Action Plan

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This post discusses how to develop a workable action plan to implement strategic goals. Strictly speaking this is not strategic planning but it’s vital to ensure the time spent on the strategic plan isn’t wasted – the odds that it will be implemented without an action plan are small.

The first thing you need is the right people around the table. Senior people who will ‘own’ the work, including deliverables and timelines, should develop the action plan.

Next, you need a tool that works for your team, will develop the plan and monitor ongoing progress. A version of the tool below can be used to facilitate a session.


Strategy statement #1
Deliverable 1
Deliverable 2
And so on….


Deliverables are things that must happen this year to move this strategy forward. From the strategic plan you know where you want to be in three years – now ask the question “Where do we need to be at the end of year one and what do we need to do to get there?” The deliverables should be specific.

The ‘who’ is not necessarily who will do the work but who will make sure the work gets done.

‘When’ is the end date (some things may be ongoing). Be realistic but disciplined on dates.

The ‘indicator’ is how you will know the work is done. It may be a report, it may be signoff by the executive director, it may be an increase in clients, etc.

The ‘resources required’ column is to capture resources not available normally – those things that are dependent on new funds or outside resources.

The last column is to capture and monitor the current status of deliverables throughout the year.

One of the tricks is to pitch this at the right level. “Save the world” is a meaningless deliverable, so is “go for coffee every Tuesday at 10am”. You need to capture the key deliverables that are critical to moving forward. Sometimes the deliverable may be, for example, “execute the fundraising plan”, because all of the detail is in a separate plan and should not be repeated here.

For any organization, the action plan shouldn’t be more than four or five pages – if it is, you’ve likely got detail that will bog you down instead of helping monitor progress.

When you have a draft, ask yourselves – “will it get us where we need to be?”; “is it doable?” and “does it include all of the work we need to do this year?”

The team should update the status at least once a month prior to a team meeting – then time can be spent time discussing only those items where there are issues or roadblocks.

This is the last step in strategic planning.   The next post will think about some key lessons learned about strategic planning.

If you have any questions or want to learn more about how MAS can help, click here .

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