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Emma Falkner

ECF Training and Action Learning UK

Director of ECF Training and Action Learning UK

Read more from Emma Falkner

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7 Top Tips for getting people to stick to action plans


 Isn’t it great when members of your team list their actions and deadlines for the next 2 weeks?  Why then 2 weeks later do the same actions reappear on a new list?!

Understandably managers often ask themselves - how can I get people to complete the actions on their plan?

Seven Tips for getting the most out of action planning:

1. Look at yourself first.

Are you a good role model? Do you complete your own action plans? If not, the people you manage will think it a bit rich if you advocate the benefits of sticking to their actions when they see you deviating away from yours.

2. Keep actions relevant

An Action Plan is a list of tasks that you need to do to complete a simple project or objective.

Therefore, check that the objective or project is relevant to the individual’s role and responsibility.

3. Model how to draw up an action plan

Go through the process with your team. Use your action plan as an example. Then the team knows what is expected.

4. Keep it simple

Get your team to simply list the tasks that they need to complete to deliver a project or objective, in the order that they need to complete them.

Make sure that the actions are achievable in the time available. Begin with a weekly action plan, which is realistic, feasible to the individual and orientated to success.

5. Use an Action Learning set

In action learning sets taking action is part of a group contract. Justifying no action to a group of colleagues is more difficult than justifying to your self or to one other

When a group of people bear witness to your action planning then it is very likely that actions will occur.

6. Use a non-directive approach

People are more likely to stick to the action plan that they create. You can help your people put together an action plan that works for them and if possible which interest and inspires them. They are less likely to complete actions created by someone else.

7. Make sure people are rewarded

Reward and acknowledge your team members when they complete projects and outcomes in their action plans.

4 Responses

  1. What about if actions are still not delivered?

    Thanks Emma, great post, really good advice.

    The only thing I’d like to add is the negative bit: what happens when people still don’t reliably deliver on their actions.

    I guess this is just the flipside of point 7, when people deliver we acknowledge and reward, but equally when people don’t deliver we need to act also, we cannot just wave it through with a "never mind, next week" type response. As managers we should demand an explanation and, if appropriate, offer negative feedback.


  2. What if they’re not in flow?
    Hi Emma, another reason a team member may not be completing actions is that those actions take them out of their flow.

    What I mean by flow is that they are doing work that suits their natural strengths that adds real value and can be leveraged effectively within the team.

    In using Talent Dynamics we’ve seen time and time again how tweaks in accountabilities suddenly – within days! – have staff doing things that were never done in the past because the wrong person was responsible.

  3. If actions still remain uncompleted..?

    Hi John

    Thank you for your comments. Yes, absolutely, there has to be a point or deadline, by which if actions are still not completed then managers may need to employ other more disciplinary or investigative tactics.

    Emma Falkner

  4. Flow

    Hi Una

    Talent dynamics – sounds great! Anything like this which increases our ability to pinpoint our strengths and get people doing what they find most rewarding is going to be an asset to managers.   — Emma Falkner

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Emma Falkner

Director of ECF Training and Action Learning UK

Read more from Emma Falkner

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