How to Write a 90 Day Plan

You’ve secured the role of your dreams and are breathing a sigh of relief as your job search comes to an end.

Now you realise that the hard work has only just begun. Your next challenge is to hit the ground running and reassure your new manager that you were the natural choice for the role.

What you need is a 90 Day Plan to keep you on track. Think of it as a GPS system, you tap in your destination and head straight there rather than getting lost and making a series of wrong turns along the way.

Most people don’t create a 90 Day Plan, or they get lost in overcomplicating it. The key is to keep it simple, keep checking your progress against it and to amend it as you go along.

Here are my 3 steps to getting started:

1.  Pick ONE THING that you want to achieve at the end of your first 90 days.

If you are starting a new role, this one thing is likely to be “successfully complete your probationary period”. What are your priorities to help you to achieve that one thing? I would suggest:

  • Establish your vision for the team. Get clear on what you and your team need to deliver to support the business strategy, speak with key stakeholders in the business to get them to endorse your vision.
  • Be clear on your activity to deliver this vision. What exactly are you and your team going to do to deliver this? Is your team equipped to deliver this or do they need some support with their development? What does this look like?
  • Establish strong relations with key stakeholders. These will be different for everyone, you need to understand exactly who these people are FOR YOU. It could be your boss, a key peer, a direct report, a supplier

2. What will success look and feel like FOR YOU?

Imagine what is happening in 6 months time and describe everything that you are seeing and feeling. If you need some help, ask yourself these questions and write down the very first thing that comes into your mind (this will be the correct answer for you).

  • If I met you for the first time, what would be my first impression of you?
  • How are you feeling?
  • How are you behaving?
  • What types of questions are people asking you?
  • What thoughts do you have?
  • What are you saying in meetings?
  • What does success look like TO YOU?

Once you have responded to these questions, put together 2/3 sentences to describe what success will look and feel like to you. It could be something like:

I am confident in my new role and I have a clear vision for the future of the team. I am inquisitive and ask the right questions to the right people at the right time.

My peers seek out my opinion on matters relating to my area of expertise. My team are feeling excited about the future challenges that we face.

3. Who is going to help you get there?

No (wo)man is an island, we cannot achieve great things in isolation, think about the type of support that you will need to help you achieve your goals. This support could come from:

  • A Mentor – someone who has been there and can help give you a different perspective on what you are trying to achieve. This should NOT be your new boss (your new boss does have a role to play, but not the role of mentor). A mentor is someone who you can be vulnerable with, someone you can share your deepest darkest concerns with in complete confidence.
  • A Coach – Investing in a coach is invaluable. They will help you to see what you don’t see, ask you questions that will really get you thinking and can act as a great sounding board for any ideas that you may have.
  • Your boss – their role in your first 90 days is helping you to navigate the organisation by sharing the hidden structures, processes and hierarchies (or how things really get done around here). Why not try contracting with your boss to agree the frequency of your meetings and how involved they (and you) want them to be.
  • Someone else – Think about who else can help you. Do you have a close friend or trusted advisor that you could speak with?



Make writing a 90-Day Plan an ongoing process rather than a one-off event

Having a 90-Day Plan is not just for when you start a job but is something that you can use to keep you on track to deliver your goals. It also helps you to adapt and respond to situations as they arise.

Keep it visible.

There is no point in wiring a 90 day plan if you are going to put it in a drawer only to come across it again when you are having a clear out. Put it somewhere that you can see every day.

My 90 day plan occupies an A3 sheet of paper on the wall above my desk. For those days where I am faffing around (because we all have those days, right?), I just look to see what I should be doing and it helps get me refocussed on my big audacious goal.

Imperfect action beats perfect inaction

Don’t worry about getting it right, this is for your eyes only – just start. If you wait until your plan would score 10/10, you will never start. Remember, you can always tweak it as you go, the most important thing is to start.

If you are procrastinating your way to NOT writing one, set yourself a 15 minute timer and write down everything that you would like to achieve in the next 90 days. Ask yourself

If my entire job depended on my writing this plan, what would be on it?

If you would like some help putting together your 90 day plan (whether you are starting a new job or want to get better at your current job), why not get in touch.