Change Implementation Techniques for Forming Transitional Team, Creating Alignment, Maximizing Connectedness and Creativity

Technique 9.3 Action Plan

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Introduction

Remember that wanting change and making it happen are 2 different things. Developing an action plan is an important step in making it happen.

Action planning is based on 5 conditions

i) willingness and ability to listen to the needs of stakeholders, including customers and staff

ii) adults learn best through modelling and imitation, ie listen to people and they will learn to listen; support people and they will learn to be supportive

iii) empowering staff to make decisions and to take actions builds a more effective organisation than a more autocratic, top-down approach

iv) problems facing stakeholders are often more complex than they first appear

v) generally improvement results from a series of small decisions and actions sequenced over time, rather than grand slogans about better values or new ways of doing things

Developing action plans

The output from all the tools explored needs to end up as action plans in order to affect change. This involves deciding what has to be done, how it will be done, who will do it and when it will be completed. Then the action plan and its progress needs to be regularly monitored, otherwise there is a strong chance that little change will happen.

When compiling the action plan, it is a good idea to prioritise items on degree of urgency and impact. Those items most urgent and having the highest impact should have priority.

Remember: knowledge is useless until it is translated into deeds. Thus staff need to plan, which involves thinking about desired results, problem restraints, future revisions, check-in points and ramifications. This involves answering the following questions:

- What contributions should the organisation expect from me over the next 18 months to 2 years?

- What results will I commit to?

- With what deadlines?

- Is this course of action ethical?

- Is it acceptable within the organisation?

- Is it legal?

- Is it compatible with the mission, values and policies of the organisation?

Remember: affirmative answers don't guarantee that the action will be effective. But violating these restraints is certain to make it both wrong and ineffective. Furthermore, the action plan is flexible. It is a commitment that can be revised as required, ie as new opportunities arise. Additionally it allows for checking results against expectations. Usually there are a minimal of 2 checks: halfway through the process and at the end of the period. On the other hand, more frequent checks are preferable.

Link the action plan with the executive's time management schedule

For each activity in the action plan, include

- the name of the person accountable for carrying it out

- the deadline

- the names of people who will be affected by the decision and therefore have to know about, understand, and approve it - or at least not be strongly opposed to it

- the names of the people who have to be informed of the decision, even if they are not directly affected by it

- how often to review the action plan

It is important that all the above steps are followed. Furthermore, decisions need to be reviewed regularly and systematically so that if a decision needs to be changed, it can be. These reviews can cover anything from results to the assumptions underlying the decision. For example, studies on hiring or promoting decisions have shown that only 1/3 are likely to be successful. Allocating the best people to the right positions is crucial. If the wrong decision has been made, it needs to be rectified.

Decision-making should be delegated to the most appropriate level of the organisation. This is most important in knowledge-based organisations.

Remember: organisations are held together by information rather than by ownership or command. Each executive needs to identify the information he/she needs, ask for it and keep requesting it until it arrives

For each action plan there needs to be a champion. He/she needs to hold a senior position and/or have the active support of the most senior manager. His/her role is to ensure that the action plan happens, ie staff perform the agreed tasks, meet deadlines, etc

Tables

· · The first table involves deciding what has to be done, how it will be done, who will do it, when it will be completed, where to be done and the order of priority.

 

What
Why
How
Who
When Where
Prioritise
             
             
             
             
             

Notes

i) In the action plan, "who" refers to the person responsible but he/she can delegate tasks to others if appropriate.

ii) These can be graded into High (H), medium (M) and Low (L), or from 1 (top priority) downwards, etc

An alternative table involves modification of the previuos table

Objective: (a brief description of what you want to achieve, etc)

Obstacle 1: (what is standing in the way of achieving your objective)

Action/person responsible: (What are the steps in overcoming obstacle 1 & who to take action)

Needed support: (to complete this action step, I/we need...)

 

1.

1.

 

2.

2.

 

3.

3.

Obstacle 2: (what is standing in the way of achieving your objective)

Action/person responsible: (What are the steps in overcoming obstacle 1 & who to take action)

Needed support: (to complete this action step, I/we need)

 

1.

1.

 

2.

2.

 

3.

3.

Obstacle 1: (what is standing in the way of achieving your objective)

Action/person responsible: (What are the steps in overcoming obstacle 1 & who to take action)

Needed support: (to complete this action step, I/we need)

 

1.

1.

 

2.

2.

 

3.

3.

Evaluation:*i

   

Notes:i) Identify the measure(s) that will be used to determine that our objective(s) has been achieved

(sources: Peter Drucker, 2004; Edgar Schein, 2004; John French, 1995; David Pitonyak, 2005)

 

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