Key benefits to action plans
- Action Plans allow identified issues to be captured & addressed in a structured and consistent way
- They ensure specific actions are agreed to resolve specific issues
- They ensure specific individuals are assigned responsibility and accountability for agreed actions
- They ensure adherence to an agreed time frame
- They provide a framework to audit the effectiveness of the actions agreed to resolve the issue
- They focus Team Leaders on active management activities
- They promote effective delegation, negotiation, monitoring and reviewing techniques for the Team Leader and the action plan owner
- They provide documented evidence of achievements which may be used during the performance review process
- They identify actions & steps required
- The identify responsibilities & ownership of the actions
- They identify a time frame for the actions to be completed.
Getting the most out of action plans
To ensure you get the most out of the action plans it is vital that they are clear and concise so there is little or no room for misinterpretation, there are two key ingredients to a successful action plan.
All actions should be SMART
- Vital to success;
- Avoids misinterpretation;
- Enables understanding of desired outcome required; and,
- A SMART action will assist you in achieving the desired outcome from the agreed action.
How to complete an Action Plan
A Team Leader will assign responsibility of an action plan to an owner. From that point the owner is responsible for the completion of the tasks outlined in the plan. Certain tasks may be assigned to other people within the plan but the ultimate responsibility remains with the action plan owner.
It is used whenever an issue is identified and requires resolving through the completion of a number of steps. The issue can arise from day to day activity, training sessions, one to ones, team huddle sessions, quality reviews, suggestions for improvement etc.
|1||Issue is identified as needing to be resolved via a number of steps.||Team Leader|
|2||The issue is assigned to an owner. Note: Ultimate responsibility for the resolution of that issue remains with the Team Leader regardless of who the issue is assigned to.||Team Leader|
|3||• Owner gains understanding of issue and possible solutions|
• Timescale for overall issue to resolved/agreed.
|4||Owner completes action plan (may require team input):|
• Outlines task
• Assigns responsibility
• Assigns timeframes.
|Action Plan Owner|
|5||Review completed action plan template with manager/team manager who issued the plan.||Action Plan Owner & Team Leader|
|6||Owner ensures implementation of agreed actions completed on time by responsible party.||Owner/Task Owners|
|7||When complete, action plan taken to manager/team manager who issued the plan and it is reviewed & closed with sign off.||Action Plan Owner & Team Leader|
|8||Periodic adherence to process carried out via change control process.||Line Manager|
Action Plan Numbering
When numbering the actions within the action plan it is good practice to number using the sequence 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2.1, 2.2, etc.
The number that precedes the decimal place is the meeting number; the number that succeeds the decimal place is the action number within that meeting. This is particularly useful as, at a glance, you can see how many 121’s, team meetings etc., you have held and will also give you an indicator on the age of the action.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does a Team Leader need to assign an action for every issue, opportunity or challenge they identify?
In general yes but only if it’s clear that it can realistically be addressed. In situations where the timescale for a resolution may be mid or long term, incremental steps/improvements will need to be defined.
What happens if I cannot get the buy-in of the person I want to be the owner?
If an action is not supported or adhered to, the reasons for this must be explored and understood. Be prepared to redefine it, reallocate it or commit to more support.
Can I use the same Action Plan again if the same matter persists?
No, it will need to be redefined and alternative activities, responsibilities and time frames agreed.
Do all Action Plans need to be reviewed by the Team Leader once the owner has completed the action plan template?
Yes, a Team Leader should review all Action Plans for completeness before they are closed and archived. This can be completed in isolation or during the monthly 1-2-1.
Example of Action Plan
Subject of Action
Description of Action
An Action in Detail
Subject of Action
Description of Action – up to 300 character