Action Process

This Profile defines twelve steps that make up a full action plan.

A minor action plan may omit some of these steps, but as plans become more complex and detailed, so it becomes more necessary to include all twelve steps. Steps should be dropped off only when the consequences of doing so are fully understood. This profile assesses where people are strong or need to develop.

Preference Factors assessed by this Profile are:

Factor Name Description A Low Preference
A High Preference
“Needs” refers to the process of comparing existing and preferred conditions to identify what needs to be changed. Through this process, needs are collated until the critical issues are defined. Respondent may be unclear about what to do, may not form any intention at all or forms one that is not relevant to what should to be done. Considers what can and should be done under the conditions. From this, forms a clear intention, conveys ideas and general aim to others where that is desirable.
Defines the process of moving from a selected critical issue,
through forming an intention of what to do about it, to defining a specific objective. An objective must be a single, indivisible and unmistakable statement of what will have been achieved when the plan has been completed successfully. This is the difference between ‘will do something’ and ‘have done that’.
Objectives lack clarity of meaning of purpose. Confuses others as to what is to be achieved. Prepares one indivisible statement that describes the objective in simple, specific and concrete terms with no ambiguity or confusion of purpose.
Parameters define two areas of control: first, the standards by which performance and results will be measured; and, second, any limits or constraints imposed to control what may or may not be done, or may or may not happen as the plan unfolds. Standards must be within the control of the person accountable for success, realistic and achievable. Limits set boundaries for action to prevent overlap of activity and crossed purposes. Constraints establish conditions that must be met or accepted as they are. Initially has no clear parameters to gauge performance, may introduce these as plan progresses. Without clear measures, any result conforms to plan. Sets measurable performance standards controlled by those responsible for outcomes. Standards relate directly to the objective to control its achievement.
The time limit for overall completion of the action plan. The deadline may change as actual events show how the plan is progressing toward completion but, where two or more plans are coordinated, we need to understand the implications of changing this timing. Open-ended about completing the plan, with no firm commitment to finishing. Establishes firm time/date for achieving overall objectives, takes action to meet it. Builds in some flexibility to allow for factors outside own control.
This factor demonstrates accountability for effective and efficient completion of the whole plan. The person who devises the plan usually has overall accountability, as they delegate authority and responsibility to others to perform their parts. Either leaves accountability for the plan’s success unstated, or keeps control personal of required resources. This respondent defines who has ultimate accountability for the plan’s success, allocates resources needed to carry out required actions.
Action Steps
Action Steps are stated in priority order, dictated by time or by relevance. Time is important when one action must coordinate with another, or when resources can be put to work instead of being left idle. Relevance sets priorities when, for example, nothing else can be done until or unless a given step is first started or completed. Each action step is itself a need and an objective that leads to another action plan. The scope, scale and complexity of the step will determine the nature and size of the sub-plan. Leaves the order of activities and events open to maximize flexibility but this limits certainty about what will be done and when. States the nature of each action step, arranges events and activities in priority action order, based on importance or logical sequence.
Delegation of authority and responsibility to empower others and enable a specific action step to be completed. The level of authority and responsibility cannot exceed the level assigned to the person with overall accountability. Each act of delegating sets parameters in the same way as for the plan as a whole. They may be more stringent to take into account issues such as subordinate competence and experience, the processes to be used and the availability of resources. Retains control of available resources, withholds authority to make decisions even after assigning responsibility to others. Enables others to use resources and take action by delegating authority to make decisions about their own activities.
Timings switch action on and off. They coordinate the beginning and end of each action step, and create continuity. Timings are commonly based on clock or calendar, but may also be tied to events – for example, ‘not before (a specified event) happens’, ‘on completion of (a specified event) or when specified conditions or situations arise. Action steps may be out of sequence for best use of the resources deployed, or for the desired effect. Schedules activities and events, determines speed of execution, frequency or duration, coordinates the action.
Resources are allocated to action steps, consistent with what must be done, the level of delegation for the step, and to be available at specified timings. They need to be scheduled carefully for efficient and effective resource usage. Task resources include money, materials, information and facilities, for example. Time resources cover our means of measuring and controlling time, and establishing smooth flows. Human resources are talents, personal attributes, behaviors and relationships. Allows others to use the task, time and human processes that suit them. Specifies task, time and human processes for each action step, chooses methods that will best suit the purpose.
Processes, like resources, need to be aligned with action steps, delegation and timings. Processes are the means by which we get things done while consuming resources, and they need to be best-suited to their purpose. That may mean making do, a poor option, adapting existing ways of doing things or creating processes from scratch to provide exactly what is needed. Allows others to use the task, time and human processes that suit them. Specifies task, time and human processes for each action step, chooses methods that will best suit the purpose.
Values enable us to establish the worth of doing anything in the first place, gauging progress and weighing up the end result. We find out about initial worth by comparing costs with benefits. We need to use a common unit, usually monetary, to enable us to compare any one thing with any other. But our first efforts may be based on machine or human hours, numbers of pieces of equipment, volume of output, space occupied, downtime and so on. Operates with no clear idea of costs/benefits or comparisons of inputs/outputs to determine the value of taking action. Determines costs/benefits of each action step, places monetary values on each input/output for direct comparisons.
Outcomes bring progress reports to help us assess our plan’s effectiveness as it unfolds. These progressive reviews enable us to make timely adjustments, where necessary, to keep on track. When the plan is completed, we are in a position to compare our original intention with what we actually achieved – the final outcome. By looking back over all activities and events, we may find ways to improve performance. Requires either too many or too few reports to handle activities with clarity or efficiency. Requires reports from others at selected points, then assesses progress. Checks that end results match set standards.

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