No matter how big or small of a change you want to accomplish, it always pays to be prepared. In business, an integral part of this preparation is a tool called the action plan that outlines the strategies and processes involved in a particular undertaking. In this article, we will be providing the various elements, steps, and examples you will be needed in coming up with an effective action plan. You may also see Plan Samples.
Elements of a Good Action Plan
- Objective: It is the goal that you want to achieve. Your action plan’s objective can be any change you want to impose or an action you want to take. Nevertheless, it must be realistic, specific, and measurable. A realistic objective means that you are working on a tangible project with a high success rate. A specific goal means that you are trying to cater to a particular problem that needs to be solved. And a measurable outcome means that the success of your plan can be gauged without any gray area.
- People: These are the people who play a role in your action plan. They can either be one of your proponents or beneficiaries. The people involved should be informed before getting mentioned in your action plan and they must agree to participate. You can also tap these people to help you out with your action plan.
- Resources: It pertains to the materials you need to make the project a reality. Resources can be the funding you need, the people with specific skill sets, or the materials you have to procure to carry out your plan.
- Time Frame: Action plans are called plans because they intend to release a product or execute a project at a certain time. The time frame of an action plan refers to the deadlines of the specific sub-actions, the end date of the plan, and the duration of its execution.
- Audience: This element is an extension of the people involved, and it specifically refers to the group of individuals who need to know about your action plan.
- Tool: These are the management tool kits and planning softwares that can help you establish a solid daily schedule for your plan.
15+ Action Plan Templates
Simple Action Plan Template
SEO Action Plan Template
Smart Action Plan Template
Management Action Plan Template
Social Media Action Plan Template
Team Action Plan Template
Nursing Action Plan Template
Health and Safety Action Plan Template
30-60-90 Day Action Plan Sample
30 Days Action Plan Template
Business Sales Action Plan Example
Daily Sales Action Plan Format
Monthly Sales Action Plan Template
Sales Action Plan Template
Sales and Marketing Action Plan Sample
Simple Action Plan Template
Steps to Make a Great Action Plan
- Think of the change you want to see: Identify the problems that you see and want to solve. Start looking within your local community before delving out to a municipal, provincial, or national scale. It is advisable to take action that is in your close proximity because you yourself have a personal insight or take regarding that problem. After that, list down all the actions that can be taken to solve that goal and identify which comes first and which comes last according to urgency.
- Assemble a team: Contact the people who can help you out in conducting your action plan. These can be the people you have worked before and you have known to have the skills that you need. Ask for insights and steps to further improve your action plan.
- Develop an action plan: Formulate your action plan with a series of steps needed to address your goals. It should have all the necessary information and laden with details. At its core, it must be able to comprehensively indicate the 5W’s and 1H: the who, or the people involved in your action plan; the what, or the action you are planning to take; the when, or the time frame of the action plan; the where, or the area of the community that will benefit from your plan; the why, or the rationalization of your goals; and the how, or your specific actions that you and your team will be undertaking.
- Check for completeness: Go over your action plan and make changes as you see fit. Check if it still conforms to the team’s vision and makes sure that you are not missing any detail. Have a general consensus regarding the changes within your team and get them involved in your decisions.
- Delegate Tasks: Once you have set the team and formulated at least a backbone of your action plan, start dividing the work by delegating them to the people who you think can execute it best. Have proper discernment regarding your members’ abilities to ensure that they are efficient in the work they are assigned in. This is also the part where you determine if you need more people and other resources.
- Follow through: Upon executing your plan, maintain close correspondence with your team and monitor the effects to make sure your plan follows through. Request feedback and comments from your beneficiaries so you can devise ways on how you can improve. Have the major steps of your action plan on a chalkboard presentation where your team can keep track of the progress. This will also boost the team’s morale and motivation as you complete your objectives. The success of your action plan heavily depends on how you manage its execution.
Tips for a Great Action Plan
- Divide your goals into daily and weekly tasks: Break down your action plan into small tasks that can be completed within the day or the week. This ensures that you are making progress at a regular interval of time and will not wane away your motivation to really follow through.
- Setup backup plans: In every step of your action plan, always have a contingency plan just in case your initial plan will not work. Although careful planning minimizes the need for one, circumstances always evolve that may lead to huge compromises. Think about alternate routes to give you confidence in your plan execution.
- Assign numbers for every action: Delegating a number for each process involved in your action plan will make it easier for you and your team to talk about a specific process. Saying “action number 30” instead of mentioning the whole process will save everyone’s time in the meeting and will prove to be efficient in future discussions.
Types of Action Plan
- Tactical Plans: These are simply organized series of steps to achieve a specific goal. It focuses on the mission itself with a heavy emphasis on the resources and impact. Tactical plans are very common in any organizational structure and any manager from any management tier can execute them well.
- Single-use Plans: These plans are courses of action that rarely happens again the future. Single-use plans heavily depend on the availability of monetary resources as they are results of new developments within a community or organization. Two of the most common forms of this type are programs and projects.
- Standing Plans: Defined as the opposite of single-use plans, standing plans are for activities or events that happen regularly. Standing plans have three sub-types, which are rules, policies, and standard operating procedures (SOPs). Rules are the substitution to orders and describe the exact way of how a certain action must be taken. Policies exist to pertain to the actions that must be taken when there are exceptions in the rule. SOP is a specific outline of methodologies that need to be followed under a particular event.
Action Plan Template Sizes
Action plans are printed on documents with standard US sizes of 8.5 inches by 11 inches (letter) or 8.5 inches by 14 inches (legal).
Action Plan FAQs
How soon should you create an action plan?
Action plans are usually created at least six months prior to its execution. This will ensure that your team will have already determined the core values and developed the team chemistry for a smooth strategic implementation. Having ample time can give you confidence in conducting readjustments and approving deadline extensions. Problems that call for a revision of your plan can happen more often than you thought so start early to act quickly.
Is there existing software that can help execute my action plan?
Various business management applications are available to help proponents closely monitor their action plan, from the conceptualization down to execution. These programs help mitigate risks through daily reminders and provide insights by generating an overview of your action plan.
Furnishing an action plan requires time and coordination from different people. Yet, as long as you observe commitment coupled with consistency, your efforts will surely see its fruition. In the end, nothing can be more fulfilling than seeing your plan transcend into a successful action that ushers the change you wanted to see.