The 30-60-90 day plan is certainly not a new idea. There have been books written about the importance of presenting and enacting a really solid plan for your first 90 days in a new role. (We recommend Michael D. Watkins’ The First 90 Days). That said, there are several ways to approach it.
First, a 30-60-90 day plan can be used in a variety of transitional situations by folks in different roles. It can be a plan for a new manager or a plan for executives, for someone starting a new role, or even someone on the job hunt.
At Highrise, we see the 30-60-90 day plan as a tool for building momentum as well as an opportunity for reflection and growth. Whatever transitional situation you find yourself in, your first 90 days should be not just about action items, but also about creating a habit of continuous self-reflection.
Below, we share our thoughts on how to prepare a 30-60-90 day plan template for a new role – any new role – as well as how to approach the actual transition period once you’re in it.
Before you start your new role, focus on preparing for success and creating a very basic 30-60-90 day plan. A large part of your first 90 days will involve learning, especially in the beginning. You will accumulate lots of learning materials which will ultimately become resources for you in your work.
So, to prepare for that intense learning, make sure you know what type of learner you are – visual, auditory, social? Knowing your preferred learning method(s) can accelerate your learning. Try to get materials in that format when possible, and create a good organization system for those resources.
You’ll also want to create the broad strokes of a 30-60-90 day plan before Day 1. You might even have done this during the interview process.
A great starting point is to ask yourself, what are the problems you’ve been hired to solve? Focus on the 1-2 problems that are most important right away. What things need to come off your manager’s plate most urgently? What is most important for you to execute on behalf of the company? Answer those questions first, and then work backward from there.
Your 30-60-90 day plan doesn't have to include much detail. An outline might look something like this:
That's a very high-level example, but it’s a starting point.
Once you start in the new role, be proactive about setting up a time to discuss your 30-60-90-day plan with your manager within your first two weeks.
In addition to the basics of your plan, you should also include what resources you’ll need to make it happen. Is there something you need but don’t yet have? Some sort of software, personnel, stakeholder alignment, etc.? Identify those things quickly and present them with your plan. Also identify and include any risks you can see at this point.
As you talk with your manager, ask him or her, “Does this align with what you want? Am I thinking about this the right way?” Managers love proactive employees, so instead of your manager having to do that work of aligning your plan with the company’s goals, come to the meeting with that in mind.
You will be learning and absorbing a lot in your first days, but remember to also take time for reflection. In his book, The First 90 Days, Watkins suggests taking 15 minutes every week for structured reflection, but you can do this with whatever frequency and timing work for you.
Consider questions like:
Highrise Founding Principal Coach Jennifer Daniels said on her own reflection practice:
“What did I learn, and how can I apply that? Those learnings can be actual knowledge but also lessons, so I like to have a learning specific question in there for myself. And I do it a little more frequently, especially early on. Weekly seems like I feel like I can forget it, whereas every day, I just have a small pause point, and maybe it’s not 15 minutes, just enough where I ask myself some of those questions.”
If the first 30 days are primarily about learning, then Days 31-60 are about creating a more detailed action plan. A useful tool here is the OCI Model. This model provides you with a framework through which to create a plan to achieve a desired outcome. The OCI Model can be applied to a variety of situations – your first 90 days in their entirety, yes, but also smaller situations like a specific project or even a single meeting.
In short, it looks like this:
One thing many of us want to achieve in the first 90 days is proving our value, reminding our superiors that yes, they made the right decision in hiring us. Tools like the OCI model can also help you reflect on your own value as it relates to the impact you’ve created.
“It helps you communicate your value beyond ‘I did this,’” said Daniels. “‘I achieved this output’ is one thing, [but] that’s not impact. [The OCI model] gets you to a higher level where it’s like, ‘Here’s really the ROI and value that was created in my 90 days,’ and that totally shapes you a little differently. You get the outcome of confidence when you can say that much value was created.”
The final 30 days is really about staying on track with the learnings and action plans you’ve created, highlighting your impact and continuing to reflect. Remember, you can use elements in this approach – like the OCI Model and structured reflections – well beyond the first 90 days.
Boiled down to its simplest form, the first 90 days in a new role look like this:
This approach to a 30-60-90 day plan can be used in a wide variety of transitions – irrespective of your role, or if it’s a personal or professional transition.
Highrise coaching can help you navigate professional transitions and set yourself up for success in new positions. Schedule a time to learn more here.
For more detail on the OCI Model, enter your email to access our downloadable resource.