Franklin Delano Roosevelt set a high bar for what he got done in his first 100-days. Since then, newly elected government officials at every level have tried to follow his example and accelerate progress over their first 100-days. Great. The problem is that their plans focus entirely on early wins. They can’t get there without including the other critical elements of managing through the fuzzy front end, communication planning, role sort, imperative, and milestones.

The fundamental elements of a new leader’s 100-day action plan are all about getting a head start, managing the message and building the team with five building blocks of tactical capacity: imperative, milestones, early wins, role sort and communications. The specific guidance for newly elected government officials is to follow these steps:

1. Lay out a real 100-day action plan including your core message and communication points.

2. Manage through the fuzzy front end

3. Complete a role sort sooner rather than later

4. Control all the signs and symbols of day one

5. Align your core team around the imperative

6. Implement a milestone management program

7. Deliver early wins

8. Adjust to changes down the road.


Lay Out A Real 100-Day Action Plan

Congratulations. You won the election. Now what are you actually going to do? We all know you don’t intend to keep all the promises you made during the campaign. So now it’s time to decide what you really care about. Once you get over the hangover from the victory party and come back from your well-earned vacation, sit down and map out what you want to get done across all the core steps.

Start by mapping out your core message and communication points. Note this is different from your stump speech because you’ve got a different audience. The stump speech was designed to get you elected. This needs to help you get stuff done. Not everything – just what you care about.


Manage Through The Fuzzy Front End

This is the opposite of lame duckhood, which you will experience at some point. If you’re not an incumbent, you’ve been elected; but you haven’t taken office. Use this time to map out your plan and to begin to build relationships with the people that can help you get things done. This will include your organization’s leadership, others in your role and other officials across the various branches of government.


Complete A Role Sort

Business leaders can wait until about day 70 to figure out who’s in the right role or not. Not you. You need to figure this out before day one and get your staff in place. If you need approval to your staff (e.g. cabinet officers), you need to have your nominees selected and vetted before day one. Get going on this now.


Control All The Signs And Symbols Of Day One

If you’ve managed to get elected, you understand the importance of signs and symbols. Guess what. Not only does this matter during the campaign. It matters forever. On day one, the magnifying glass is turned on you. Everything you do communicates. Think it through in advance.


Align Your Core Team Around The Imperative

Some will do this before day one. Some need to wait until their staff is approved. Either way, get your staff and key allies aligned around your mission, vision, values and approach so everyone is on the same page.


Implement A Milestone Management Program

What gets tracked gets done. If you actually want something to happen, you need your core leadership team clear on what’s getting done by whom by when with what resources. And you need to manage that tracking on some sort of regular basis – weekly, monthly or quarterly.


Deliver Early Wins

This is the part of 100-day plans that people understand. I’m not suggesting these aren’t important, just that the other pieces matter too.


Adjust To Changes Down The Road

Things change. Make sure you adjust.