For any setup to function properly, it is essential to make sure all the other smaller aspects are in place. Depending upon the goals and targets of the organization, these smaller aspects can get difficult to remember, especially when the procedure is to be carried out over a period of time. Whenever there is a task in hand, to make sure things flow perfectly and as per the plan, it makes sense to draw out the details of each of the steps involved that are required to climb up the ladder to goal. And this basic outlining of the actions that are needed to meet the target is called an action plan.
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What is Action Planning?
People often say, “So, what is the plan of action?” It simply means what the basic word to word definition of it would mean. A plan for the action is an action plan. It can be a plan for an action that involves looting a bank, or it can be a plan for starting a new business. The businesses have a reputation and a level to maintain. For that, a well-planned approach is a must, even more with multiple people working towards the same goal. To start on action planning, one must need to figure out the targets or the goal that is to be achieved. The next step is to discuss the feasibility of it. The use of an action plan is more structured and systematic than a plan just discussed.
A good action plan contains all the details of the individual tasks that will need to be carried out along with the resource that will need to be allocated and the time it is expected to take. Usually, this is done by someone of authority. If there are comments or instructions that are specific to certain tasks, which is mentioned in the action plan so as to be used later in time, thus reducing confusion as well. This way, there is not just a documented plan for everyone to refer to, but it also improves your chances of being realistic and lets you actually be able to achieve the targets as you had projected. Action planning has been in use for a long while even though the term might not have been in use. It is a great way to improve productivity and also keep everyone motivated by keeping the worth of the target alive. Below are some examples of situations where an action plan might be used and how.
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Example action plan to improve performance
Performance is a crucial factor that comes into play whenever there is an asset involved. And here we are not referring to the gold sitting in bank lockers, but also an employee that works for an organization. And to make sure this asset doesn’t turn into a liability, there needs to be a track of performance to be used. And to think of something that lets you do that, an action plan is the perfect way.
A project manager under whose supervision this employee is working will want to allocate task and keep a track of it. So to speak about this employee’s action plan, it will include the tasks that the person is expected to do. If there is a large task, it can be broken down into smaller bits. The timeline of this work also needs to be mentioned in the plan. Furthermore, there is also a section of dependency, which is there quite often when an entire team is working towards a common goal. Because of the available timeline, milestones can be set, along with schedules for weekly or monthly meetings. There are multiple examples of a performance improvement action plan revolving around employees.
Next quick example that you can look at is that of the field of academic. Any educational institute would want an action plan to improve the performance of the kids. A student requiring extra support from the academic facility can be provided so efficiently using an action plan. This kind of action plan will include the measures that are taken, as in; the student needs to spend two extra hours in the chemistry lab for the upcoming two months. And in such simple steps, the action plan can be monitored in a way that definitely improves the performance and also the progress that has been made at each step.
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Developing strategies and action plan
To come up with a strategy to how to go about an action and to execute in accordingly is not as simple as it seems. And also, it is not as business-like as people would like to believe. And to be honest, everyone is continuously working on different strategies and action plan without thinking about it. But like it is mentioned above, when conducted in a designated manner, these action plans definitely add up to the overall performance.
There are certain things to keep in mind before one starts on the strategy.
- First of all, the final goal is to be understood. The strategy will only come into place once the goal is defined.
- Once you have that, the stages of the task that leads up to the goals are defined. And under each of these stages, there are smaller broken down individual tasks that are mentioned. This is the first step of developing a strategy. If there is a team working on it, the tasks are assigned to different members or smaller teams who are to take the ownership of it.
- There will be a set of resources allocated to these owners as well and will have their dependencies too. This section of dependency will remind the owners how their workflow can hamper with the flow of others working on it. This too is added into the action plan so as to make it more concrete and not vague details of thoughts.
- These strategies are going to be executed over time, and that timeline is broken down as well to have a better grip over the progress.
- Any action plan will include the feedback and comments of the involved members, and that should be recorded for others to not get lost in words.
According to the textbook words, the flow of practical planning process goes through VMOSA, which is nothing but, vision, mission, objectives, strategies and action plan. And it doesn’t take rocket science to understand what this 5 stage process is all about.
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