25th Oct 2011

Your First 100 Days Plan

In the current global economy, performance acceleration early on in a new role is more important than ever. A couple of decades ago, for example, a newly appointed director was allowed the luxury of a three-month ‘settling in’ period – those days are gone. Judgements are made much more quickly now – a leader’s achievements in the first 100 days are routinely taken as an indication of his or her leadership potential in the future. We have seen a shift from ten-year-plans to five-year-plans to two-year-plans as the paradigm for effective performance acceleration. For chief executives of companies listed on the stock market, 100 days is the approximate time lapse between their appointment to the role and Wall Street’s first appraisal of them.

The First 100 Days Plan incorporates the profiling of four key elements – the person, the role, the organisation and the market. These four elements make up the ‘whole system,’ which is the basis for the plan. The approach is punctuated by milestone reviews at regular intervals, and is focused on a clear goal, while using constant re-evaluations to accelerate performance. The basic principle is to provide a measurable template for achievement by starting with the end in mind – and setting markers along the way so the approach can be self-critical and therefore responsive to the demands of a specific situation.

Examples of particular areas that should be incorporated into your First 100 Days Plan are set out below.

The Person

As a  leader, you understand the attributes which render you a unique contributor. Facilitating the optimisation of these strengths is necessary in building your 100 days plan. In recognising your communications strengths, you will plan to capitalise on them. Therefore, the desired outcome is to forge strong early relationships, to inspire the entire team, and to allow people to feel more connected to the company mission and vision.

The Role

When joining a new organisation, you will be aware of any content knowledge gap. Your 100 days plan will outline the necessity to fill this gap by tackling the issues at hand. The objective is to gain a comprehensive understanding of company strategy, and the particular products and services in your area.

The Organisation

Understanding how to navigate the culture of the organisation is crucial in the first 100 days. Outlining the desired gains within a workable timeframe and ensuring they are achieved is the core aim. Recognition of how  the power and politics operate within the organisation, and how decisions are made is vital.

The Market

The ability to profile the market and identify what quick-wins are achievable is imperative to success. With insight into the specifics of your market place you will plan to achieve a major impact early.

A strong, achievable and focused First 100 Days Plan is crucial to successful performance acceleration from the get-go.

Hilda Goold

Niamh O’ Keeffe’s latest book, Your First 100 Days: How to Make Maximum Impact in Your New Leadership Role is available now.

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