Without proper planning, any action you may take could be a waste of time. Planning helps to put you on the right path to where you want to go and with the New Year here, it’s a great opportunity to spell out the best way to turn your plans into reality so here are 9 Steps to Develop a Plan for Action.
1- Express your solution as a series of goals
Ideally, when you commit to goals they are to solve a challenge or issue in your business or life. Having agreed on a solution to a particular problem, you first need to define that solution in terms of number of goals and objectives. For example, each goal could be expressed as follows: "For us to ....., we would need to ....." Record each goal at the top of a whiteboard or sheet of paper.
2- Generate a list of Actions for each goal
Use brainstorming to compile a list of actions to achieve a particular goal and record these below the goal. Arrange this list of suggested actions in sequential order.
3- Prepare a timeline
Beginning with a time point labeled "now" and ending with a point labeled "goal achieved", build a timeline on which you allocate dates by which you intend to complete each of the sequential actions listed under a particular goal. It is important that you get both sequence and timing right if you are to reach "goal achieved" effectively.
4- Allocate resources
Financial, physical and human resources must be allocated to each step toward achieving your goal. If resources are limited, or fall short of requirements at any stage, it may be necessary to return to an earlier step and revise the action plan.
5- Identify possible problems
Consider all of the things that could go wrong in the process of achieving a particular goal. List these problems and identify causes and suitable actions to resolve them. If necessary, these actions might need to be added to appropriate slots in the timeline
6- Develop strategies for monitoring progress
List ways in which progress of the action plan can be monitored. These monitoring stages should also be included on the timeline.
7- Assign tasks
Take each point on the timeline and ask : "Who will do what, by the date set, to bring about the specified action?” Allocate these tasks to appropriate individuals or teams.
8- Estimate costs
Give consideration to any expenditure required to complete the task. All costs will have to be taken into account when preparing a budget. If funds are not available, tasks will have to be reviewed and, where necessary, revised or eliminated.
9- Implement the plan
Translate all your information to a clean copy, listing the actions required, the person responsible for a particular task, and when that task is to be completed. Having now finalized the plan for action in specific terms, this information can now be made available to all involved.
With these steps, planning is made simpler and more efficient, so take them and run…all the way into the best year you’ve ever had in 2014.