7 steps to create an efficient action plan for your team
Do you know how to create an action plan?
It is critical for a company to have an action plan to achieve goals in its projects and obtain the best results.
But what is an action plan, anyway? What is it for?
An action plan is an organized form that follows a defined methodology to define goals and objectives, the activities that must be carried out, those responsible for developing each one of them and who also follow the progress of each project, so that the best results can be achieved.
In fact, creating an action plan for better teamwork planning is an activity that all managers at some point need to do.
And the challenge in how to create an action plan is to win over leaders and keep them engaged so that they truly accept the decisions and contribute to the success of the operation.
So in this post, we’ll talk about how to devise an effective action plan and engage your team.
You will also see the steps of an action plan and some action plan tools that can assist you.
Are you ready?
How to Create an Action Plan Step-by-Step: Complete Guide
Learning how to create an action plan is not difficult.
There are several very effective methodologies and action plan tools, and we will present some of them here.
But in order for everything to flow more naturally, let’s begin by presenting a simple 7-step action plan.
How to create an action plan step-by-step:
The structure of an action plan should follow these steps which, incidentally, are also an excellent roadmap for the presentation of an action plan.
Check it out:
1. Know where you want to go
The first step in creating an action plan is to consider the strategic planning of the company.
You, as a leader, guide your actions toward corporate goals.
Start by listing how your team contributes to reaching these company goals.
Therefore, both you and your team will know how your daily attitudes contribute to achieving your corporate goals.
This helps engage the team, having a vision of its role in everything.
2. Create measurable goals
Once you have a clear vision of what you need to accomplish, the next step is to set measurable goals.
The goal of the action plan needs to be clearly defined, after all an action plan serves to achieve goals.
Think of goals that will allow your team to visualize what has been accomplished. Thus, they will have time to correct deviations and to achieve the objectives.
If they are not met, you can collect and evaluate the performance of the professionals and the group.
Later we’ll present a tool that shows you how to make a goal plan for your projects.
3. List the tasks to be performed
It is important that all activities necessary to reach the goal are listed and assigned to a person responsible for them.
So along with the team, list all the tasks and activities to be accomplished.
Ask each professional to put on paper what their main related activities are and then discuss these with each of them.
In this way, everyone is clear about which activities should be developed and who is responsible for their implementation.
4. Divide the big tasks into smaller, more manageable parts
Some tasks or goals may seem harder to achieve than others.
That is why, where it is possible, break larger tasks into smaller parts, easier to execute and also manage.
This allows the employees running them to manage them more easily and to have greater clarity about the activities they need to do in order to be able to execute them in a timely manner.
For a manager, smaller tasks also represent greater ease in management.
It allows the progress of the actions to be followed with greater clarity, since they are smaller, happen more quickly, this allows the progress of the goal or task to be followed.
5. Decide on deadlines for everyday deliveries
Without specific deadlines, you can not do an action plan, and work will definitely expand and go over time.
Some tasks may never be completed.
Activities that already have well defined processes may well be guided by pre-established deadlines.
Here it is also worth consulting each professional to determine the execution times of these tasks.
With pre-established deadlines, the employee can plan the execution of their activities better, prioritizing according to their importance and urgency.
This allows the manager to better monitor the productivity of the team.
It will also facilitate the communication of all, since the team will already know when a certain activity will be completed.
6. Create a visual representation of your action plan
Once you create the action items and set the timelines, the next step is to create some kind of visual representation of your plan.
This representation helps in the engagement of your team, since everyone can follow the progress of the activities.
At the same time, a graphical visualization also allows an ease in identifying which tasks or objectives of the action plan are not being executed, or reached, allowing them to be prioritized, in order to be attained.
7. Track your actions often
Once your plan is established and shared with the team, and the accomplishments are scheduled, the next step is simple: make frequent follow-ups a habit.
It covers those responsible to ensure that all people are doing their part.
You can, for example, create a schedule for sending business reports or presenting individual, or team results.
There is no way to create an action plan without defining how you will follow it up.
An action plan may occasionally, due to events or unforeseen circumstances, be altered or set aside.
Do not let that happen.
After all, what is the purpose of an action plan, if not as a guide so that the ability to meet deadlines, complete tasks and achieve goals is resumed immediately after the unwanted interruption.
Always review your action plan and engage your employees to move forward without losing focus of the goals.
Want to know the best way to monitor your action plans?
Check out one of the best action plan management tools: Track your company’s action plans in a simple way! Find out about STRATWs ONE
Did you find these instructions a bit complex?
Did you have difficulty visualizing, in practice, how to create an action plan?
Stay calm, keep reading to find out more about it.
Before we show other methodologies on how to put together an action plan, we selected an example of a ready-made action plan for you:
How to create an action plan, step by step, by asking these 5 questions?
In fact, if you look carefully, the answers to these questions have a strong relationship to the steps of the action plan we have outlined above.
The idea is to answer each of these questions and thereby define:
- What will be done? They are the objectives and goals of the action plan.
- When will it be done? These are the dates and the schedule.
- Where will it be done? In this case, it is a question of specifying the places where the action will take place, which may be a specific room (or several) of the company, websites and tools on the internet or an external location.
- How? What methodology will be used? What criteria will be used? Is there a tool that everyone should use, a good practice manual or ISO standard? What are the stages of the project?
- Why are we doing this? It is necessary to clearly define what benefit the project will bring to the company, how it will add value to the business and to customers.
The “what, when, where, how, and why” action plan originated in the methodology of how to create a 5W action plan, which then evolves to 5W2H and that corresponds to these questions:
- How much?
How to create an action plan with the help of other tools
As promised, here are some action plan management tool ideas that can help you:
Setting SMART Goals
This tool assists in the stage of an action plan regarding the definition of objectives.
They should be based on the letters that make up the word SMART, see how it works:
- Specific: the goal can not be generic and broad, without references to the team. It needs to be very objective, to have focus and to detail without doubt where you want to arrive.
- Measurable: ideally, the goal should be represented by a number to be reached. For this, it should be a point that can be measured without difficulty or delay.
- Attainable: goals beyond the possibility of the team only lead to demotivation. Setting ambitious but never impossible goals is critical.
- Relevant: the goal, when achieved, should bring some important benefit so that the strategic objectives of the organization are achieved.
- Timely: it is critical to define the time frame for achieving the goal.
PDCA: Business improvement action plan
The PDCA method specifically deals with how to create an action plan for a company to improve its processes.
It is divided into 4 steps, according to the letters:
- Plan: discover the problem, its root cause, plan the improvements and develop an action plan.
- Do: engage the employees and execute the plan.
- Check: check the results and analyze if everything went completely as expected.
- Act: are things going well? Great, process improvement is definitely being implemented. It didn’t work? Restart your PDCA cycle!
View and Act Method
Despite everything we have said about creating an action plan and what its steps are, it is not always easy to see what the problems are and how to solve them.
To help you, we have another tool, the View and Act method.
Follow the steps below:
- Define: Do a survey of the company’s problems through meetings with the team about possible solutions.
- Prioritize: Sort out the most serious problems with the help of the GUT Prioritization Matrix and the Eisenhower Matrix.
- Describe: Discuss with the team the causes of the problems and think about possible actions to solve them, as well as the resources needed.
- Execute: Does everyone agree with what should be done? Well, get started then!
- Monitor and collect data: Track and monitor the progress of work, make sure you are on track, and make the necessary adjustments.
Is the method for creating an action plan now clearer to you? If not, watch the video below to emphasize the main ideas of the text:
Among the many functionalities of STRATWs ONE, one of them is to assist in the execution of action plans, find out more about it: STRATWs ONE.
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