By Taylor Robinson, Senior Operations Executive
As a veteran of leading multiple supply chain, sourcing, and operational transformations in new roles, I am convinced of the necessity of a documented 90-day plan. The use of a plan promotes building consensus and sets the stage for long-term success in implementing improved processes. Before accepting a new role, I make sure my new manager understands my intentions with the 90-day plan and fully supports the process.
A few reasons I have found a documented plan to be critical:
- Provides clarity on what is ahead for your team and other stakeholders – promotes a sense of urgency
- Demonstrates accountability from the start – you commit to a plan on what you are going to do
- Organizes your ideas for gathering input from all stakeholders – helps them prepare for your questions
- Keeps you on track – while you are also drinking from the fire hose in your new role
- Establishes guidelines for your daily actions – and allows you to pivot and respond as needed
“You can’t build a great building on a weak foundation. You must have a solid foundation if you’re going to have a strong superstructure.”
– Gordon B. Hinckley
Start with a high-level plan, at the monthly level, before walking in the door.
Month 1 = Learning
- Focus on key activities in the first month. You can refine the remaining weeks after you start with input from your team and other stakeholders.
- Conduct interviews with your team members and other key stakeholders. Prepare questions and send them to the interviewees ahead of the meeting. Key issues will be apparent as you go through your initial interviews.
- Schedule sessions to review strategic plans with appropriate leaders as soon as possible. Concentrate on the how the strategy was developed and communicated.
- Review data and metrics to understand current performance. Dig into the data and the math behind key performance measurements.
- Use appropriate tools to promote rapid learning about your team and the company. For example, I set up a SWOT session in the first week to understand the team’s view of the current situation.
Month 2 = Collaborating
- Debate and collaborate with stakeholders on facing the reality of the current situation and painting a picture of a better future.
- Investigate best practices and emerging trends. Provide opportunities for your team to attend educational sessions to learn about the possibilities.
- Begin thinking about change management issues and how to address resistance to change.
Month 3 = Visioning
- Craft a vision of the future in terms of people, processes, technology, and performance.
- Complete a strategic plan by the end of the 90 days. Show you will begin to address long term issues immediately and not put them off to later.
“Good planning avoids the need for fixing up a project that plowed ahead without thought about the potential pitfalls.”
– Bobby Knight
Key outputs of your plan could include:
- Assessment of the team – talent, organizational structure, and required personnel actions
- Assessment of processes – effectiveness, metrics, goals, and improvement opportunities
- Assessment of systems – a roadmap to improve the use of current systems and investigate new technology
- Action plan and timeline for the next 3, 6, and 9 months with SMART goals
- Financial investment requirements and estimated ROI
- Vision and Mission statements for your team
“All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”
– Walt Disney
Stay focused. Work your plan as a means to learn, gain respect, and establish yourself as a leader in your new organization. Do not attempt to replicate your last company. You have good things to bring, but don’t attempt a wholesale conversion which causes everyone to change – except for you.
Involve as many team members as possible in the process. This is a great way to start your relationship with them and understand their capabilities by giving them stretch assignments from the start.
Communicate, communicate, and communicate some more. Build rapport with as many stakeholders as you can. Beyond, your team, get to know as many customers, suppliers, and people in other functional areas. Don’t spend too much time in your own silo.
Schedule a final presentation to leadership and key stakeholders at the start. Remember the advice to commit to a plan and then deliver results. Reviewing specific and relevant information with key stakeholders in advance. This is not the time to spring surprises on anyone.
About Taylor Robinson
Taylor is an operational senior executive with over 30 years of progressive leadership roles in supply chain and operational roles. He gained his leadership experience and skills at market-leading companies including Honda, Honeywell, HJ Heinz, Watts Water, and Northern Power Systems. He was brought into several of these companies to lead major organizational transformations, enabling both revenue and profitability improvements. Taylor is recognized as a servant leader who can manage both the implementation of strategic plans and solving the tactical challenges in sourcing, supply chain, logistics, and operations.
See: LinkedIn profile