A 100 day plan for the New Year

Posted by Mike Kaaks

18 January 2013

Start the new year running!
We talk about adding energy and success through a 100 day plan when we embark on a new role or take a new step in our career. It's the foundation for many stories in which the key protagonist made a real difference for themselves, those around them, and their organisation.

What if…….

What if you look at the coming year as a new job and build a next 100 days plan so you and your team really make a difference. Exemplary leaders envision the future, gaze across the horizon of time and imagine greater opportunities to come. They are able to develop a unique image of the future. This ability more that any other leadership trait differentiates leaders from individual contributors. Your vision is the heart of your plan. Just imagine how energised and motivated your team, indeed all your stakeholders, will feel when they hear you passionately and clearly laying out your expectations for the coming quarter, and how you see them being realised.

Tips for your 100 day plan.

Encorage Learning - you and your team need to stay abreast of all that is happening in your world. Consumers, suppliers, other partners, customers, competitors; they are all changing constantly. Operating on last year's assumptions might not be good enough.

Secure Early Wins - Early achievements boost credibility and momentum. Make sure you win early in the year and avoid playing catch-up and gap-fill throughout the year.

Be Aligned - match actions to strategy. An easy test question as you write your plan is "does it bring us closer to our vision?"

Lead Your Team - Are there any tough personnel calls that you avoided last year? Are all the right people in the right jobs? Ensure you have strong coalitions. Identify those whose support is essential for success and plan to bring them onside and keep them there.

Promote Your Plan - help people see that things are different, that business is not just rolling over into a new calendar in which everything else remains the same.

Make Some Changes - Move people and accountabilities. Make change your ally.

Keep Your Balance - preserve your ability to make good judgements.

When Posner and Kouzes ask people about their personal best leadership experiences, the respondents talk about times of crisis, adversity, change, and great difficulty. We don't do our best as leaders when we are maintaining the status quo, or when we feel comfortable. The situations that bring out our best are those that challenge. The study of leadership is the study of how men and women guide people through adversity, uncertainty, hardship, disruption, transformation, transition, and recovery to new beginnings and success. It's also the study of how women and men in times of constancy and complacency actively seek to disturb the status quo and awaken new possibilities. Leadership and challenge are inseparable. Write your 100 day plan now - create your own new beginnings.

Adapted from the works of Michael Watkins and Posner and Kouzes.