Bruce D. Wyman Company

Since 1988

Providing Strategic Business Planning Services to small businesses and associations, both for- and non-profit, to help them leverage their use of their scarce resources: time, funds, and effort.

"If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there." *

What is in an Action Plan?

In my work with clients, I consider the development of Action Plans for each Strategy of each Goal (a Goal can have multiple Strategies working in concert with each other toward its achievement) a necessary step of developing a strategic plan. A complete Action Plan identifies, for a specific Strategy, all the steps (taken by anybody) that are necessary to accomplish the Strategy. Part of those steps might well deal with implementing new processes and procedures, while others might deal with the phasing out/modification of existing processes and tools.

I have found that, unless a single individual BY NAME has the responsibility for seeing through the accomplishment (by self or others or a mixture) of a specific step, then NOBODY is responsible either for the step or the failure of implementation. The person responsible doesn't have to do it all to accomplish the step, but they do need to see to it that the necessary steps are accomplished by whomever should be a "player". The person responsible for the individual step, should then develop their own more detailed plan of action and responsibilities to work their action in detail.

A frequent problem is that some people who should be "players" in implementing a specific portion of an Action Plan "don't want to play." One frequently useful approach to this problem is to proffer that individuals/organizations can "opt out" of being "players" in the accomplishment, but in doing so, they forfeit their rights to later protest the structure/content/details of the Action Plan. In other words, others will be making the decisions about matters within the baliwick of the "opt out." Faced with that option (necessarily apparently fully supported and enforcable by the management hierarchy), many will become reluctant players in order to protect their own interests. But at least they have become players back in the process.

Once all the necessary steps for a Strategy's implementation are identified, then those steps have to be properly grouped and sequenced for most effective accomplishment. A draft timeline and estimated resources required for each step should be documented. This forms the basis for budgeting resources (funds/people/hardware/software/etc.) necessary to accomplish the steps and Strategy. The realities of the budgeting process constrain the resources that can be made available, and therefore cause the timelines to be readjusted. But the necessary and sufficient steps are already there and in the proper sequence .. it is just a matter of when they can be accomplished with the available constrained resources.

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