With new responsibilities to learn and team members to meet, starting a new position requires all hands on deck, especially in those crucial first weeks and months as you learn the ropes. But it doesn’t have to be an overwhelming prospect! Whether you’re interviewing for a higher role or preparing for your first day as a manager, creating a 30-60-90 plan can help you be more prepared and give you a head start in your new position. Here’s our guide on how to make it happen.

What is the 30-60-90 plan?

The 30-60-90 plan gets its name from exactly what it does. It outlines objectives for your first 30, 60, and 90 days of work. This list of expectations clearly delineates what you’re setting for yourself and communicates with your managers what you aim to accomplish during this period.

The 30-60-90 plan also gives you a clear way to track your progress and demonstrate your successes. With a clear list of objectives, it keeps you focused on taking initiative and completing training and set tasks. For your manager, this plan is a framework of what they can expect from you in the coming weeks and how you plan to tackle those tasks.

The structure of the 30-60-90 plan

The 30-60-90 plan is divided into three one-month periods. For each section, break your plan into its focus, goals, and tasks. The focus should be what you hope to learn and accomplish over the period, while tasks should be specific steps you use to reach your goals.

The first 30 days

This should be the most general portion of the plan since you’re still learning about your role and specific responsibilities within the company. During this period, focus on familiarizing yourself with the aspects of the company that will help you develop approaches to projects and manage your team. In this part of the plan, focus on:

  • Learning the company. Get a greater understanding of your company’s mission, values, and culture. Research competition and think of concepts that you think will give your employer a leg up over the competition. Learn your company’s software, too, and be sure to ask any questions you have about using these systems.
  • Meeting your team. Introduce yourself to your team members. Learn their work styles and preferred methods of communication. Let them get to know you, too: consider holding a lunch or happy hour to meet and greet everyone who you will be working with. Make sure your team knows that your goal is to guide you and your staff to success.
  • Actively engaging. Become a consistent participant during meetings, contributing educated and constructive information based on what you have learned about the company and its processes. As you gain a better understanding of the company’s current direction and needs, start initiating projects after you’ve consulted your manager and team members.

The next 30 days

As you enter the next 30 days, use this time to set goals that will help you become an active leader within your company. You should now work to implement some of the ideas and concepts you crafted during your first month. Specifically, focus on:

  • Improving processes. Identify what your team is doing well and capitalize on it. Use concepts from effective methods to enhance processes that need updates. Where there is room for improvement, make a list of suggestions that can increase employee productivity, promote collaboration, and spark innovation.
  • Solving problems. Learn your company’s protocols for situations like making company-wide decisions and handling conflicts among employees. As situations and decisions arise, practice utilizing these approaches with your manager’s guidance.
  • Strategizing. Develop strategies that can help employees more efficiently approach tasks and complete projects. Merge these strategies with existing company approaches, and teach employees how they can use them to enhance their work productivity.

The final 30 days

As you approach the 90-day mark, allocate the final step of the plan to solidifying an organized flow for your work and building confidence in your role. In this part of the plan, focus on:

  • Working with multiple teams. Some projects will require complex strategies and cross-functional collaboration between teams. As a manager, you’ll be responsible for overseeing these projects and managing communication between participating teams. Familiarize yourself with these types of projects and how your company works to address them. Collaborate with your supervisor to learn the ins and outs of these more elaborate systems.
  • Setting performance standards. Set specific goals and performance milestones for team members to strive to hit. For example, you might instruct your team to aim to increase their sales by 10 percent based on a new method you implemented.
  • Training and hiring. If your company is hiring new employees, use what you’ve learned about the company to bring in new hires that can contribute to your company’s success. Continue to train current employees on new protocols and procedures you’ve brought to the team and designate employees to learn specialties within them.

How to select specific goals in your 30-60-90 plan

As you make objectives from the previous plan sections, you’ll create specific tasks tailored to your company and the scope of your managerial role. For example, if you are the new manager for a software organization, one of your tasks to learn the company would be to create a list of other competitors in the industry. To expand on their marketing tactics, you might make notes on their features and how your business can produce better advertising.

Each specific objective should directly contribute to learning about your position while contributing to the company’s daily operations. Use the list of requirements detailed under the job description to get an idea of the software or systems the company uses. Then, create objectives geared toward helping you learn how to use them.

Using SMART goals

To help you achieve the goals you’ve laid out on your plan, consider using the SMART goal-setting approach. This method uses five components to break down your goals into pieces that make them easier to tackle. To use this framework, make your goals:

  • Specific. Lay out the details needed to start working on a goal. Ask yourself: “What resources will I need to complete these tasks? Who do I need to work with to accomplish this goal? When do I want to finish this project?”
  • Measurable. Identify metrics you can use to see how you’re progressing through each goal. For example, if you’re working to improve the efficiency of one of your company’s processes, you might create a template that lists the tasks your team needs to complete. Next to each task, note the amount of time it takes your employees to finish each one.
  • Achievable. Since you’re using your plan during the earliest stages of your new job, make sure your goals are reasonably achievable. Your goals should be stepping stones that allow you to learn and grow as a manager and include tasks your team can accomplish.
  • Relevant. Tailor your tasks to the work you’ll be doing as a manager. Focus on objectives that directly relate to your employees. You want to build your skills and make your goals ones that matter and contribute to your role in the company and your company’s employees.
  • Time-bound. Time management is a key part of achieving your plan. When done properly, you can achieve all your goals within 90 days. This means you’ll need to make sure you can accomplish each of your goals in a particular time period. For example, if you want to learn your company’s project management software, set a specific amount of time to dedicate to this task each week.

How to track your goals

As you advance through the course of your plan, keep up with your progress to make sure you’re completing each of the goals you set out to accomplish. With the structure of the 30-60-90 plan, you already have a clear timeline of what goals you need to accomplish in a certain time period. Review each of these goals, and schedule weekly meetings with your supervisor to discuss your progress and receive feedback on your work.

As you move from one section of your plan to another, the goals you complete should become parts of your regular work responsibilities. For example, you should stay up-to-date on the problem-solving techniques you learned in your 60-day timeframe and build on them as you encounter situations that require you to practice them. Making these goals a part of your regular habits will allow you to build on techniques you’ve learned and advance your skills as a manager.

Pro tip

Use a meeting management tool like Fellow to track your progress by documenting in personal streams, scheduling meetings, and receiving feedback from peers all in one place.

Best practices for a killer 30-60-90 plan

Now that you understand how to compose a 30-60-90 plan, it’s time to create one that will position you for success in your new role. Consider the tips below to identify goals that best align with your responsibilities and make the most out of your plan.

1 Do your research

Formulating your 30-60-90 plan can start before your first day at work: You can use your job interview to give a brief overview of how you would approach your position. Try to learn as much about the company as you can before your interview so you can come in with a general plan of how you would tackle your first few months on the job.

2 Prioritize your goals

As you work your way through crafting your plan, you might find yourself with an extensive list of objectives you’d like to accomplish. Remember, you’re working within a 90-day timeframe. Instead of trying to cram 100 goals into your plan, prioritize tasks based on their importance and contribution to the company and your team members. Save less important tasks to work on if time permits or after you’ve completed your first 90 days at work.

3 Make time for meetings

While much of your focus will be on learning procedures and systems, be sure to make time to meet with other people throughout your company. Ask other managers what challenges they face at work and advice they would give to a new manager. Find out from your supervisor what the company expects from a new manager or how you can acclimate to the company’s culture. Meet with employees to learn their work styles and how you can help improve processes to make their work easier. Make sure you’re taking meeting notes from these discussions.

4 Get feedback

Before you start working on your goals, present your plan to your supervisor. This will allow them to offer any adjustments or additions to your plan that may make it more feasible or suited to the company’s needs.

5 Be flexible

Consider your plan to be an outline of goals you want to achieve. As you work through your plan, there may be tasks you discover to be more important than others you have on your list. Your supervisor might have suggestions or training sessions that become priorities during your first 90 days. Don’t look at your plan as a definite list of goals. Instead, use your plan to launch your productivity for your first three months of work.

Example of a 30-60-90 plan

To help you get started on creating your plan, consider the sample plan below. This example is a plan for a newly hired manager starting their position at SpeedyCar Marketing.

30-Day Plan

Focus: Introduction to SpeedyCar Marketing

Goals:

  • Learn the operations of SpeedyCar Marketing
  • Meet the SpeedyCar team at the local place (or online)
  • Actively participate in company meetings

Tasks:

  • Identify four of SpeedyCar’s competitors, visit and take notes on their websites, and research their marketing styles
  • Learn how to use the SpeedyCar software and document 10 new clients into the system
  • Have quick, daily conversations with team members for brief introductions to learn more about employees and their work styles
  • Attend daily meetings to take notes on how they’re run, topics of discussion, and who needs to be present
  • Meet with supervisor weekly to discuss progress and receive feedback

60-Day Plan

Focus: Actively leading

Goals:

  • Analyze employee processes for efficiency
  • Engage in decision-making
  • Advance SpeedyCar Marketing strategies

Tasks:

  • Introduce brainstorming techniques in employee meetings to increase collaboration and participation
  • Collaborate with another company leader on ways to improve efficiency of two projects
  • Create a plan for each project to execute the ideas the company leader and I discussed
  • Each week, ask three employees what processes they believe can be improved
  • Create a plan to execute the possible ideas from employee suggestions
  • Each week, consult with supervisor on two decisions affecting employees or the company as a whole
  • Create three suggestions on ways to improve cold calls and sending client emails
  • Meet with supervisor weekly to discuss progress and receive feedback

90-Day Plan

Focus: Solidifying leadership and organization

Goals:

  • Create teams to collaborate on new marketing strategies
  • Analyze marketing reports from previous quarter
  • Strategize company outreach

Tasks:

  • Meet with another company leader to strategize on company-wide projects and marketing initiatives
  • Hold two training sessions on client engagement
  • Set sales goals for the next quarter and share them with employees
  • Write descriptions for new job listings and post them online
  • Create plans for outreach and onboarding new employees
  • Meet with supervisor weekly to discuss progress and receive feedback

Get a good start

You’ve probably heard the saying, “You only get one chance to make a first impression.” Creating a 30-60-90 plan can ensure your supervisor gets a positive first impression of your work ethic and initiative. Whether you’re getting ready to walk into an interview or are showing up for your first day on the job, having a clear list of goals can get you off to the right start while setting expectations for yourself, your supervisor, and your employees. As you step into your new role, Fellow can help with your adjustment. Our many resources and tools will help you prepare for your first meeting and all the others you’ll facilitate.