Want to make a good impression in your new or current job? Focus on what you can accomplish within the next 90 days. “The first 90 days of any job is crucial. It’s the standard grace period for new employees and the time during which first impressions are made,” according to Melissa Llarena and president of Career Outcomes Matter. The notion of the individual 90-day plan extends far beyond starting a job. At 3D Cloud, we look for talent that approaches work with purpose and vision, no matter what the job and without regard to tenure.

Approaching work with purpose and vision

When you wake up in the morning do you think about the drudgery of the day ahead or are you energized by thinking about how your incremental efforts will lead to important contributions? The quality of both individual work and teamwork is influenced by this perspective. It’s true in nutrition as well as in work. It isn’t each individual food that you eat that makes for a healthy diet, it’s the total value of nutrition that you consume over many days, weeks or months that create a measurable impact on health and well being. Thinking 90 days out makes it easier to understand how your daily efforts can lead to opportunities beyond the moment at hand.

Planning beyond the moment

From interns and graphic designers to quality assurance engineers and 3D artists, all of 3D Cloud actively participates in company-wide business planning. We ask everyone to take ownership of our global business objectives as a way of helping individuals within the company to understand and measure the value of their contributions. That’s why we hire people who can see beyond the daily grind and into the future.

What does a 90-day plan look like?

Most companies use quarterly planning windows to set goals and measure progress. Goals should be realistic and achievable but challenging.  Extend your thinking beyond daily responsibilities and to-do lists to think about relationships, career objectives and how you can contribute to the larger goals of the company. Though the particulars  may depend on the job, here is a list of questions to help you start envisioning a personal 90-day plan.

  • If I only accomplish one thing in the next 90 days, what should it be?
  • Who do I need to meet with and what relationships can I work on?
  • What  person, job function, client or technology can I learn more about?
  • How can I grow my skills and extend my contributions?
  • How can I measure my contributions against company goals?
  • How can I communicate my successes back to the company?
  • What impact do I want my work to have?

It’s not how much you do, it’s what you do

Feel like you just worked a 90-hour week, solved a difficult problem and no one even noticed? Working at 3D Cloud requires a sense of vision and a desire to achieve beyond the moment. Instead of clocking the hours during an intense week you should always be asking yourself what the larger impact of your work is. Examples of impact might include a satisfied client, an empowered co-worker, a better solution or a closed sale. The next step is thinking about how this impact ties back to the larger goals of the team and the company.

Why you should create a personal 90-day plan today

Creating a personal 90-day plan will shift your thinking and behavior from reactive to proactive. It will also help you to ask better questions, focus your efforts, build relationships, contribute in more meaningful ways and to develop your talents over time. It gives you a solid reference for performance reviews and helps you to understand what you’ve achieved. No plan is immune to change. Instead, 90-day planning is a way of guiding efforts and seeing your individual contributions as part of a larger story. Once you feel the magic of the 90-day personal plan, you’ll never go back.

Beck Besecker is CEO and co-founder of 3D Cloud.

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