An effective action plan provides an outline to achieve a specific goal. It breaks down the goal into short and measurable tasks, which can help a person achieve what they want. A manager, an employer, an employee, an organization, or any person, can use an effective action plan.
An action plan template, on the other hand, is a ready-to-use document that is just needed to be filled and serves the same function as an action plan.
What is included in the action plan?
An action plan would include the answer to the questions like who, when, what, where, how, and much more depending on the length and detail of the plan. For example:
- Where are we now?
- Where do we want to go?
- How will we get there?
- What resources are important?
- Who will provide those resources?
- When do we want to achieve the goal?
There can be a huge variety of questions, which would be a part of the action plan and it will depend on the type of goal and action items in the list.
Types of Action Plans in Business
There are different types of action plans, which are important in business. For example, three important types of management are as follows:
Tactical Plans: These types of plans are organized in a sequence such that strategic plans are followed in order to achieve the required and specific goals. These kinds of plans are focused on action and people. Strategies are according to the environment and resources.
Single-Use Plans: As the name suggests, single-use plans are for a purpose, which is not likely to be repeated in the future. Projects and Programmes are two types of single-use plans.
Standing Plans: These kinds of plans are for purposes or activities, which would be repeated many times in the future for example policies, rules and regulations, and procedures.
Usage of Action Plan
Action plans are important because, through them, a person would be able to put the following in writing, which otherwise could just be a thought in his or her mind:
- Clarity of Goal: Be very clear about the goal in mind in order to write about it. Without a clear goal in mind, it becomes quite difficult to make an effective action plan.
- SMART Goals: The goal should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely, which is extremely important for the plan to succeed.
- Realistic Planning: Planning should be according to realities and not just an assumption. For example, a person who wants to collect $10,000 in 10 months would need to collect $1000 per month; however, if in any way he or she cannot they have to either increase the timeline or increase the source of income.
- Measurable Milestones: It is important that milestones are measurable and not merely a plan or speech. The actual outcome is possible when a person makes a plan, which is actually measurable and possible according to his or her capacity.
- Break up into smaller Tasks and Follow up: If the plan is not according to what is planned, it is possible to change the dates but does not drop the plan. If it is tough, break it into smaller tasks and action items and always follow up.
There are so many uses of an action plan especially if a person finds it difficult to focus they can make an action plan and follow it accordingly.
How Do You Write an Effective Action Plan?
In order to create an effective action plan, it is extremely important to have a clear purpose in mind. With the help of an effective action plan, a person is able to distinguish between where they are now and where they would be in the future. An effective action plan would be like a guide to someone assisting him or her to achieve a goal.
Given below are some insights on writing an effective action plan:
- Mention the goal and define the objectives.
- Write the time necessary to complete the goal and the resources, which are important.
- Write the action steps, which are smart. A person should be able to achieve these goals.
- Write down the name of persons who are responsible for each of the relevant tasks in the action plan.
- Write down the relevant schedule as in when the goal is achievable. Make sure it is possible to achieve the goal by that specific time.
- Update the action plan, if any changes are necessary.
- Do not forget to communicate with people and write down any steps, which are necessary or if there is anything, which is important to include or change from the plan.
- Follow up and keep a close eye on the due date. It is also possible to break the tasks into smaller and writing important details in notes about them.
Action Plan Examples
Steps in an Action Plan
An action plan includes the following steps:
Step 1: Identifying the tasks is the very first step included in the action plan. At this point, it is important to keep in mind all the possibilities and ways through which a person can achieve the goal.
Step 2: The second step is to decide who would do what. If a manager makes the action plan, he or she can delegate the tasks to employees in the company. If it is made by a team leader, he or she can delegate the tasks to the team members, and if it is by an individual that he or she has to decide on how to collect the relevant resources for completing the plan.
Step 3: The next step involves keeping in view space, cash, helpers/people, equipment, material, expertise, and systems, also known as SCHEMES. The plan is adjustable if it is a small plan and does not require the need for equipment etc.
Finally; Revise your plan and follow up. The results should be terrific if one is following the plans as they have intended; however, if that is not the case that the plan can be revised.
Action Plan Templates
How to create your own action plan template?
There are different types of action plan templates, which are easily available online. These can be used as a sample in order to create your own action plan template. It is important to keep the following steps in mind:
- There should be a section of a goal and identifying the objectives.
- If it is an organization, the team members can participate in creating the action plan template.
- If the goal is one time, make the template accordingly; however, if the purpose is likely to repeat in future then the template can be useful in future as well. Leave space for team members in order to delegate the tasks.
- For example, there can be five columns in an action plan template, the very first column would define the goal, the second column would define the action steps, the third column would define the person responsible for the action, the fourth column would define the date to begin the plan and the fifth column would define the due date. This simple action plan template can be adjusted according to the need of a person and the relevant goal in mind.
Action Plan Formats
When there is a lot that needs to accomplish their needs to be a plan of action. When your company or organization has things that need to be done you need an organized way to make sure that everything gets taken care of. You need a way to plan out what needs to take place and who needs to accomplish what. An action plan helps one to do so.