are in the best position to ask lot of questions and challenge the status quo. Use your fresh eyes to identify improvements.
Listen to your team and those around you for clues to what is working and what is not. Follow-up and investigate what is not working. Is there opportunity to gain a quick win for all?
Keep asking people –
“What should we keep, what should we change and what should we stop?”.
This question gets people thinking and isn’t too risky to answer to the person’s manager.
Improve the processes, approaches and areas that are causing the most problems first and involve the team to do so.
6. Avoid the trap of thinking that authority is enough
As I am sure you know, a relationship and trust are needed to persuade people to do things, especially new things. There are lots of ways to approach building both – how will you go about doing this?
One of our favour approaches is to provide help or do favours for your stakeholders. If you deliver for them, they are much more likely to deliver for you when you ask for a favour in return.
Staff members do tasks much more quickly, and usually do them better, for those managers they like. Being friendly, diplomatic, approachable, and willing to help can win a lot of staff members happy to help you in return.
Always manage your own behaviour and how you come across carefully.
7. How will you measure your progress?
Finally, within your plan set out how you are going to measure your progress with each aspect of the plan. How will you know if you are making good, okay, or poor progress?
Build in milestones and hold yourself accountable for your progress. You don’t have to share this with anyone else.
Reward yourself for each milestone passed, even it is just a small gift to yourself, or whatever else works to keep you motivated and focused on hitting your milestones and goals.
We recommend “The First 90 Days” by Michael Watkins.
This excellent book provides lots of great advice and examples of how to create and achieve a great 30-60-90 Day Plan and get yourself off to a flying start in your new role.
30-60-90 Day Examples
If you want to get some examples of 30-60-90 Day Plans, written for managers, then take a look at our Job-Hunting Hub
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