90 Day Plan

Got an email from an old friend that just got promoted to a leadership role. He starts in a couple of weeks and was wondering how best to start off. He asked, “did you plan out your first steps in any new role that you took?” It is the 90 Day Plan. My take (or developed approach over the years) on 90 Day New to Management Plan: Learn, Clarify and Align.

Learn: The first 30 days should be used to observe and learn. Key here is to observe and not try to “fix” anything. Unless you have been doing that particular job for a long time, how would you know what to fix. Time to really collect as much information and data as possible.

  • Spend time learning about the organizations purpose, values, strategies and goals.
  • Spend time interviewing supporting organizations up and down the line to understand how well your new group is perceived. Asking questions about what your team does well or needs help with. Don’t act yet! It is just more information for you.
  • Learn the players. You need to start working on building a relationship with the team. Getting to know them better. Learning what motivates them. How they work under pressure. Who are the key players. Every organization has informal leaders – time to find out who they are.
  • Share with the team your leadership points of view.  Those points that explain who you are and the high level ideas that you want to get across to start.

Clarify: The next 30 days that will have you focus on putting expectations in place. You have lots of information and communicating your expectations with that data in mind, could be different from what is already in place. It is always best to put your spin on those expectations. Make sure to communicate what the targets are and how the team can achieve them.

  • Formalize that organizations purpose, values, strategies and goals with your thoughts. Speaking in your terms helps to make sure that you and your team understand. Make sure when you communicate these to the team, you get commitment. We all want to be following the same set of key principles.
  • Plans and decisions have to be made with those principles in mind. If not, don’t waste time.
  • Most discussions over the next 30 days will be with the team members to develop their individual plans, goals and standards. Key step in here is to make sure that you have described the accountability system that you will be using.

Align: The last 30 days of the 90 Day Plan is aligning activities to declared expectations. Making sure that the team is living up to the new expectations that were agreed upon. Here is where the rubber meets the road as a leader. Earlier on you discussion your accountability system and you must follow it. Making sure to use both the positive and negative consequences.

  • Positive consequences may include simple praise for a job well done. Or meeting key deliverable ahead of schedule. Anything that is individual or team behavior that you and the team want to keep happening. I know this sounds simple, but being positive in the workplace is difficult for many.
  • Negative consequences may vary depending on the situation. Some maybe just clarification of goals or expectations. It will take time for the team to learn you and how you will react to every situation. Remember to keep your end goals and expectations in mind with your actions. Some actions will require harsher consequences, don’t be afraid to take those steps. As a new leader, you have to take the appropriate action. If that means letting a team member go, than that is what needs to happen.
  • Key point is to make sure that you are working to build a stronger team. It is so easy to tear a team down with actions in this 30 day period. You real action here is to align the team and make it stronger!

These are just my thoughts. Do you have a 90 day plan that you follow? Please share with us.

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