Friday, January 14, 2011

Sabotage Your Action Plan!

"Once again, we've sabotaged our Action Plan..."

Ah, you’re on the verge of making things happen! Your strategic or marketing or membership plan is done: you have identified a great new service to launch or maybe a website rollout or perhaps a major improvement in customer service. Of course, it’s going to happen because, “we have an action plan!” And like all good action plans, it identifies:
  • The critical tasks to be done.
  • Who is responsible for each of those tasks.
  • Milestones for each task.
Yup, you’re raring to go. You’re going to do great things…or are you? 

Day- to-day reality is the enemy of action plans

Three months have passed and guess what, you haven’t made much progress. The reason is obvious: the day-to-day distractions of association life, plus the not-so-unexpected arrival of an "unexpected "crisis, have waylaid your action plan.

Admit it, this sounds very familiar.  Kind of disheartening, eh? 

Strengthen your action plan by sabotaging it

How can you avoid this? Add another step, after you’ve completed your action plan: sabotage it!

The next time you and staff gather to create your action plan, finish the process by stepping back, looking at the plan and asking: “How can we sabotage the plan?”  When you think about it, the answers are likely to be simple, and even mundane:
  • “I’ll let the day-to-day tasks overwhelm me so I lose sight of the key milestones…” 
  • “I’ll just assume the Board or staff fully understand and support what we’re trying to do…”  
  • “Of course we can squeeze this in a month before the Annual Meeting…”
Anticipation, of course, is the point of this exercise; it’s the day-to-day distractions, not major catastrophes or evil villains, that are most likely to sabotage your action plan.

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