The 100-Day Plan That Isn't

Almost all new CEOs, presidents, and heads of business units develop a 100-day plan. In the context of a startup, a 100-day plan should have two aspects -- the hard and the soft. The hard are the three goals you want to achieve in 100 days. I won't bore you with mine, but they are specific, tangible goals that you can write down and check off (and who doesn't love that gratifying feeling?) The soft are the intangibles that you think are going to make you a better head of your company. These are 100-day goals that you hope to make perpetual habits -- hence it's not just a 100-day plan. For me, they are things that I have come back to periodically. My current 100-day plan soft goals fall under one theme: Listen more.

Specifically they are:

Listen more. Talk less.
- When we're listening, we're often not actually listening. We're waiting to talk. I find that if I can remember to not be waiting to talk, I'm actually listening. So for the next 100 days, I'm going to consciously think about talking less so that I can honestly give a good and fair listen. As Epictetus said "We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak."

Listen more. Step back.
- We all get caught up in the weeds. The weeds are good. They are what execution is all about, and execution separates successful entrepreneurs from everyone else. But stepping back helps ensure you are in the right weeds for the right reasons. For the next 100 days, I'm going to get up from my chair every few hours and stretch. I'm going to listen to my thoughts and then step back and think about what I'm doing and why.

Listen more. Write more.
- Two work colleagues have told me in the last month about Julia Cameron's Morning Pages (three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning) as a tool to unblock creativity. Ms. Cameron says "Worrying about your job, the laundry, the weird look your friend gave you - all that stuff distracts you from your creativity. It eddies through your subconsciousness and muddies your day. Get it on the page first thing in the morning and move on with your day with a freer spirit." This sounds really appealing, and will help me with my listening. If it's not in my head, it's not between my ears and my brain.

What's your 100-day plan that isn't?