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10 Tips for Developing Action Plans

written by: Regina Woodard • edited by: Jean Scheid • updated: 1/24/2011

Action plans are an essential part of the strategic planning process. If you find yourself in the midst of preparing one, here are 10 tips for developing action plans for your business or group.

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    Within the process of strategic planning, there is the making of an action plan. An action plan is a checklist for tasks that you plan to do in order to achieve the goals and missions that are set up within the strategic plan. You can use an action plan for any project in which you have several goals for the overall plan.

    Developing action plans should be an essential part of the strategic planning process, but sometimes businesses don't spend a lot of time working on creating an action plan.

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    Developing Action Plans

    Action Plan While action plans are important to have, the process on developing one may be hard to figure out. What exactly is an action plan? Essentially, an action plan is a list of tasks that need to be achieved in order for the goals and missions of the strategic plan to be reached. The action plan focuses on what needs to be done to reach the goal, who will need to work on which section to help reach the goal, as well as the roles of other employees within the company.

    Here are 10 tips for developing an action plan for your project or business:

    1. Set an objective. This should address specific goals that will be targeted, who will work on which goals, and what the timeline will be for each goal.
    2. Keep the action plan in a realistic view point by making reasonable objectives. Having a second office can be achieved, but not in say, two weeks.
    3. For all of the tasks that are assigned to the goals of the strategic plan, go over how they relate to the goals and how the goals contribute to that of the business.
    4. Make a list of all of the objectives that need to be accomplished in order to reach the goals set within the strategic plan.
    5. Each department involved should have a separate action plan. For example, if the business plans to open a new office, the financial department should have an action plan on how the finances will be acquired or used for this move.
    6. Within the different departments, make sure that managers and employees also have dedicated action plans. This allows for certain people to be aware of what their roles are within the action plan. For instance, the senior manager of the financial department would have the task of talking to financial institutions in regards to getting loans, while another employee may just be in charge of gathering research materials, such as locations for the new office.
    7. Set timelines for when each task in the action plan needs to be completed.
    8. Be sure to evaluate and verify that the tasks of the action plan are being implemented.
    9. Get feedback from all those involved about the action plan, by obtaining comments on how to better the action plan.
    10. Reward individuals or departments when tasks on the plan have been achieved. This helps keep up the momentum of the action plan if people feel their goals have been finished and the end is in sight.

    While having the tasks within the action plan are important, remember that these are of course guidelines on how to achieve the goals set forth in the strategic plan. They can be changed as other ideas are discovered. Having a plan in place for reaching business goals is important, especially when everyone has a role to play within the overall scheme of growing a successful business. With the use of an action plan, these goals now have tasks that can be done to ensure the mission or goal.

    Image Credit (MorgueFile)