The Leader's A.C.T.I.O.N. Plan
Enjoy this free tool on taking massing action. You can use it for yourself or to develop others and you access it here
A.C.T.I.O.N. is an acronym for accomplishing a goal, task or initiative in your life. Creating an A.C.T.I.O.N. Plan that involves a step-by-step strategy that enables an individual or organization to accomplish his/her purpose and vision is not only realistic, but also attainable.
A – ACTION-FOCUSED
When working towards something in your life, it is important to ensure you are able to take immediate action. These are the specific behaviours and actions a person takes on a daily or weekly basis. The more specific the better.
C – CLEAR
Every action or goal you want to accomplish must be clear and concise. Often when leaders set their action plans, they are too vague and offer no evidence of a measurable outcome. For instance, they may make statements like, “I think I am going to go on a vacation”, or “I am going to lose some weight”, or “I am going to change careers.” These statements are generic and cannot be measured. Where are you going on vacation? How many pounds are you going to lose? What new career do you want to explore? Without clear measureable targets, a person can become a walking generality. Remember to state a clear target when creating an action plan.
T – TIME SPECIFIC
Every action plan must have a timeline attached to it. Creating a timeline keeps you focused and on course. This is absolutely critical to accomplishing your action plan. Have you ever talking with someone who repeatedly tells you that they are going to do something? Months pass and their still talking about it and have done nothing to accomplish it. This is because they have no sense of urgency. They have not made the decision that they are going to do it. Indecision is one of the most dangerous places to live. When a person lives with indecision, they are constantly second guessing themselves and live in a state of chaos and confusion. Make a decision. If it is the wrong decision, then accept it, learn from it and move on. You will be better for it in the long wrong. Remember, failure is not negative, it only provides feedback. This feedback is designed to move you forward. So learn and move on.
I – INCENTIVE DRIVEN
This is one of the areas in which many people do not focus. I find this the most rewarding part of creating an action plan. You must create an incentive for your action plan. What does the end result look like? This is your incentive for setting the goal. We tend to focus on the negative aspects what’s not going well. This produces a fixed mindset rather than a growth mindset. Focus on the incentives of your action plans, your conversations, your environments, and you see what a difference it makes in your life. Celebrate short term wins. We do not celebrate enough in our homes, our work environments, our organizations, and in our communities. Set up benchmarks so when you reach a benchmark, you can celebrate. Celebrating short term wins does wonders for motivation, commitment, and perseverance.
O – OBSTACLE CONQUERING
Every action plan you establish will meet obstacles. Expect this to happen. The key is to brainstorm a list of obstacles or setbacks that you may encounter. You may find it helpful to seek out individuals who have set similar goals to what you are trying to accomplish and ask them about their obstacles or setbacks. If I am traveling to Italy for the first time, I am going to talk to people who have gone before me. I am going to ask what obstacles they had encountered and what they did to overcome the obstacles. This way, when and if you encounter an obstacle, you will already have clarity and focus on what to do. Keep in mind, not every obstacle is predictable, but often you can brainstorm many possible solutions.
N – NETWORK SUPPORTED
The key to completing any action plan in your life is to surround yourself with support. Often, when people set action plans, they are bombarded with negativity. These are negative forces that stem from external forces, such as a negative friend or colleague, family member, spouse, or demands that come from work. It is imperative to establish a network of people in your life who will support you in each and every positive action that you want to take. Every action plan you set for yourself or in your organization must have an element of accountability attached to it. When you inform the people you trust of the goals you want to achieve, you do not want to disappoint them. Like many other individuals, you may feel you need to accomplish your goals on your own, but the team is more powerful than any individual when accomplishing a goal. You may be accomplishing the goal, but your team is supporting you in your endeavor.
Focused intensity over time leads to unstoppable momentum. When a person or team of individuals take the time to write out their A.C.T.I.O.N. Plan, immediately clarity and direction are evident. As with everything, the more you use a system like this, the easier it becomes. This is a positive habit that once mastered, will be a practice that leads to unlimited possibilities.