The Quarterly Action Plan

In this issue I would like to introduce you to an incredibly simple goal achievement tool that has had great success at all levels in organisations I work with.

In my advisory and consulting work I often come across teams (from first line managers to board directors) who have agreed common goals but who do not have a common approach to goal achievement. This means that all the team players are following their own route, in their own way setting their own objectives and there is no common purpose or common focus to the process.
Surprise surprise, some team players achieve the goal whilst others miss it by a mile. These teams have sadly become dysfunctional and ineffective.

Some of the teams are performing similar tasks e.g., clinicians, whilst the senior management team is made up of different disciplines, financial, operations, procurement, HR etc.

Bringing teams at all levels into effective working units to achieve key strategies and goals is a prime feature in my work. To speed up the need to achieve progress I created this tool which is called The Quarterly Action Plan.

Here it is:
The Quarterly Action Plan

The way this works is as follows:

  1. Team leader receives an action request from above e.g. strategy implementation, design a new process, improve performance levels etc.etc.
  2. They bring their team together and task them in say a 30-40 minute working session to agree the top 4 common objectives to achieve this goal.
  3. Having agreed the objectives the team now agree what tasks will be necessary for each objective in a further 30-40 minute session.
  4. Individual team members are then asked (working on their own) to define two objectives and tasks that relate to their specific area of work for a further 20 -30 minutes.
  5. Each team member then presents the objectives and tasks as they see them.
  6. The team then commits to the Action Plan and sets time for monthly reviews and updates.
  7. Team members now have a cohesive Action Plan with common objectives and tasks plus two goals that are specific to them.

Throughout the Quarter team meetings should include progress reports from each member so that the common areas are constantly in people’s minds.

Meetings on a 1 to 1 basis should also focus on that person’s progress.

Outcomes should be entered with date.

The method can be cascaded down to sub teams broadening the common purpose across different levels.

Notes will be added individually at Quarter end.

At the end of the quarter the team would meet to discuss the outcomes and set new objectives for the next quarter. Sometimes these objectives would be new ones and sometimes an objective needs to be carried over to the next quarter because more work needs to be done.

The exercise can also be run on a monthly basis as the Monthly Action Plan

The document is a simple MS Word file.

Just to summarise why this tool can be beneficial to you:

  • Helps to focus teams on collectively achieving goals via common objectives and tasks.
  • Highlights non performing team members who are challenged to achieve common goals.
  • Simple to use.
  • Can be cascaded down an organisation.

Also from our experiences seeing teams performing more effectively gives the team and you a great feeling!

If you have any opinions or views please contact me.