What is an Action Plan?
An action plan is a checklist of an individual or organization’s steps and tasks that they need to complete in order to achieve their goals. An action plan contains the deadline when a specific task should be completed. It also contains the necessary resources needed to complete the task, as well as the potential challenges that are needed to be taken into consideration.
What are the purposes of creating an action plan?
Creating an action plan is an important part of the strategic planning process and it also improves teamwork and camaraderie within the organization.
An action plan can also be used by an individual so they can prepare a strategy to achieve their personal goals.
How to fill out an action plan?
In filling out an action plan, make each step or task concise and specific. If there are complex actions, break them down into multiple steps.
Enter the task or action to be completed.
Enter the name of the person in charge or responsible for completing the task.
Provide the deadline of the task. The deadline is the day when the task should be completed.
Provide the necessary resources needed to complete the task. For example, the task is to create a powerpoint presentation for a certain report, you will need a laptop or a desktop computer.
Provide the potential challenges that may arise when completing a task. Potential challenges are the complications that you expect to happen during the completion of the task. Writing these challenges will help you become more careful and aware of the possible errors that may happen.
Once you have completed the task, provide the result.
What are the benefits of an action plan?
- Formulating an action plan gives you a clear direction on where the organization should focus on in order to achieve certain goals. An action plan highlights the necessary steps and tasks to complete.
- If your plans and tasks are presented in writing, it will be very helpful for you to stay motivated and committed to complete them.
- If you have an action plan, you can keep track of your progress.
- If you have your steps and plans listed out on your action plan, it will help you prioritize the most important tasks.
- Creating an action plan provides an opportunity for reflection. Before starting a new plan of action, it will be very helpful if you reflect from your past actions so you can apply what you have learned, or make sure that the mistakes you have committed will not be made again.
- Creating a plan of action brings people together. Different tasks require different people to work on them, action planning brings together a group of people that are knowledgeable at a certain area of work. Creating an action plan also benefits those who are experiencing the problem that is addressed on the plan, and a task requires people who can contribute to its completion. Having a plan of action helps build teamwork and unity.
- Action planning creates responsibility and accountability. An action plan contains the people who are responsible in completing a specific tasks, creating an action plan allows them to contribute realistic suggestions. Their involvement in the task creates a sense of individual and collective ownership for the action plan. The accountability is a result of the allocation of tasks to differents workers. The individuals that are assigned tasks know that they are responsible in creating positive results and they will need to report progress at agreed intervals.
- Creating an action plan clarifies timescales. In writing down all the necessary tasks needed to be done in order to achieve specific goals and deciding on the resources needed in a particular task, these allow a realistic assessment of how long the plan of action will take. Every task or step in the plan needs a specific deadline.
- Creating an action plan signify measures of success. These measures are stepping stones towards a larger objective. An action plan provides a way in measuring progress towards your main objective.
TIPS AND NOTES BEFORE CHOOSING TASKS OR ACTIONS FOR YOU ACTION PLAN
There are many things to consider before deciding on the tasks that you will write and perform. Before writing your action plan, consider using the SMART outline for you to be able to set the right goal.
- Specific: make sure that your objective is clearly defined. For example, instead of saying that you want to increase efficiency, you could set a specific increase or number, such as increasing efficiency by 50%. This will help you understand where you need to be, if you don’t have a specific threshold for something, the results may be less than what you wanted.
- Measurable: make sure that your objective can be measured. Define what evidence will prove that you have made certain progress. For example, if your goal is to increase production, you can make weekly or monthly reports to track your progress.
- Attainable: make sure that your goals are possible to attain. Yes it is always good to have big goals, but it is also advisable to start with something small and gradually increase and broaden your goals. Having attainable goals means that you have the resources to achieve such goals. Let’s say that you start out having big goals, what if you don’t have the resources available to complete the tasks in order to achieve those goals? Starting with something attainable and doable with the resources you have always helps in improving.
- Relevant: make sure that your goals are relevant to your needs, abilities, and interests. Writing down tasks that are not related to your overall objectives will not help your progress. For example, if you want to increase advertising revenue, setting a goal to start a safety program will not contribute to your progress because it is not relevant to the matter at hand.
- Time-based: make sure that you set a specific deadline for completing your tasks.