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The First 100 Days: A Planning Framework for the CEO


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New CEO's are frequently asked to provide a 100 day plan during an interview process. This is one example as to how I have approached this task. Read my blog post at

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The First 100 Days: A Planning Framework for the CEO

  1. 1. Michael Cairns Managing Partner Information Media Partners The First 100 Days A Framework for a new CEO (Prepared July 2017)
  2. 2. Introduction Michael Cairns is a publishing and media executive with over 25 years experience in business strategy, operations and technology implementation. As a business executive, Mr. Cairns has successfully managed several troubled and under- performing businesses, creating new business opportunities, developing new funding sources and enhancing shareholder value for investors. His years spent as an operating executive have largely been with brand-name publishing companies such as Macmillan, Inc., Berlitz International, Wolters Kluwer Health, Reed Elsevier and R.R. Bowker. As a consultant, Mr. Cairns has worked with clients as diverse as AARP, Hewlett Packard, InterPublic Companies and Reed Elsevier with an emphasis on business strategy, market development and corporate development. His skills and experience include:  Business and corporate strategy development and implementation  Operations management and business transformation  Traditional and digital publishing and operations  Print-to-digital transformation and adoption of new business models  Software development and software services Mr. Cairns holds an MBA (Finance) from Georgetown University and a BA from Boston University. He has served on several boards and advisory groups including the Association of American Publishers, Book Industry Study Group and the International ISBN organization. Additionally, he has public and private company board experience. 2 Michael Cairns Information Media Partners Strategy Consulting New York, London, Melbourne Tel: 908 938 4889 Find me: LinkedIn Twitter Blog Flickr InstaGram
  3. 3. Information Media Partners Michael Cairns established Information Media Partners in 2006 as a boutique strategy consulting firm focused on the information and education publishing segment. The work conducted by the firm includes product development, corporate development, sales management and corporate reorganizations. We work with established businesses, private equity owners and potential acquirers. Examples of our work include:  Reorganized and re-focused a $25 million software publishing company by aligning business operations with client priorities; implementing internal collaboration tools and project management standards; re-building executive team to focus on effective and efficient management  Defined a new business strategy for a large non-profit association and advocacy group, expanding their business model into global markets to exploit their core knowledge and expertise across a broader market  Led an information technology capabilities review at a large international advertising holding company. Completed over 200 interviews in 15 international offices and multiple group focus sessions to define the operational ‘gaps’ between existing agency capabilities and those necessary and important for client delivery by region  Completed a sales management effectiveness review for a global software company and defined six key project initiatives to improve sales effectiveness, market development and account management We approach our client engagements in a standardized, logical manner which creates the best environment to identify key business drivers, administrative and logistical road blocks and/or product or market definition issues. Our investigative approach leads to better insights into your businesses and supports the development of workable solutions and recommendations for success. Visit the Information Media Partners website for more information. Sample Client List
  4. 4. 4 Objectives of the first 100 days  Establish rapport with management team and employees  Build cohesive executive team with shared objectives  Define working relationship with board and clearly articulate expectations for balance of the year  Conduct sales review meeting(s)  Fully understand current operating situation of the company  Gain familiarity with products and understand unique selling points  Develop an understanding of key drivers impacting the business  Understand departmental organization, personnel, management and priorities4
  5. 5. Priorities by discipline Employees • Understand organization • Roles and responsibilities • Assess morale • Motivation/compensation • Benefits program and costs • Open heads report Finance and Operations • Review financial reporting process • Understand current full-year forecast and mitigation efforts • Dynamics of large cost items • Audit, tax, other issues • Review and understand staffing • Policies and procedures Sales and Revenue • Review sales projections, issues and full-year forecast • Mitigation opportunities • Sales team effectiveness • Renewal process & lapsed renewals Technology and Editorial • Understand technology environment including vendor relationships • Establish editorial operations and current issues • Define 2-year technology plan 5
  6. 6. Priorities (cont’d) Board of Directors • Determine reporting structure • Articulate objectives for current year • Establish targets for upcoming plan period(s) • Set reporting dates • Schedule company meetings Marketing & External Relationships • Define marketing role and objectives • Evaluate conference schedule, objectives and budgets • Review marketing and promotion programs (direct mail, etc.) • Assess press release, public relations, marketing efforts, etc. • Identify key partnerships and external relationships 6
  7. 7. Employees Sales Finance Technology Editorial Board of Directors Marketing Pre-Boarding Week One • Meet one-on-one with exec team • Agree announcement timing • Executive team meeting agenda • Performance reviews • Potential product demo • Product access: (U/password) • Management reports, budgets, strategy docs • “All-hands” meeting on day one • First day management team meeting • Satellite office(s) visit • Staffing review with HR • Full sales review with sales team (next page) • Set pipeline review schedule • Renewal processes/procedures • Review financial reporting with controller • Technology overview & planning • Review product roadmap(s) • Understand relationship with prime vendor(s) • End of week check-in • Review conference schedule • Possible appointment press release • Manage personal set-up • Attend status meeting • Review marketing and promotional materials 7 Proposed timeline
  8. 8. Agenda for sales review Customers • Review sales data by customer • Define buyer profiles • Messaging/key selling propositions • Underserved markets • Lapsed customers • Migration strategy • Key account management Sales Personnel • Compensation packages • Targets: calls, meetings, sales, etc. • Territory planning & time management • Tele-sales versus field sales approaches • Sales competition and team work Pipeline Management • How ‘robust’ is pipeline? Are pipelines managed effectively? • Team meetings, calls and training • Close opportunities: 30 days, 60 days, 90 days • Close rates: sales effectiveness • Rates of pipeline revision or churn • Does funnel match sales target? Product and Competitors • Sales feedback on product development • Competitor profiles and selling propositions • “Must-have” new products and/or enhancements • What is the size of target market? 8
  9. 9. 9 Proposed timeline Employees Sales Finance Technology Editorial Board of Directors Marketing Week Two Week Three • Set up small group staff meetings • Satellite office visit • Review/approve hiring plans • Agenda for Operations Meeting • Attend sales pitch • Review selling material • Evaluate licensing agreements • Month close and revised forecast • Business operations review all day meeting • Continue small staff meetings • Determine senior management team • Review weekly sales call report • Customer visits with sales rep • Management review of YTD results • Exec team meeting • Establish priorities • Understand web trends and web product user data • End of week check-in • Review marketing materials • Website development • Branding activity • Technology review (next slide) • Third-party agreements • Support & ticketing, bug fixes, etc. • Editorial process review • Third-party data sources • Off-shore potential • Data growth & expectations • Exec team meeting • Establish priorities • End of week check-in
  10. 10. Technology review discussion items IT Planning & Strategy • Review IT architecture • Staffing plan • Desktop and application planning • New technology awareness • “Quick win” opportunities Product Development • Project management role • Business analyst/technical support for product development • Road map for new development and/or features Third Party • Contract review for primary relationship(s) • Other third-party agreements • Outstanding issues and mitigation plans Technical Support • Technical support organization • Outstanding bug list(s) and ticketing processes • Clearance rate • Relationship with sales function • Training activities • Website stats 10
  11. 11. 11 Proposed timeline Employees Sales Finance Technology Editorial Board of Directors Marketing Week Four Week Five • Set up small group staff meetings • Satellite office visit • Define/discuss exec team objectives • Company-wide status communication • Client visit(s) • Determine new product opportunities • Competitor analysis • Print, warehouse, distribution, cost analysis & recommendations • Continue small staff meetings • Satellite office visit • Assemble senior management team • Monthly all-sales team call • Overhead cost review: Rent, insurance, etc. • End of week check-in • Website development plan • Discuss preparation of 2-year technology strategy plan • Set timetable and objectives • Discuss preparation of 2-year editorial plan • Efficiency improvement opportunities • New product opportunities • Board meeting update and end-of- month financial review • New product opportunities • Monthly department meeting • Monthly department meeting
  12. 12. 12 Proposed timeline Employees Sales Finance Technology Editorial Board of Directors Marketing Weeks Six - Eight Weeks Nine - Ten • Satellite office visit • Establish exec team objectives • Company-wide status communication • Possible HR policy changes • Client visit(s) • Monthly close • Satellite office visit • Monthly exec team meeting • Review benefits program and costings for 2018 • Monthly all-sales team call • Implementation plans for cost improvement • End of week check-in • Website development plan • Review technology action plans • Status of 2-year technology plan • Product road maps • Identification of “quick wins” • Review implementation of improvement opportunities • New product opportunities status • Identification of “quick wins” • Board meeting update and end-of- month financial review • New product opportunities • Exec team meeting • Exec team meeting
  13. 13. 13 Proposed timeline Employees Sales Finance Technology Editorial Board of Directors Marketing Weeks Ten - Twelve Weeks Twelve - Fifteen • Satellite office visit • Monthly exec team meeting • Company-wide status communication • Client visit(s) • Final quarter sales competition? • Review pricing for 2018 • Monthly close • Satellite office visit • HR and hiring plan for 2018 • Annual performance review process kick-off • Monthly all-sales team call • Sales rep and sales force review • Implement recommended improvements • Planning schedule for 2018 planning • End of week check-in • Implementation program for redesign and (re)branding • Presentation of technology strategy plan • Exec team meeting • Planning for “quick wins” • Presentation of editorial strategic plan document • Exec team meeting • Planning for “quick wins” • Board meeting update and end-of-month financial review • Outline of 3-year strategic plan • Website revision presentation • Initiate budgeting and planning for 2018 • Initiate budgeting and planning for 2018
  14. 14. 14 Summary of completed first 100 days • Achieve clear baseline understanding of business, especially opportunities and challenges • Conduct multiple ‘points of contact’ with staff: meetings, presentations, customer visits • Complete sales review and implement action plans • Commence financial and strategic planning for 2018 • Departmental operating reviews completed • Conclude staffing evaluation and management team reviews • Complete technology profile and define options • Agree timing with board for three year strategic plan presentation • Gain the confidence of board in full year action plan
  15. 15. Please review my blog post associated with this presentation: /08/the-ceos-first-100-days-plan-to- be.html Michael Cairns Managing Partner 908 938 4889 LinkedIn Twitter Blog Flickr InstaGram 15