You will often as you progress your career in delivery, be asked for a 3 month plan. Usually for a client, sometimes for a job interview, sometimes for the C-level exec. But that 100 day plan is your commitment to the next 90 days or so. Whenever I get stuck into anything, be it a project, a proposal or ‘here’s how shit is going to go down’ there’s a few things to think about.
That 100 day plan is your action plan, a guide to leaders through the critical first few months of anything important. Its here you outline strategies, tactics & intent, to key stakeholders. It’s here you set traction, goals, & long term success. This is your commitment to focus.
Here’s what I add to my 100 day plan (typically);
- Situation Summary – this is an account of where we are now. What is being asked for, & confirmation of understanding of the ask. I also include a bit about me, what drives me, my delivery manifesto & my delivery DNA.
- Goals – Its here I commit to what I intend to do over the 100 days. It may be project milestones, outcomes but importantly I make sure these are tangible & practical. You can hang me by these, I enjoy that accountability as it’s this which drives me. I also like to include SMART measurements.
- Quick Win Tactics – I call these ‘lighthouse projects’ – this is the quick low hanging fruit (sorry for the bullshit management consultancy term) that will help solidify your creds within the org. There’s always half a dozen problems that no one can be bothered to solve. Solve those first, promote them. Everyone will be hooked.
- Measurements & KPI’s – how will you know if you’ve succeeded if you’ve got no mechanics to measure success? Ensure you are considering applicable SMART targets & tangible measurable KPIs to ensure you can create reporting which empirically measures what you’re doing. Then, there’s no argument.
- Study up: Get to know the company. Understand how customers use the company. Don’t shoehorn in a solution just because that’s what you know. Also, factor this learning time into your plan. I find good case studies & baking in the time to learn what the company does rather than what it says it does, is a key learning opportunity & will help you land practical & valuable planning rather than a standardised template.
- Figure out where to start: You often have to spend the first few days drinking from the water hose. Get involved in the companies trials & tribulations but try & stay at 35,000ft (another wanky Management Consultancy term) to be able to understand where will add value ASAP. Its a fine balance to not get dragged into the organisations bullshit & become part of the problem.
Your first week
Week one is all about visibility and communication, be present. In a hybrid world – it’s even more important than ever.
You already know you only get one chance to make a first impression with people, so it’s important to be as visible, approachable & not a **** as possible in your first week. As well as an office tour, carve out time in your plan to meet employees in smaller groups, to get their feedback, and consider an open-door policy to encourage staff to drop in. This is where you set your personal stall out. Do that. Then do it again. If you think you’ve done it enough, you havent, do it some more.
It’s never possible to meet all of the company’s stakeholders within your first month, let alone week, but there needs to be some comms with them – even if it’s just an email to arrange a future meeting.
At the end of the first three months
You hopefully won’t be expected to have all the answers at the end of the first 100 days or so, but there are some ‘must do’s which we’ve covered you probably should ensure you absolutely do. Share your vision & strategy regularly, & update on progress. Dont just do this with management, do it with everyone. Entirely transparent. Ensure you’ve got update sessions & town halls in place. Draw from employee & stakeholder feedback & be empirical when it comes to decision making.
It’s invaluable to go out with colleagues, stakeholders & break down barriers, that can mean lunch, a beer, an evening meal – never underestimate the power of building personal relationships – it breaks down inter-personal barriers and sets the tone for a collaborative culture. Another “must do” in the first three months is to look ahead to the next three and then the next – identifying priorities early on in the year will really set you up for success & stand you in good stead.