Staying Accountable: Stick to Your Action Plans to Strengthen Your Business

By Richard Voreis

Management and staff empowerment must be accompanied by accountability or it could be a disaster waiting to happen. The best managers and employees want to be empowered. However, they must also understand that with empowerment comes accountability. So, let’s continue to talk about how this happens at the best performing companies in your
industry. Let’s continue this series with the next two steps (Editor’s note: see the past five issues for previous steps).

Action Plan Guideline #8 Put it in Writing

A fully effective management system should include specific, measurable and time-framed employee action plans that support the company’s top priorities and enhance accountability and results. Put action plans in writing and make sure that both the employee and the manager have a copy. You can also use the written action plans for the following:
• Tracking employee accountability;
• During the annual performance appraisal process;
• Salary administration; and
• During the incentive compensation process.

Action Plan Guideline #9

Make them Attainable Action plans must be attainable. Asking for the impossible de-motivates and dooms this management approach. In establishing action plans, you and your employees must also consider factors outside of the employee’s control that could impact completion. For example, let’s say the company closes a very large contract that will require certain employees to reassess their priorities in order to complete the contract on schedule and within budget. Just remember action plan guideline #2: Always focus on meeting the wants and needs of the customers. Happy customers mean repeat business and that’s the least costly marketing initiative your company can undertake.

Action Plan Guideline #10 Review Periodically

Keep in mind that action plans say how to accomplish the company’s top priorities and make employees accountable for achieving success. A common mistake is establishing company top priorities and employee action plans, which are then set aside until the end of the year to see what has been accomplished. By then, it’s too late to do anything about anything. Make sure you review your action plans periodically. As a suggestion:
• Once a year is not enough;
• Quarterly is not too often;
• Set pre-scheduled review dates; and
• Conduct personal, face-to-face reviews.

One idea is to establish quarterly action plan review meetings as a normal part of your company’s planned activities for the year. Pre-schedule the dates at the beginning of each year.

Richard Voreis is the founder and CEO of Consulting Collaborative in Dallas. His column appears bi-monthly. Email him at rdvoreis@consulting-collaborative.com and read his blog on Wednesdays at dollarsandsense.usglassmag.com

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