If you’re an executive joining a new company or interviewing for a job, there’s a good chance you’ll be asked to prepare a 30 60 90 day plan. This is a document that outlines the action steps you’ll take in your first 3 months to get up to speed quickly and lead your team effectively. The reason that you may be asked for this plan in an interview process is that leaders are looking to see how an executive would approach getting started, how much help they’d need and what type of questions they ask.
You have two important goals in building this plan:
- Assemble a solid plan that is well-thought out and could help you get started quickly
- Impress the CEO (or whoever is interviewing you) and demonstrate your competence
In this article, I’ll walk you through the fundamentals of how to build a 30 60 90 day plan for executives. You’ll of course need to make adjustments to fit your own team.
If I hire an executive, I expect them to be highly engaged and deeply involved in my business. A strong sign that they’ll have the dedication I’m looking for is when they are eager to start learning before they are officially on payroll. If they accept a job and give one month of notice to their prior company, during that time on the nights and weekends, I’d hope they’d want to learn more about my organization, and ramp up on learning so they can come in on day one and hit the ground running. Some specific things you may include in your 30 60 90 day plan:
- Read as much documentation as possible
- Review customer history in the CRM
- Read the company’s recent marketing and sales material (ebooks, etc)
- If technical, begin reviewing the codebase
- Reach out to anyone in your network who uses the product to get feedback
- Reach out to anyone in your network who could be a potential customer for the company
- Identify what mentors of yours (if any) could be helpful for you in the new role
In addition to these tactical steps, a great way to help transition to a new role is to write a recap, just for yourself, of your previous role and outline what you learned and what you would do differently. This document is designed to be private for you, like a journal entry, and is a great opportunity to reflect and think of new ideas to try in your next role, which you can then include in your 30 60 90 day plan.
Focus: ramping up
In your first 30 days, I expect an executive to be productive quickly. It can often be pretty clear in the first 30 days whether an executive hire is going to be successful or not. Specific things that you should be focused on at this time:
- Listen as much as possible and absorb everything… join meetings, customer demos, etc
- Meet with each of your direct reports, and potentially skip level meeting with junior staff
- Get access to your budget and do a comprehensive review to understand your options
- Review the company financials so you understand financial levers of the business
- Get introduced to significant customers and schedule calls to learn about their use-cases
- Meet with any strategic partners or evangelists that may work with your department
- Make notes and initial assessments about the performance of your current staff
- Jump into any urgent matters with your staff to immediately add tactical value
The first 30 days for an executive can be intense, and the goal is to learn as much as possible. While you may be eager to make changes to the team structure, process and staff, it’s often better to get a solid amount of data before implementing those changes, which you can do in the next section.