How To Format Action Plans

The format for documenting the action plan has 4 columns.

The key to success in executing the plan is to ensure that each activity has a Person Responsible for its comple- tion, and a completion target date. Bear in mind, the person responsible may not be the person who performs all the tasks within that action item, but is the ultimate owner of the project, and must report out on the result at the next plan review session.

Column #1 ~ Discussion/Action Item: Here you capture a short description of the activity, perhaps with the rationale. You want enough information here to easily pick up the discussion at a later review, but stick to the headlines, not the full story.

Column #2 ~ Person Responsible: The individual who is accountable for ensuring the action item is carried out and will report back at the next review period. Remember, this person doesn’t necessarily do the work, but ensures it gets done, calling in any other resources, internally or externally, as needed.

Column #3 ~ Completion Date: Although we recommend quarterly reviews, not all action items may need to be competed each quarter. As you assess your priorities, and resources, you will find some activities will need to wait until later in the year. It’s better to record the items needed to be done, and then defer to a later, completion date, than leave them off the list. This is where the “happy” part kicks in. It’s a huge stress reliever when you see all the work that needs to be done, scheduled over a realistic time frame, that everyone understands.

Column #4 ~ Cost: This column can be used to flush out potential capital cost investments or added resources. The intent here is to identify potential cost areas, not to focus on actual numbers. You will find this a helpful tool for budgeting.

Remember that your action plan needs to relate to the general strategies listed in the Business Plan summary. They can be organized directly from the broad strategies list in the BP Summary document, or you can follow the Workbook format, and , each department can create action plans that support the larger strategies listed in the Business Plan summary.

For example, the business development manager and sales team will have a major contribution to the market- ing and sales plans, but could also have some action items that relate to improved customer service, or financial controls. Similarly, those working more on the operations side of the business, may have action plans to support the sales or marketing goals of the company. Needless to say, you want to avoid “silo-ing” and keep everyone working collectively towards the corporate goals.

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