“When a 30-60-90 Plan becomes a 3-6-9 Plan”
When most executives start a new position, the 30-60-90 day framework is typically a focal point for establishing what will be accomplished in their first three months. When you start a new interim position, that timeline is reduced to 3-6-9.
Unfortunately, interim executives typically do not have the luxury of a long runway to establish a plan and path forward. The nature of interim executive work is often rooted in change, transformation, or instability. The previously mentioned ingredients do not lead interim executives to have a long period of time to observe and establish the best path forward.
A former Odgers Interim Executive, Eitan Dehtiar, describes the importance of establishing a plan early on in an interim assignment.
“When you accept an interim executive assignment, there is an expectation that you will be contributing immediately. Everything is condensed and you do not have a period of discovery the way you might in a permanent role,” Eitan shares.
When we work with interim executives, a key factor in their ability to be successful is how quickly and accurately they can assess the situation, identify key stakeholders and understand challenges that are or could prevent progress. This ability to assess quickly is essential for creating an initial strategy and seeing progress within the first two weeks of an assignment.
Eitan goes on to share further insights on establishing an interim plan:
“In advance of starting, consider critical background information you will need to prepare yourself, and ask for a schedule of key dates, such as board meetings, regulatory submissions, etc. so that you can visualise your plan.”
Within your first couple of days, meet your key team members, as well as internal and external points of contact. Align with the CEO on priorities for your assignment and ensure the key people you interact with know how you operate. You’ll also want to schedule some regular check ins with your team and the CEO to ensure you’re delivering as planned.
Given the shorter duration of interim assignments, I tend to start with the end in mind. As part building of your plan, think about your exit from the start, and evaluate what you can tangibly accomplish in a way that matches the long-term needs of the organization. You’ll want to be mindful of making commitments or as I like to say, ‘writing cheques’ that someone else – your eventual permanent replacement – will have to cash. Importantly, you’ll need to be adaptive, as rapidly shifting priorities often arise in interim roles.”
Interim executives are often leveraged based on their previous situational experience and their ability to lean on “what they have done” versus “what they would do.” All situations are unique and present their own challenges, but an interim executive has the ability to build out their 3-6-9 based on what they have seen work.
With the rate of change outpacing organization’s ability to react, an interim executive establishing a 3-6-9 plan can help turn challenges into opportunities.
Brian Slomka is a Partner with Odgers Interim, the executive interim division of Odgers Berndtson. He is responsible for providing organizations with on-demand talent solutions that enable transformation and growth.
Prior to joining Odgers Interim, Brian spent nine years working with Canadian IT consulting organizations, focused on delivering talent solutions to small, midsize and enterprise-level organizations. In these roles, Brian was responsible for client management and consulting with organizations on attracting and retaining top talent.
Brian graduated from Niagara University with a Bachelor of Science Degree from the School of Business Administration, majoring in Supply Chain. He also holds a diploma from Niagara College, School of Business and Management, majoring in Human Resource Management.