If a leader is waiting to shout “Happy New Year” in 2018 before articulating what to do, such a leader has wasted a great opportunity.
The most profound way for leaders to have a great head start in the year is to be ready with a plan. A 90-day plan is a great tool for a leader to hit the ground running while others are still thinking of what to do or where to go at the beginning of the new year. It is a strategy to harness the low hanging fruits of the year while cultivating the fields that will give you the highest margin
A 90-day plan is a purpose-built document that will set the tone for the year, refocus your team and help you gain speed, while everyone is trying to gather momentum. It helps the leader to prioritize their activities and focus on what can be achieved in the first 30, 60 and 90 days. without compromising the years action plan. For a leader to hit the ground running from the beginning of the year, his/her 90-day plan should have the following in-built enablers.
- Set a 90-day plan goal. A leader has several goals for the year. These may range from customer acquisition, new product launch, market share gain, product campaigns, etc. In selecting a 90-day plan goal, the leader must look at the various annual programs and select those that can be achieved within 90 days. These could be annual retreat, personnel training, market survey, product survey, new product design or anything that has a low hanging fruit awaiting harvest. The 90-day plan goal should cover 2 or at most 3 areas which can be achieved without externally driven, uncontrollable factors.
- Prioritize the goals. From the list of three chosen goals, the leader should prioritize them based on value contribution to the business by selecting what comes first and next, in that order. For a leader, the choice of what comes first among their people, processes and products will be a key decision through priority. Secondly, the decision of what can be achieved within 90 days among these three groups will form the basis of what goes into the 90-day plan.
- Select the actions that will fit into your 90-day plan. Let’s assume the leader decides to improve his/her people’s human capital development within a 90-day plan. That is a very wide area. The leader should carry out a needs analysis to identify areas of deficiency to be developed. The area could be on contract negotiation, new market development, customer service, product design, project management, etc. The leader must select the area with the highest impact and incorporate this into the 90-day plan. For a service company, the leader may prioritize contract negotiation, customer service and new market development. These human capital development programmes can easily be scheduled for the staff involved in these responsibilities and implemented within 90-days.
- Implement the actions based on priority. The leader should know when to schedule his/her program by dividing the scheme into three timelines made of 30:30:30. The first 30 days should be used to conduct needs analysis, prioritize areas of impact and outline the action plan. The next 30 days should be used in implementing the various activities in the action plan while the final 30 days should be used for evaluation and measurement of achievement/leadership reporting.
- Measure the outcome at the end of the 90-day plan. This is a key leadership responsibility which provides information about the outcome of the plan. In measurement of the outcome, what has been achieved must be compared against the goals and objectives of the 90-day plan. Measurement indicates the level of success or failure of the initiative, the adequacy of the solution and the benefits derived therefrom.
- Use lessons learnt to re-plan the next 90 days. From positive results arising from the measurement/evaluation carried out, valuable lessons learnt from the 90-day plan can be fed into another 90-day of the leader. This creates cumulative success effect for the leader’s programs and the efforts of the entire team, as the data can aid forecast of new task.