Action Plans – How to Develop and Create an Action Plan

Action Plans

How to Develop and Create an Action Plan – Frequently Asked Questions?

  • What is an Action Plan?
  • What are the essential elements of an Action Plan?
  • What are 5 essentials for a good Action Plan?
  • Whys should you develop an Action Plan?
  • How do you write an action plan?
  • What is a Problem Resolution Plan?
  • Action plan example for management?
  • What is a 30 / 60 / 90 Day Plan?
  • What is an onboarding Plan?
  • What is a Problem Resolution Plan?

What is an Action Plan?

An action plan is a detailed sequence of steps or activities that must be taken to reach one or more goals. Producing an action plan is beneficial not only for individuals but also for businesses. When developing action plans resource limitations and risks will also need to be considered.

The advantage of an action plan is that it allows for the execution of a structured plan to achieve the goal. Furthermore, for a team, it creates a bond within a team, as each member is aware of their role, as well as providing necessary information to ensure the success of the project.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

– Benjamin Franklin

What are the essential elements of an Action Plan?

Developing an action plan can help turn vision into reality. Action Plans increase efficiency and accountability. An action plan describes the goal will be met. An Action Plan lists the essential Tasks which are broken down Action steps which include the following information:

  • WHAT: What actions steps need to occur
  • WHO: Who will carry out these actions
  • DATES: By when will the activities take place, and for how long
  • RESOURCES: What resources are needed to carry out these actions
  • COMMUNICATION: Who needs to know what, when, and how?

What are 5 essentials for a good Action Plan?

The Action Plan should meet the following 5 Criteria:

  • Complete: Does it list all the Tasks and Action steps with HWat, Who, Dates, Resources, Communication?
  • Clear: Is it apparent who will do what by when?
  • Current: Does the action plan reflect the current status?
  • Complexity: Does the action Plan anticipate newly emerging risks and barriers?
  • Communicated: Have all the stakeholders and team members agreed to the action plan?

Whys should you develop an Action Plan?

There are many good reasons to work out the details of an action plan, including:

  • Credibility: An action plan shows your stakeholders and team members that you are confident and dedicated to getting the goal accomplished.
  • Confidence: An action plan ensures you have not overlooked any crucial details.
  • Realistic: An Action Plan can identify what is realistic and achievable.
  • Efficiency: An action plan can save time, energy, and resources in the long run
  • Accountability: An Action plan increases team alignment and commitment.
  • Success: An Action Plan ensures that you are aligned with your stakeholders and can seek support if required.

“To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.”

– Leonard Bernstein

What is an Action Plan Example?

A basic action plan has sections for tasks, which are broken down into action steps that can be assigned a priority and status for tracking progress. To track progress, starting and end dates need to be added for each action. A column for notes can also be included to capture extra information.

Ths sample Project Plan below can be used for simple project management, event planning, business goals, and more.

Action Plan: Annual Conference (Example)

H / M / L
Task #1 VenueLesleyHighDone10 Feb24 FebClose to Office
Action 1Lesley High In Progress10 Feb17 Feb
Action 2Lesley MediumNot Started17 Feb21 Feb
Task #2 AgendaDavidHighIn Progress10 Feb 28 Feb 2 Days Max
Action 1Dan LowNot Started 10 Feb17 Feb
Action 2Filip MediumNot Started 17 Feb 21 Feb
Action 3JohnHighNot Started21 Feb27 Feb
Task #3 ContentAnneHighIn Progress10 Feb 14 March
Action 1PeterMediumNot Started10 Feb 21 Feb
Action 2JenniferLowNot Started17 Feb 24 Feb
Action 3JimmyHighNot Started 21 Feb7 March
Task #4 MarketingGina High Not Started 10 Feb21 March
Action 1Gina High Not Started 21 Feb14 March

“Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential.”

― Winston Churchill

What is a Problem Resolution Plan?

Your team and the organization will encounter challenges or problems that must be overcome. A Problem Resolution Plan will be needed to solving the problem or challenge. The 7 Step Problem Resolution Plan includes:

  1. Define the Problem: Evaluate the situation and explore all the possibilities. Seek feedback from all involved for their input into identifying the problem. Is there just one problem, or are there more?
  2. Collect and Analyze the Data: Collect and analyze data to fully understand the situation with as many facts as possible.
  3. Clarify and Prioritize the Problems: If there is more than one problem, prioritize the issues so they can be examined separately and in priority.
  4. Create a Goal Statement for Each Solution: Establish a measurable goal for each of the problems that have been identified.
  5. Develop Solutions: Develop an action plan that addresses the problems with the critical components identified above and seek stakeholder approval before implementing.
  6. Implement and Monitor: After stakeholder alignment and support the next step in the problem-solving process is to implement the action plan and design a method for monitoring the outcomes.
  7. Evaluate and Lessons Learnt: Evaluate whether the goal and action plans have corrected the problems. Report the lessons learned to all the stakeholders to ensure continuous learning and continuous improvement.

Action Plan FAQs to be covered with our Next Instalment

  • Action plan example for management?
  • What is a 30 / 60 / 90 Day Plan?
  • What is an onboarding Plan?

“Make time for planning: Wars are won in the general’s tent.”

– Stephen R. Covey

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“Plan your work and work your plan.”

– Napoleon Hill

What are the Best Quotes About Action Plans?

“Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential.” ― Winston Churchill

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

“Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans.” – Peter F. Drucker

“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” – Confucius

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

“A clear vision, backed by definite plans, gives you a tremendous feeling of confidence and personal power.” – Brian Tracy

“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” – Pablo Picasso

“Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often.” – Mark Twain

“It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations if you live near one.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

“Unless you have definite, precise, clearly set goals, you are not going to realize the maximum potential that lies within you.” – Zig Ziglar

“He is the best man who, when making his plans, fears and reflects on everything that can happen to him, but in the moment of action is bold.” – Herodotus

“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” – Yogi Berra

“It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

“For tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.” – African Proverb

“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” – Alexander Graham Bell

“Have a bias towards action – let’s see something happen now. You can break that big plan into small steps and take the first step right away.” – Indira Gandhi

“To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.” – Leonard Bernstein

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, not the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” – Charles Darwin

“A person who does not plan long ahead will find trouble at his door.” – Confucius

“Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.” – Henry David Thoreau

“Every minute you spend in planning saves 10 minutes in execution; this gives you a 1,000 percent return on energy!” – Brian Tracy

“Action is character.”

– F. Scott Fitzgerald

Books about Action Plans

  • The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan: How to Take Charge, Build Your Team, and Get Immediate Results, by George B. Bradt, Jayme A. Check, Jorge E. Pedraza, 2011
  • The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter, by Michael D. Watkins, 2013
  • Your First 100 Days In a New Executive Job: Powerful First Steps On The Path to Greatness, by Robert Hargrove, 2011
  • Simple Life Action Plan, by Thom S. Rainer, Art Rainer, 2010
  • Action Plan for Personal Efficiency, by Natalia Trailina, 2019
  • How To Write an Affirmative Action Plan, by BLR, 2008
  • Inclusion in Action, by Philip Foreman, Michael Arthur-Kelly, 2017
  • Your First 100 Days: How to make maximum impact in your new leadership role, by Niamh O’Keeffe, 2011
  • Goal Setting: How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Goals, by Michael S. Dobson, Susan B. Wilson, 2008
  • The Art of Action: How Leaders Close the Gaps between Plans, Actions, and Results, by Stephen Bungay, 2010
  • The Formative Assessment Action Plan: Practical Steps to More Successful Teaching and Learning, by Nancy Frey and Douglas Fisher, 2011
  • Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action Paperback, by Simon Sinek, 2011
  • Take Time for You: Self-Care Action Plans for Educators, by Tina H. Boogren, 2018

“Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.”

– Peter Drucker

Videos about Action Plans

The First 90 Days Transition Roadmap

How to Make an Action Plan

“Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning.”

– Thomas Edison

Image Credit:Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay