Your Next 100 Days

With every new Presidential transition, the idea of what the newly elected leader can accomplish within the “first 100 days” becomes a popular subject for discussion.

But it begs the question: what can YOU expect to accomplish in the first 100 days of the year in YOUR job or organization?

Since it’s already mid-January, let’s change the wording slightly to your NEXT 100 days. If we start today—January 18—that gives you roughly until the end of April.

That’s one-third of the year, folks—a respectable chunk of time. What can you do, and how will you do it? Here are some tips.

Planning, Planning, Planning: As the folks at AAA have told us for years, you can’t get where you’re going without a map. And in business, you can’t achieve pretty much any kind of worthwhile goal without a plan.

It doesn’t have to be hard-bound, comprehensive, 20-chapter official document that starts with a complete history of your firm. (We’ve seen a few like that—the only problem is, by the time they get written and printed, the year is already over.)

Start with a brief assessment of where you are, where you want to be, and the resources you have at hand.  Then start brainstorming strategies, tactics and timeframes to get you there.  Edit them down to a realistic assortment of tasks, and you’ve got a basic starting point—it’s as simple as that.

Fire It Up: A lot of plans end up sitting on the shelf because of lack of follow-through. Project management software can help, but the most important tool is a calendar. Walk through your plan thoroughly and schedule the bits and pieces, even the smallest ones, on what appears to be a reasonable timeline.

You know, researchers say it takes 60 days to establish a new habit; within your 100-day plan, you’ve got time to build a few of these! Choose wisely.

Keep an eye out for heavy-activity periods; some tasks will need to take place at a certain time (i.e., monthly or end of quarter), but others are more flexible—space them out accordingly. Be generous with teasers, ticklers and reminders to keep the essential components of your plan on schedule, and be sure and note some clear milestones to track your progress.

With a 100-day approach, there should be something noted for every day. Even weekends—those activities are called “rest, refresh, and revitalize.” Take them seriously!

Prioritize Strategically: Those are two very important words. Prioritize the elements of your plan in terms of their importance. It’s always tempting to tackle the simpler tasks first—grab that low-hanging fruit—but rarely are these the keys to success. (If they were, EVERYBODY would be successful.)

Be strategic in how you build the schedule. And keep in mind that quite often, taking care of those tasks that you dread first can pay major dividends.  That can be a good approach for your daily to-do list just as it can within the context of your 100-day plan.

One of the best things about having a plan is being able to evaluate a potential activity in terms of whether or not it supports your major goals. See where it fits…and if it doesn’t, re-think whether it even needs to be on your to-do list.

(You can use the basic four-prong test, urgent or not urgent, important or not important. And if it’s not urgent OR important? Well, why are you doing it?)

Your next 100 days could be more fruitful than you’d ever expect. Take this opportunity to lay the groundwork for success, and you’re likely to end up in a winning position come May….when it’s time to start your NEXT 100 days!

Grow Big or Go Home!