The Last 90 Days

A year ago I read a book called The First 90 Days by Michael Watkins which argues that a new leader’s success or failure is determined within the first 90 days on the job.

It got me thinking: What about the last 90 days?


The way you exit a business is very important. There are some great articles on things to consider when leaving  a role but these tend to focus on the resignation and beyond (the last 30 days of the 90 day process).

What about before that? How would you feel if this period could influence your success in your next role…or career?

Before you have the meeting with your line manager and formally hand in your written resignation, be sure you’re making the correct decision. There are usually a series of events that culminate reaching a decision to move on, but we tend to ignore them. Acknowledge and address them.

Before you get to the stage of resigning you should give yourself 30-60 days before you make your final decision. Then there’s a final 30 days as your notice period (so 90 in total for you non mathematicians).

I always try to keep it simple so came up with an acronym designed to stop people from rushing through the exit scenario and plan.

“Don’t rush your exits…Plan your RACES.” Planning your exit is everything.

RACES info



Reason – “Why am I leaving?”. Identify what’s going well and what isn’t, what aspect of your job do you love and what aspects do you hate? Take time and think “Am I having fun, am I engaged? Writing these down help. There’s a good article by one of my friends (and former colleague) Ruth Morgan on this .

Ask – This time ask yourself, “What can your employer do to keep you?” I ask this in every interview when meeting with a candidate that’s exploring other opportunities. Companies don’t like losing staff and you’ll be surprised at how many are willing to “fix” the problem. In a bad market it may not be the smartest decision to quit. Weigh up the risk.

Clarify – Raise your concerns with your line manager or a senior manager. Do it gracefully and collaboratively with the aim of finding a solution to making things better. If you do resign, you want them to be saddened but not shocked. It’s like a break up…you walk away from the amicable ones saying “I addressed the issues and gave it my best shot”. You can refer to the catch up if/when you decide that you move on.

These are all factors you need to consider from day one when you decide you want to move on. The “ES” of the “RACES” are key to maintain throughout. I never recommend resigning from a position until you have secured something new – this can sometimes increase the 60 day part.

Engagement – The worst thing you can do is “Check out” before you leave. It can be hard to stay engaged, and granted office politics and poor leadership can make this near impossible, but it’s important you remain focused for the 90 days. This means no sick days, working your full hours and remaining collaborative and engaged.

Secrecy – Loose lips sink ships. Don’t tell people of your intentions to move on either – it always gets out. Your significant other maybe, but colleagues and even friends can give it away. Try to remain positive and engaged throughout your tenure so you don’t give anything away. Furthermore, make sure you respect your contract with your (post) employer with regards to post employment  conditions/restrictions.

See Ya!

You want to be missed. Planning your Exit Strategy is almost as important as your First 90 day strategy in a new company – and done properly it will take equally as long. Doing it the right way and with grace will have a great impact on your future especially if on average we’re changing jobs every 4.4 years . Bad leavers get bad reputation which will limit your career.


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