How to Write a 30-60-90 Day Plan
If you are about to start a new job or are preparing for an interview a 30-60-90 day plan will help you on your route to success.
The 30-60-90 plan is a document that outlines your first 30, 60 and 90 days in your new position.
It should detail everything you want to achieve in your first three months of employment and the SMART goals to facilitate this.
If done correctly, this plan will help make a good first impression, for it shows your employer or recruiter that you are motivated, dedicated and have taken the time to learn about the company.
For those wanting to freelance or register as self-employed, a 30-60-90 plan gives you focus, and a solid route to success.
If you are new to career planning, creating a 30-60-90 day plan could seem complicated and unnecessary.
However, creating goals and actionable steps is proven to help you reach success more efficiently.
This article will instruct you on creating the best plan for you, with examples to get you started.
The purpose of a 30-60-90 plan is to set the groundwork for career advancement.
You should make your plan:
- In the final stages of your interview process
- In the first week at your new job
Showing your plan in the last stages of the interview process separates you from the rest of the candidates.
It shows you are serious about your career and have the skills to develop a strategy.
The one you create during your initiation week will be similar to what you showed at your interview.
The only difference is that you will now have to deliver on what you have committed to.
30-60-90 plans are not just useful for recruitment and impressing your new employer. These plans can also be used:
30-60-90 plans offer many benefits, including:
- Defining your priorities
- Creating a clear focus for the next three months
- Facilitating a smooth integration into your new company and role
- Showing you are capable of self-management skills
- Indicating that you are worthy of investment
- Highlighting the areas you need to improve
In each section of your 30-60-90 plan, you will have four main elements:
- Your specific focus
- The top priorities
- SMART goals
- The metrics you will measure your success
Your focus for each month will be different, and depending on the success or failure of the previous month, you may need to change the next focus for the next month.
Usually, in month one, you will focus on learning about your role, getting to know your team, and understanding company policies and procedures.
Month two is more about contributing, planning and developing skill sets.
Month three is about the execution and preparing yourself for the next stage.
Once you have established your main focus for the month, you need to outline your priorities.
These should be more specific than your focuses and less specific than your SMART goals.
For example, in your first month, your focus could be to learn the company's policies and procedures.
Depending on your job role, a priority may be to learn the internal processes first.
A priority for the second month could be to begin working independently.
A third-month priority may be to present a solution to a problem the company is currently facing and prepare for your performance review.
Goal-setting is your roadmap to achieving your priorities.
For your 30-60-90 plan, you want to focus on short-term goals.
These are the small steps you take that make achieving success easier.
Every goal should follow the SMART acronym, meaning they should be:
You are not limited to one goal; however, you also should not overwhelm yourself.
You can also add goals later if you feel you need to adjust your direction or have completed the ones you already set.
Your goals should also cover all areas of personal and professional development, so try to write goals for the following categories:
Learning goals – The knowledge and skills you need to develop to be successful.
Performance goals – Concrete things you want to complete, such as workshops and daily targets.
Personal goals – The relationships you want to develop, how you want to be viewed by your colleagues.
Measurement is part of your SMART goal acronym; however, it should be highlighted as your final section to give you a clear indication of when you have achieved something.
A metric could be a specific date, value, a completed task or time spent doing something. Basically, anything that allows you to track your success.
Before writing your 30-60-90 day plan, consider the following:
Before you make your plan, you need to know why you are making it.
Your reasons could be:
- For you and your manager to understand each other better
- So you get the support you need
- To make the most out of your employment
- To facilitate your career strategy
Use the job description to help you understand what exactly you are being hired to do.
Your employment needs to benefit the employer so ensure that your priorities and goals feed into your job description.
In interviews and at the beginning of our employment, we tend to shy away from questions about money and promotions.
No one wants to seem ungrateful or that they are overstepping.
However, if you do not ask, you will not know what a realistic goal is.
Try wording your questions like:
- ”What is the typical or average time for a promotion?"
- ”How often do promotions come up?"
- ”What is the typical route to getting a promotion?"
If your goal is to get a promotion fast, you need to know what time frame you are working with.
There is nothing wrong with being curious, and your manager may appreciate your enthusiasm.
Gaining the trust of your colleagues will help you understand the company quicker.
As you and your colleagues get to know each other, they will share their experiences at the company: which managers are friendly, how often promotions come up and what they have done in their own career development.
All this information will help you gauge what goals you can achieve and how.
Many external factors can affect your plan, from pandemics to restructuring to technological advancements.
Be prepared that you may need to make adjustments and that things may take longer than you want.
Creating your plan in the first week of your employment with your manager is the ideal scenario.
It allows both of you to get clear on expectations, responsibilities and time frames.
Do not hesitate to broach the topic first, as it may not be something they actively do.
Your manager might not be used to having a proactive employee and will be impressed by your initiative.
Alternatively, they may not be a supportive manager. In this case, gather as much information as you can and create your own plan.
It is important to note that if your manager is not forthcoming with feedback or wanting to develop a plan with you, you may be working in a hostile environment.
One of your priorities could then be to initiate a change in the company or learn all you can from them and look for another job.
Everyone has a different definition of success.
For some, it is being the top salesperson and making the most money.
For others, it is getting control of their personal finance and being content in their professional and personal life.
Before setting your goals, decide how you are going to define and measure your success.
There is no definitive way to write a 30-60-90 plan. You need to include specific things, but the process and format are whatever works for you.
You may want to start chronologically, deciding what comes first and ending with your 90-day goals.
Alternatively, you can work backward.
To use this method, visualize where you want to be in three months and work your way back to the present day, making a note of all the steps you need to take.
If you have practiced law of attraction you will know that visualizing what you want to achieve is an essential part of getting there.
Depending on your job role and industry, your priorities and goals will be different.
A salesperson will have a very different plan to someone working in marketing, who will have a different plan to someone working in healthcare.
The following examples are general focuses, priorities and goals that could be applied to almost everyone.
However, your plan should be specific and personal to you.
Focus: Settling in and getting to know my new surroundings.
Priorities: Learn the essentials of my role, learn who my team members are and the company culture. Understand the expectations of my manager and how the internal processes work.
Gain access to all accounts I need to do my job and familiarize myself by the end of week one. Metric: Task completed
Read all materials available to me regarding internal processes and procedures, and ask my manager for additional recommendations by day 15. Metric: Reading completed
Shadow a colleague to familiarize myself with the workday and workflow by the end of day 7. Metric: Successfully spent the day shadowing.
Make notes of company culture, including how breaks and lunches are assigned/taken, how feedback is given, who seems approachable and the favored communication techniques and language used by day 21. Metric: Confident understanding of company culture.
Complete three tasks or responsibilities without supervision or guidance by day 14. Metric: Completed a task/made a sale/contacted three clients.
Arrange a meeting with my manager to get constructive feedback and new targets by day 21. Metric: Meeting confirmed.
- Introduce myself to all team members and learn about their roles in the company and something about their personality by day 30. Metric: Task completed.
Focus: Actively start contributing.
Priorities: Independently perform my role at full capacity and begin to assess if and how things can be improved.
Attend any workshops or webinars that will help me understand my job role better, and ask my manager for any recommendations by day 50. Metric: Three workshops or webinars attended.
Familiarize myself with external policies, procedures, and software to see if anything can be improved by day 60. Metric: Reading completed.
Complete a whole week in my role without supervision or guidance by day 60. Metric: Task completed.
Arrange a meeting with my manager for feedback and new targets by day 60. Metric: Meeting confirmed.
Complete two courses in my own time, such as free online courses to develop new skills that will benefit me and my role. Metric: Two courses completed.
Schedule an informal meeting with a colleague I have not yet had the chance to talk with by day 45. Metric: Task completed.
Focus: Taking initiative and establishing my position in the company.
Priorities: Explore small ways to demonstrate leadership skills and improve productivity. Explore options, goals and priorities for the next nine months.
Analyze my current performance to see which areas I am strong in and which need developing by day 90. Metric: Task completed.
Assess what responsibilities I enjoy, which ones I do not, and if my targets are realistic or need reassessing by day 90. Metric: Task completed.
Develop an idea, procedure or initiative to lead and pitch it to my manager by day 90. Metric: Idea pitched.
Perform tasks at a higher level by generating more sales/income/press coverage by day 80. Metric: Personal targets met.
Arrange a meeting with my manager to evaluate my first three months and decide the next steps together by day 90. Metric: Meeting done, new targets discussed.
- Take advantage of employee benefits and get involved with the company personally by joining a company-sponsored team or corporate volunteer day by day 70. Metric: Task completed
This section is not part of the 30-60-90 day plan; however, knowing your long-term goals is very beneficial.
You do not have to write them in the same way as the monthly plans.
Instead, you can write a list of what you hope to achieve in the future and by when.
Examples of long-term career goals are:
- Gain a promotion within three years of joining
- Get management experience by the end of 2022
- Establish myself as a thought leader by 2025
Your long-term career goals can be as ambitious as you want them to be. But having them written down and using them to influence your goals and priorities will help you achieve them.
Writing a 30-60-90 day plan is a gift you are giving to your future self.
It helps you focus, keeps you motivated and prevents you from getting complacent.
For the employer, showing your plan indicates you are keen to make an impression, have initiative, and are capable of formulating a strategy.
Try using these plans continuously in your career and personal life to ensure you reach your full potential.