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Planning to be Successful in a New Job

Commit to a structured 30/60/90 day plan or adopt a flexible and reactive approach?

Effective planning plays a crucial role in being successful in a new job. It provides a structured and strategic approach to managing a new set of responsibilities, offering clarity, focus, efficient prioritisation, time management, coordination of tasks and ideally a good understanding and measurement of your ongoing success.

However, planning has to be capable of change. In any new role your understanding of what is required and your priorities will evolve and develop as you immerse yourself in the role and as you peel back those layers and better understand the nature of your job. You may also find that your managers and your firms agenda and what defines your success may alter depending on their priorities.

Your planning options are also a product of what works best for you and your style so there are many opportunities to create a plan that works best for you. You do need to be flexible in your approach, but you also absolutely need to document what you are being measured against, your success criteria and objectives and how you aim to deliver against them.

Creating a plan when starting a new job is crucial to ensure a smooth transition, set clear expectations, and make a positive impact from the beginning. The approach you choose can vary based on your role, the organisation's culture, and your personal preferences.

Let's explore 3 job planning options:

I've deliberately chosen some extremes to demonstrate the issues you face if you sleep walk into complacency and forget to align activity to objectives and objectives to vision. There is no right or wrong approach so consider the options, the pros and cons and find a path that works for you.

1. Create a classic 30/60/90-day plan with a long-term vision

2. Commit to planning as you go, focusing on a rolling weekly assessment of priorities

3. Take a hybrid approach, combining a core plan with a flexible reactive approach

30/60/90 Day Plan aligned to a long-term vision:

Creating a 30/60/90-day plan is a structured approach that outlines your goals, objectives, and actions for the first three months in your new role. This plan is a roadmap for your early days and can provide you and your manager and other stakeholders (should you choose to share it) reassurance that you have a firm grasp of your priorities and how to deliver against them.


Provides a structured approach and clear goals.

Demonstrates your proactive attitude to your manager and team.

Helps you establish yourself and build credibility quickly.


Will need adjustments if unexpected situations arise.

Could be inflexible if circumstances change rapidly.

You are early to role so you might look naive in your outlook at this point

Planning as You Go:

Some individuals prefer a more adaptive approach where they learn and adjust their plans based on the situations they encounter. This approach involves starting with a general understanding of their role and responsibilities and then adapting goals and actions as insights and experience are gained.

Typically a rolling 2 to 3 week view on priorities and activities is used and favoured by people who steer away from comprehensive short/medium and long-term planning.


Flexibility to respond to unexpected challenges or opportunities.

Allows you to make informed decisions based on real-time information.

Adapts to the unique dynamics of the new job.

Might be useful in the early stages of a role as you find your feet.


May lack a clear direction and vision from the outset.

Could lead to potential inefficiencies if not well-organised.

Stakeholders may want a plan to show you are planning to be successful in your new job.

Hybrid Approach:

The hybrid approach combines elements of both rudimentary structured planning and adaptability. You start with a general plan and goals, such as those for the first 30 or 60 days, and couple that with a reactive approach on a week-by-week basis and adjust and refine your approach as you gather more information and experience.


Balances structure with built-in flexibility to respond to changing priorities.

Provides a framework while allowing for adjustments.

Helps you transition smoothly while staying responsive to changes.


Requires a careful balance to ensure you don't become too rigid or too reactive.

May require ongoing communication with your manager to ensure alignment.

Could be open to criticism in the absence of a long-term plan and vision.

Planning to be successful in a new's a judgement call

Ultimately, the best approach depends on your personal style, the nature of the job, and the organisation's expectations.

A 30/60/90-day plan can be a powerful tool for demonstrating your commitment and ambition, especially if your manager values structured planning.

I would, however, always recommend a long-term vision no matter how short-term your priority planning might be. The presence of such a documented vista assures stakeholders of your grasp of the firms strategic direction and provides you with a guide path to successful delivery. If you haven't got the full picture early on in your role then caveat the vision appropriately and clearly identify it as "draft" or "version 1".

Planning as you go can be beneficial in roles that require quick adaptability and responsiveness, so a hybrid approach allows you to benefit from the advantages of both structured planning and flexibility. Just remember that long-term vision piece.

Regardless of the approach you choose, ongoing communication with your manager, colleagues, and stakeholders is crucial to ensure that your efforts align with the organisation's goals and priorities.

I provide a "Planning and Strategy" session in addition to a "Monthly Mentor" service and all of the above and much more can be covered in this 90 mins focused meeting (Zoom or F2F). Drop me a line for a free chat to discuss what might work for you.

Adrian Spencer - Coach & Mentor

30/60/90 day plan for success in a new job


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