When going through the strategic planning process, many firms have wasted their time and money, and no meaningful changes or solutions have resulted. A badly thought out or implemented action plan is one of the most frequent causes of planning failures. Sometimes, this tool—the main product of strategic planning—only makes general recommendations or sets high standards without outlining specific actions to reach them.
Additionally, initiatives could be unfeasible and created without input from the team or their support. The action plan is at the heart of a strategic plan. It should provide targeted tactical solutions supporting the organization’s overarching goals.
Certain strategic plans just provide very general advice devoid of specific actions. After the strategy is finished, the entrepreneur wants to know precisely what to do next. In today’s article, we will walk you through the process of how to write an action plan, and how to present one.
What is an action plan?
Before jumping into how to write an action plan, let us first see what an action plan is:
An action plan is a methodically organized approach that identifies the precise actions, assignments, and materials needed to achieve a goal. It is quite helpful for project management in general. Making an action plan is similar to planning a cross-country route.
The tactical blueprint delineates each action, choice, and diversion required to reach your final destination. It also divides the procedure into doable tasks according to a schedule. An effective action plan describes all steps required to achieve your goal and gives each step a start and end date.
What is the purpose of an action plan? Why is it important?
If you do not understand what is the purpose of an action plan, you can never figure out how to write an action plan effectively. So, here is a brief explanation of the main purpose of an action plan:
An action plan is a tactical instrument that delineates the precise actions, assignments, and objectives required to accomplish a certain goal. Its main purpose is to give individuals, groups, or organizations a clear path and guidance to successfully and economically achieve their objectives. Creating an action plan clarifies the project objectives, the teams and service providers involved, and the tasks, dependencies, milestones, and resources required to complete it.
Creating an action plan indeed takes time. But it’s worthwhile to invest time. An action plan’s overall goal is to turn vague objectives into specific actions that may be taken to increase their likelihood of success and measurement while guaranteeing that the resources and efforts are directed toward the intended results.
Action plans are important for simplifying monitoring progress and keeping on course by breaking complicated tasks into manageable, actionable components. Utilizing an action plan guarantees that all tasks and requirements are fulfilled to achieve the project’s expected standards. You can also find any important paths and dependencies in your strategic plan when you create an action plan.
Furthermore, action plans are important for encouraging team members to be accountable and coordinate their efforts. They guarantee everyone knows their tasks and the overall schedule by assigning responsibilities and deadlines for each job or milestone, reducing misunderstandings and improving teamwork.
Who needs an action plan?
Knowing who needs an action plan will further help you determine how to make an action plan. Let us see from whom making an action plan is vital:
Action plans are useful outside of strategic planning, even though they are frequently used in this context when organizations define three to five-year targets. Action plans are crucial for outlining how to carry out the strategic goals once they are established in a strategic plan. Teams can use this framework to keep an eye on and oversee specific tasks, ensuring that they align with the overall strategic goals.
An action plan is helpful for anyone looking for organization, focus, and strategic direction in their endeavors. Action plans are a common tool used by teams, project managers, and corporate executives in the workplace to delineate specific procedures, assign tasks, and guarantee the effective completion of projects or initiatives. Entrepreneurs and small business owners use action plans to direct the expansion and development of their companies.
Components of an Action Plan
In order to learn the process of creating an action plan, you need to know about its main components. An action plan is a comprehensive outline delineating the essential procedures to accomplish a certain objective. The standard elements of an action plan are:
1. Goal or objective
The aim or goal is the cornerstone of your action strategy. This should be a brief and unambiguous statement describing the intended outcome. A clearly stated goal gives the entire plan direction and purpose, ensuring that all activities and tasks are coordinated to achieve this one goal.
2. Assignments or activities
Listing the precise tasks or actions needed to accomplish the goal comes next after the aim has been established. These chores must be divided into comprehensive phases so that no crucial step is missed.
3. Establish a deadline
Establish a reasonable timeframe for each task or operation. This schedule guarantees that the plan remains on course and that the execution maintains momentum. It also makes it possible to track development and spot possible setbacks early.
4. Materials required to finish the project
Identifying and enumerating the resources required to finish the job is essential. This can include any asset, including money, people, technology, gear, and other resources. Early detection of these guarantees that a shortage of resources won’t hamper execution.
5. Selecting an accountable
Assign each task to an individual or a group. This classification guarantees transparency and accountability. People don’t overlap or become confused when they know their roles. And every task has a supervisor to ensure it gets done.
6. Potential obstacles or difficulties
Every plan will have obstacles. If you foresee them, you can better deal with potential barriers or impediments. This proactive strategy guarantees more efficient execution and less hasty problem-solving.
7. Key performance indicator (KPI) measurement
Decide a method for gauging the plan’s overall success for each job. KPIs are observable measurements that let you assess your progress and see if you’re getting nearer to your targets. They provide a measurable way to assess achievement.
Check out KPI (Key Performance Indicator) templates from SlideUpLift.
Types of Action Plans
Before learning how to make an action plan, knowing its various kinds is essential as it will help decide which occasion or setting requires what kind of action plan. Let’s examine a handful:
Business action plan: This tool is useful for setting goals while starting or growing a company.
Operational action plan: This short-term plan outlines the daily tasks to manage a project, event, or operation.
Tactical action plan: These are derived from strategic plans and provide a list of targeted, immediate tasks that will help achieve longer-term goals.
Emergency action plan: This is a readiness document designed to react quickly in emergencies or unforeseen circumstances.
Now that you have an idea about different action plans let us jump into the next section, which will cover how to create an action plan.
How to create an action plan?
Follow the steps below to learn how to create an action plan:
1. Clearly state your goals for your action plan
First on the list of how to create an action plan is clearly stating your goals for your action plan. Establishing precise goals for your execution is the first stage in writing an action plan. Therefore, setting a target is necessary to start a good plan.
Setting goals allows you to map out where you want to go and what you want to accomplish. But the most important thing to remember is to set quantifiable objectives! This is the perfect situation for SMART goals, if you’ve ever heard of them. The initials of the SMART acronym are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, And time-based.
Try SlideUpLift’s professionally designed SMART Goals templates here.
2. Compile, examine, and arrange data
Collect all the necessary information to define the plan’s actions. Next, compile a list of all the tasks required to fulfill the predetermined objective. Every task must be connected to another and given to an accountable party. Activities must be distributed to the entire team to ensure that work is assigned to the correct person.
3. Determine the necessary resources
Ensure you have all the necessary tools to finish the tasks on your action plan before you begin. And you must first devise a plan to obtain them if they are not currently available. As a result, creating a budget may be necessary to complete the tasks. One way to do this would be to designate a column in your action plan to indicate any associated costs.
4. Sort the list and assign jobs a higher priority
Another important point on this list of how to create an action plan is to learn how to smartly sort and assign high-priority tasks first. Reevaluating the list is necessary because, in most cases, the first creation was unmanageable. Because certain jobs are simpler to complete than others, try to break up large tasks into smaller ones wherever you can. This will help the person overseeing the plan and the action executors handle it more effectively.
5. Give your Action Plan due dates
Setting timeframes for each action determined in the previous stage is the next step. This phase is critical because, without deadlines, action plans have a higher chance of never materializing, which means the objective might never be accomplished. The worker can organize their tasks more effectively and set priorities based on urgency and importance with proper deadlines.
6. Define a visual illustration
This is the time to design the tools to ensure the plan’s success. Making the action plan’s visual aid a reality illustrates this well. This graphical perspective will keep your team engaged because it makes it easier for everyone to keep track of work progress. Where they are, where they should go, and what they must do to get there are all abundantly visible.
Just like for a manager or the person in charge of the action plan, you can rapidly determine what is going well, what is halted, what has been completed so far, and what still needs to be done using a graphical representation.
7. Keep an eye on, assess, and update
The last vital thing when learning how to create an action plan is to keep updating the plan as and when necessary. The process’s most crucial stage is this one. Defining the entire action plan, going through each step, and then forgetting about it is useless. One of the key components of any successful plan is monitoring, which should be specified. The person in charge of the strategy must always be available to offer assistance or serve as a reminder.
Following these seven tips above, you can quickly understand how to create an action plan that will wow your shareholders and colleagues!
How to implement an action plan?
Now that you know how to write an action plan. It is vital to understand how to implement one. Here is how you do it:
- Making Use of Management Software
- Employing Templates to Ensure Efficiency and Consistency
- Creating Dependencies and Real-Time Alerts
- Crossing Out Tasks Completed
- Take Prompt Action to Resolve and Discuss any Delays or Issues
1. Making Use of Management Software
Using management software, teams can set objectives, monitor progress, assign tasks, set deadlines, and collaborate in real time. Using tools like Factorial HR, you can support your team’s success.
2. Employing Templates to Ensure Efficiency and Consistency
Action plans have a common framework thanks to templates. Teams may ensure that all action plans follow a standard framework and are simpler to comprehend and carry out using templates. Because teams don’t have to start from scratch every time, pre-designed Google Slides or PowerPoint templates also save time.
Here are a few templates from SlideUpLift:
3. Creating Dependencies and Real-Time Alerts
Team members can stay on schedule by knowing when deadlines are via a real-time alert. Conversely, dependencies ensure that tasks are completed in the correct order. Team members will be reminded to complete task A before proceeding, for instance, if Task B depends on it.
4. Crossing Out Tasks Completed
You feel accomplished when you cross things off your list. It gives you a clear picture of your work and helps raise morale. To ensure that everyone is aware of the tasks that have been completed and those that remain, you should update your action plan regularly.
5. Take Prompt Action to Resolve and Discuss any Delays or Issues
Every project is likely to have difficulties at some point. Treating them as soon as possible is crucial. Speak with the team immediately if there is a delay or a problem. Collaborating to solve difficulties will help you stay on course despite setbacks and provide creative solutions.
How to present an action plan?
In all kinds of organizations, one of the regular tasks is to present an action plan, and knowing how to present an action plan to an audience is vital. Every initiative needs to be approved by someone to be funded and for the team’s efforts to be accepted. For individuals to comprehend the action plan’s parameters, their role, and whether any of the scheduled tasks will impact them directly, they must also be informed about it.
The actions necessary to write an action plan (as previously mentioned) and the actions necessary to present the plan are different. Primarily due to the disparate goals. One type of planning is the process of creating an action plan. This instance illustrates how goals can be accomplished by action.
Presenting an action plan, however, is a communication activity. The presenter or presenters must articulate the action plan’s goals, enumerate the high-level tasks involved, and specify which facts were considered throughout the planning phase. The choices taken to arrive at the strategy are equally significant since they clarify its logic.
Action plan examples
Here are some action plan examples for you:
1. Business action plan example
A company action plan is a carefully crafted strategy roadmap designed to achieve larger business goals. By developing a strong action plan, businesses can align their strategy, workforce, and resources with their overarching goals. Identifying and aligning actions that align with the company’s overall strategy, growth objectives, and goals for operational improvements are crucial to this plan. However, this may require many specific steps depending on unique business goals.
2. Company action plan example
Focusing on product creation and procurement is equally important to ensure that the offers meet market demands and are unique in quality and relevance. In addition, competent legal and financial management protects the business’s assets by guaranteeing legal observance and responsible financial management.
Furthermore, the core of any effective corporate action plan is its approach to sales and marketing. These specify the positioning and marketing strategies for the goods or services in the marketplace, guaranteeing their exposure and interaction with the intended market.
3. Example of a sales action plan
Systematic and effective progress is based on a well-organized sales action plan. The most efficient sales channels—direct, online, or via third parties—must be identified and used as they form the foundation of this strategy. Tailored and impactful sales pitches are facilitated by clearly understanding the products and services offered and their unique selling propositions. Timelines, or suggested deadlines, provide the procedure with a sense of urgency and guarantee that the sales drive’s momentum is kept up.
However, the action plan’s key performance indicators (KPIs) are the real gauge of its effectiveness. These measurements—lead conversion or customer retention rates—act as concrete benchmarks, emphasizing the plan’s advantages and pointing out any areas needing adjustment to boost revenue.
Action plan vs. plan B vs. project plan vs. to-do list
Action Plan vs. Plan B: In strategic planning, action plans and Plan Bs have exclusive features. An action plan clarifies the necessary measures to accomplish a positive purpose by methodically outlining each section.
Alternatively, a Plan B serves as a backup plan that can be implemented if the number one plan runs into difficulties or fails. Whereas an action plan concentrates on taking proactive measures, a Plan B is a reactive backup plan that ensures you are equipped for unexpected boundaries.
Action Plan vs. Project Plan: To ensure efficient project management, it is vital to distinguish between action plans and undertaking plans. An action plan is an intensive road map outlining unique duties and moves needed to achieve a predetermined goal.
A project plan, alternatively, is extra specific and acts as a manual for the entire undertaking. It includes records on objectives, success metrics, stakeholders, scope, finances, time frame, milestones, and conversation strategies. An action plan is used to specify appropriate movements and tasks vital to completing a challenge after a project plan has been organized.
Check out Project Planning templates from SlideUpLift here.
Action Plan vs. To-Do List: Although project management is a component of both, action plans and to-do lists are unique in structure and scope. An action plan is a based record that outlines certain actions and duties that achieve a shared objective while being taken as a whole.
On the other hand, a to-do list is a more casual and dynamic list of individual chores that might not always be related to a common goal. To-do lists are more flexible and frequently subject to adjustments based on daily priorities, whereas action plans offer a purposeful and organized method that guarantees activities are interconnected.
Check out To-Do List templates from SlideUpLift here.
|Achieving a specific goal
|Alternative strategy for failure
|Blueprint for project success
|Managing daily tasks
|Detailed steps and responsibilities
|Comprehensive and detailed
|Specific goal or objective
|Contingency for plan failure
|Entire project scope
|Daily or short-term tasks
|Action steps, responsibilities, timeline
|Goals, objectives, metrics, milestones
|List of tasks
|Can be adjusted based on progress
|Adaptation to unforeseen issues
|May be adjusted based on progress
|Subject to change
|Relationship to Others
|Can be part of a larger project
|Reactive to plan failure
|Encompasses the entire project
|May contribute to larger goals
|Short to medium-term
|Activated when needed
|Entire project duration
|Short-term, may change daily
Action Plan Templates from SlideUpLift
Here are some top action plan templates from SlideUpLift that you must use:
Next Steps Action Plan Presentation Template:
The “Next Steps Action Plan Presentation Template” is a flexible and well-organized tool to help organizations effectively communicate action plans. This template offers a thorough structure for outlining the procedures required to accomplish particular goals. Its simple layout includes four crucial rows labeled Solutions, Actions, Deadlines, and Status.
The three movable columns let you customize headers to fit your business’ goals. This visually appealing and easily navigable presentation template is perfect for concisely communicating strategic action plans to ensure accountability, clarity, and progress tracking in pursuing organizational objectives.
Appraisal Feedback Action Plan PowerPoint Template:
This PowerPoint template is an organized and feature-rich tool for gathering and evaluating performance feedback. The five columns of the template provide for a more nuanced assessment, with choices for “Strongly Disagree,” “Agree,” “Disagree,” and “Not Applicable.”
The two main points of emphasis are “Quality of Work” and “Communication.” These pointers are editable and can be customized according to the company. A thorough evaluation of a worker’s performance is made possible by the subheadings under “Quality of Work,” such as “Sets high standards for quality work outputs.”
3-Year Action Plan PowerPoint Template:
The “3 Years Action Plan PowerPoint Template” is a tactical tool intended to provide an organized method for accomplishing long-term objectives. The template gives a clear structure for multi-year planning with three primary row headers for “Defining Roles,” “Develop Action Plan,” and “Ensure Timelines,” as well as three columns for each year.
A specific space is allotted for each year under each heading, which enables a thorough explanation of the duties, obligations, and deadlines. This aesthetically pleasing presentation template offers a methodical summary of role descriptions, action plans, and schedule management for the three years, making thorough planning and execution easier. Organizations looking to match their goals over time with a systematic, phased strategy will find it to be an important resource.
Action Plan Deck PowerPoint Template:
The “Action Plan Deck PowerPoint Template” is an adaptable and dynamic tool to enhance business performance. The template focuses on distribution, productivity, and production as areas that require development. It was created with adaptability in mind, making it simple to modify to suit various corporate requirements.
There are columns in the template labeled “Proposed Solutions,” “Action Items,” “Deadline,” and “Status.” This structure guarantees that performance issues are handled in an orderly manner. This easy-to-use PowerPoint template is perfect for delivering an extensive action plan for corporate performance, promoting efficient communication, and producing measurable outcomes.
3-Year Action Plan PowerPoint Template (Option 2):
The “3-Year Action Plan PowerPoint Template” aims to help with long-term planning for a maximum of three years. This template offers an organized structure for defining responsibilities, creating action plans, and guaranteeing deadlines within the given time range. Users can specify roles and duties, action plans, and deadlines for each year in its aesthetically pleasing and well-organized layout.
A thorough three-year action plan can be presented and communicated easily thanks to the user-friendly design, which also serves as a road map for accomplishing organizational objectives. Businesses looking for a concise and eye-catching method to explain and carry out their strategic initiatives over time will find great value in this template.
Tips on how to write an action plan that’s effective
Now that you know how to create an action plan, here are some tips that are useful for making your action plan more effective:
- Collaborate with experts and team members to enhance project insights, fostering team development and effective communication.
- Develop a comprehensive schedule to ensure the timely completion of tasks and milestones, which is crucial for project success.
- Emphasize clear communication to establish a solid strategy, allowing seamless information flow across project sectors.
- Mark tasks as completed to track progress, boost team morale, and maintain motivation for project completion.
- Streamline planning by creating a template action plan, saving time and effort for various projects with similar goals.
- Utilize project management tools like Monday.com, ClickUp, or Wrike to create action plans efficiently and monitor team performance and project status.
An action plan is a strategic roadmap that connects goals and realities. It is more than just a list of tasks to be completed. This extensive blog has walked you through the goal, the best times to accomplish things, the essential elements, and real-world examples of action plans in various domains. Following the tips in this article, you can quickly learn how to write an action plan.
However, just reading the tips and setting goals is not enough; each stage must be carefully planned so that the final products meet the project’s overall objectives. Recall that achieving success involves more than simply setting goals; it also entails choosing the best path to get there. SlideUpLift offers one of the best action plan templates for you to choose from to help you make effective action plans with ease, so check it out.
What is an action plan?
An action plan is a detailed roadmap outlining specific steps and tasks to achieve a particular goal.
How to write an action plan?
To answer your question on how to write an action plan, here are a few brief pointers:
You create an action plan by defining clear objectives,
1. Outlining important tasks,
2. Assigning responsibilities to particular individuals,
3. Setting clear timelines, and
4. Regularly reviewing the progress.
Where to find the best action plan templates?
You can find the best Action Plan templates on SlideUpLift. We offer both free and paid action plan templates with pre-made elements to help ease your job. Starting from work action plan templates to goal action plan templates we have everything you need catering to various domains.
How to write an action plan using SlideUpLift's templates?
Here is how to write an action plan using SlideUpLift’s templates: You can use SlideUpLift’s user-friendly templates to create an action plan by selecting a suitable design, customizing it with specific goals and tasks, and incorporating visual elements for clarity. All this can be done by going to our website, registering yourself, and downloading the template you like!
How to present an action plan?
Here is how to present an action plan effectively: Start by providing context, outlining key tasks, and sharing timelines. Don’t forget to address potential challenges and seek feedback for improvement.