Aligning action plans with desired results requires us to have the right action plans in place. This involves a review of results to date, looking at trend lines (quantitative data) and validating current data through continued dialogue with all stakeholders (qualitative data). It also requires having accountability processes in place to identify priorities at least every 90 days, identifying who is responsible for creating and executing those actions to impact the outcomes, and monthly follow-up to assure compliance and movement in the right direction.
If your action plans are not getting the desired results, here are some tips to help:
- Once a month, hold a "results meeting" with your senior team. This meeting should be used to review current results across all pillars. Be sure to note trends, correlations and related action plans. Ensure action plans are specific (including who, what, and timing for completion) and encourage group discussion about how to approach areas of opportunity.
- Rotate review of leader specific action plans at leadership meetings. Once a month, spotlight one-to-three leaders (depending on size of leadership team) to openly review their current results, 90 day action plans and areas of greatest success and opportunity. This approach increases transparency and accountability, at the same time using the collective minds of the leadership team to assess effective tactics. The rotation can be adjusted if there is a need to address an immediate challenge. If the meeting room has internet connection, project the organization's accountability tool on the screen to enhance the presentation and discussion.
- Look at trend lines over several reporting periods to determine actions. The goal is consistency and the ability to maintain gains over time; so be sure to look at trends versus "last number achieved". If the trend lines show variance, related tactics may not be hardwired. Work to validate and then retrain if necessary.
- Use qualitative and quantitative data to inform direction and action plans. Instead of just focusing on the numbers and data, also be sure to listen and observe direct feedback. Utilize rounding, focus groups, real time audits and employee forums for additional information.
- Share results across the organization. If possible, place results in a discrete reporting format that offers results by specific area or even specific provider. This increases accountability for the outcomes. To take it a step further, make results transparent and place them in a "stoplight report" - a performance grid utilizing color coded results- red (stop), yellow (in process), and green (completed).
- Don't forget to connect results to the "why". Leaders must be able to draw the line from each employee's job to how we achieve strategic results. This is a great exercise for leadership meetings and is a skill that should be practiced.
Take the time this month to recheck your current action plans. Do you have alignment with your results?