100 Day Plans are dumb

100 Day Plans are Dumb.


There, I said it.  Despite writing and developing them over and over again for dozens of different companies and executives, I think 100 Day Plans are ridiculous.  First off, 100 days? Completely arbitrary, why not 105 days, or 60 days? Is it 100 Calendar days, so roughly 3.25 months or is it 100 business days and 4.5 months?  Wouldn’t 90 days or three months make more sense? Then there’s the length, 100 days from now, that’s more than a quarter away – no matter how many days are in 100 days –  that’s ⅓ of a year, how am I supposed to know now, weeks or months before Day 1 even begins what ought to be done on day 99? Isn’t day 99 sort of dependent upon the results and impacts of days 5, 62, 78, and 98 – which are undefinable outside of a magic 8 ball – that far in advance?

They’re just so frustrating.

The last couple times a client has asked us to build a 100-day program we’ve said no.  100 days is too long, no one has ever gotten through more than 75% of them. How about a 10-week plan?  The number is a little less arbitrary, 10 weeks of activity fit neatly inside of a quarter, hopefully, right between two board meetings. They’re more well defined 10 weeks = 70 days = 2.5 months.  I could maybe argue that they’re still too long but they could be broken up into segments or sub-cycles pretty easily.

What does a good 10-week plan do?  It directs the company and executive team forward, toward the goal.  It breaks up the various long-term plans into digestible chunks that are reportable to the board of directors quarterly.  If completing a negotiation, important hire, or a special project is important then it goes into the plan is broken down, distributed across the various teams and reported on.  It forces accountability, it forces action and movement, it pushes the teams and company to achieve targets.

Isn’t that the point of a 100 day plan?

Also published on Medium.