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In His Own Words Tips for successful action planning

  • Published Thursday, August 8, 2013, at 6:40 a.m.

“Never confuse movement with action.” – Ernest Hemingway

Have you ever experienced moving through your day and by the end feel that you have not completed the important things, or anything meaningful?

You are moving. You are keeping your head above water, and you see the finish line in the distance. Yet, every time you start kicking in that direction, it’s as if the current of the day is working against you.

Movement can easily give the illusion that something is happening, or at least is going to happen.

You may have found yourself attending meetings where there was lots of good discussion, great ideas and creative, resourceful problem-solving conversations. It seemed like progress at the time. Maybe there was even a decision and even an action step or two.

However, the next time your group convenes, reality sinks in. It quickly becomes obvious that nothing was decided, at least in the minds of some of the participants, as you rehash previous conversations. And if there were action steps, who was supposed to do them? And by when? The collective “we” never completes anything.

One of our services is to help individuals and teams learn how to move through a process of being honest about what they want to change and demonstrating group support toward agreed-on goals in resourceful ways. This process does not happen without persistence, to hold yourself, and your team, accountable to make the decisions and to create action steps.

If you suspect that your team is experiencing the illusion of movement by not making decisions, or taking action, here are some helpful tips for accountable action planning:

• Be clear about the desired action.

• Name the person(s) responsible.

• Set a target date for completion.

• Others can share resources they are willing to offer.

• Person responsible requests support they might want.

• Everyone is open to additional resources that may be available.

Implementing this process into your meetings is a great way to create productive movement toward your goals.

Nate Regier, Ph.D., is a founding owner of Next Element Consulting, a leadership development and communication training firm in Newton. Reach Regier at www.next-element.com.

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