Few things are as exciting and nerve-wracking as starting a new job. You're looking at a future full of potential, but knowing where to start can be overwhelming if you don't have a plan that's goal-driven and practical. Creating a 30-60-90 day plan can help you prepare for success at your new job. In this article, we examine what a 30-60-90 day plan is, how to create one and how using one properly can prepare you for success at any new job.
An overview of a 30-60-90 day plan
In its simplest form, a 30-60-90 day plan is just a document you use to outline your goals and make a strategy to tackle your new job over your first three months. This can be essential during what is often thought of as your "probationary period" at the job, during which you're being evaluated for permanent employment. With this document, you can make the most out of your work by creating achievable and specific goals that are tied directly to your new duties and the expectations and mission of the company.
Often, you create this plan either during the late stages of your interview process or at some point during your early days of the job. The core of the document revolves around a definition of success that allows you to work toward the same goals as other employees and align with the overall mission of the company.
When do you start creating a 30-60-90 day plan?
Usually, individuals create a 30-60-90 day plan when they need to find a sense of direction before starting with something entirely new. This plan allows people to list down items leading to achievable goals, which would then ensure that everyone is working toward the same level of success.
There are several instances for when someone might create a 30-60-90 day plan, with varying situations under which they are the most useful. These include:
- Starting a new position: Whether you are moving into a new position in your current company or you are starting at a brand-new company, these plans allow you to be proactive in learning the ropes and getting to work.
- Starting a new project: If you are starting a new multi-stage project at your current position, a plan of this nature can help you break down the project into specific steps and achievable action items. They are outstanding for project managers in delegating tasks.
- Preparing for performance reviews: Often, management will implement plans like these during a performance review to provide constructive feedback and help staff members meet their goals over time.
The benefits of a 30-60-90 day plan
A 30-60-90 day plan carries a wide range of benefits for those who apply it properly. Here are a few of the most important ways where such a plan can work for you:
- Keeping a clear focus over time: These plans allow you to create a specific roadmap to follow, which then leads you to have a laser focus on each step that helps guarantee progress.
- Setting achievable and measurable goals: The core reason for creating a 30-60-90 day plan is to help you set goal posts to work toward. You can use these goals to integrate seamlessly into the company and its culture.
- Demonstrating your capabilities: These sorts of plans are nothing short of a set of step-by-step directions for success. By following them, you'll reach your goals and show your new supervisors that you can manage yourself and work within the company's mission statement. This proves to them that you're worth developing as an employee.
How to create a plan with SMART goals
The key to creating a 30-60-90 day plan is to make it achievable. For that, use SMART guidelines as you establish your goals and plan of action. SMART is an acronym which stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-sensitive. By using SMART goals, you guarantee that your action items will be quantifiable and achievable. There are six steps to creating your plan:
1. Create your template
Creating a template is essential to ensuring that you don't miss anything as you work through your goals and action items. This will allow you to manage your plan. You can use the example plan found at the bottom of this article to create your template, but in general it should begin by identifying the kinds of goals you want to achieve, then listing goals under 30-, 60- and 90-day headers.
For example, you might have a section for learning goals that is followed by a 30-days section with three bullet points of goals, a 60-days section with three bullet points and a 90-days section with three bullet points. From there, you can create similar sections for learning actions—action items you'll need to take to achieve the goals. You can then add sections for performance actions and goals, personal actions and goals, development actions and goals, or any other subsections you feel will be helpful.
2. Prepare your goals
Next, define the SMART goals for your new position. As mentioned above, the most common goals to include in your plan will be related to learning, performance and personal areas, but you may include development or others you feel are appropriate to the job at hand. You can then sort your goals out under their appropriate headers.
3. List 30-day goals
Under each header, look at your goals and pull out those that are achievable within 30 days. These will usually be the most basic goals, or those that serve as precursors to others. Often, they involve grasping the basic tasks required by your job and getting educated about the company.
4. List 60-day goals
Now, repeat the process by pulling out the goals you can achieve in 60 days. Often, these look to advance the things you achieved in your original goals. They will specifically focus on how you can advance the mission statement of the company.
5. List 90-day goals
The goals that remain should be achievable within 90 days. These are related to advancing your status and position. Additionally, these define how you can use the knowledge and tools you gained in your first 60 days on the job to take more of a leadership role in your department and in the company.
6. Create specific action items
Now, go back and look over your goals. For each section (30, 60 and 90 days, respectively), create a list of several specific, measurable and quantifiable actions you can take to achieve your goals at each level of your plan.
30-60-90 day plan example
Here is a sample plan that you can use to create a template for your own and as inspiration for your goals as you approach your new job. The sample covers only the learning goals and actions. Your template should also incorporate other aspects of your progress, such as personal and professional goals. The list below shows some sample goals that you can achieve in different timelines:
Example learning goals
- Learn and understand the company mission statement.
- Get on a consistent schedule of duties.
- Get up to speed on customer interactions.
- Become proficient in company software packages.
- Become adept at integrating customer service with technology.
- Present ideas for streamlining procedures.
- Take an active role in leading professional development.
Example learning action items
- Study the company's mission statement.
- Ask questions whenever needed.
- Create a checklist of expectations and duties.
- Meet with experienced staff and IT department regarding software.
- Engage with customers using technology daily.
- Keep notes regarding ways operations can be streamlined and made more efficient.
- Take initiative to lead at least one team meeting.
- Discuss mentoring new staff with supervisors.
Tips to creating a solid plan
When the time comes to create your 30-60-90 plan, there are a number of tips that you should keep in mind and apply at every stage:
- When you list your goals, and especially your action items, be as specific and actionable as possible. The more complicated your language or tone of writing is, the less likely you'll be to achieve a given benchmark.
- Third, keep your plan readable. That means that you should keep the language as simple, direct and to the point as possible. You should be able to skim it and understand it fully.
- Fourth, be adaptable. Things change all the time, especially in a fast-paced environment. Be ready to adjust and change your plan of action and even your goals as you need to. If you miss a goal, don't give up —just adapt your future plan accordingly.
- Finally, be ready to quantify the progress you've made at each stage. This will allow you to better approach your next 30 days of work and adjust them as you need to do so.
Following these steps will help you to improve your chances at a successful and long-term tenure in your new career or even advancing your position in your existing company.