What is an Action Plan?

How long do we spend tied up in meetings?  Too long!  How much talking happens over what needs to be done?  Too much!  How much action happens as a result?  All too often too little!

I believe that a way to avoid this problem is to produce clear and simple action plans. An action plan is a simple method of documenting the following 4 things:

  1. What needs to be done.
  2. Who needs to do it.
  3. When it needs to be done by.
  4. Any additional information that is relevant.

This is a simple action plan template that I use:

Action Plan Template

To maximise the effectiveness of action plans they should be developed collectively.  Simply creating a list of actions in isolation and then distributing it is unlikely to achieve results.

Meetings are necessary in business in order to get all relevant stakeholders in one place.  Talking is essential to enable the issues to be properly understood.  However, concluding these meeting by agreeing and completing an action plan should assist in ensuring that the time you have spent becomes productive.

I recommend formally distributing your action plan after the meeting so that everybody has a clear and consistent understanding of the plan.

I’m a champion of action plans for all areas of the business.  This includes developing action plans in order to act upon the results of training evaluation.

Is this a useful action plan template?  Do you use action plans?  Do you include any different headings? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

2 Responses to What is an Action Plan?

  1. Daniela at 11:42 am #

    Hi Richard, very simple and straight forward action plan that I’ve used only couple of times..i hope this is good and delivers great results, we will see.

    • Richard at 5:23 pm #

      Hi Daniela, I’m glad you’re finding it useful – please report back if it helps and/or you have any suggestions for how others could use it in the real world! Richard

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