Do you have a 3 year plan? If not, you should. Otherwise you may find yourself stuck in a role, and working for an organization, that limits your career growth and personal satisfaction.
You should never plan to stay with any organization more than three years, let alone twenty. The organization you join today could go through changes beyond your control, gaining different clients and a new reputation overnight.
A quick look at many of the world’s top industries and companies should confirm this. This tends to happen as companies seek maximum flexibility (which is often at a cost to employees) to respond to changes in the economic environment. It’s happened to me a few times in my career. I’ve gone to work for a respectable company with a great boss; suddenly, thanks to new policies or a change in leadership, my workplace becomes a mental prison from which I begin plotting my escape.
The First 90 Days
The method I often use in the first 90 days of my 3 year plan is an adaptation of the process introduced in Michael Watkins’ book, The First 90 Days. It is within those first 90 days that I find an onboarding model that works for me. This little change in thinking has helped me to move my own career forward, and it could help you, too.
The first 90 days of my 3 year plan are constructed of three 30-day periods. The first 30 days is all about discovery -looking, listening, and learning. During the next 30 days, choose a single task or project and try getting the most out of it by under-promising and over-delivering. For the last 30 days, evaluate, reflect on what you’ve learned, and think of what you’ve gained from the actions you’ve taken. I call my onboarding plan “DDE” as a mnemonic reminder for the three steps: Discovery, Delivery, and Evaluation. The idea behind these 90-day cycles is the same behind your 3 year plan.
The first year with an organization is made up of multiple ninety-day sprints, stops and starts. You go through the process of discovery, delivery, and evaluation constantly to ensure that you are adding value