An action plan has five key components:
- Specific: Goals are not action steps. Example: “Eliminate overtime” is not an appropriate step for an action plan. “Determine open positions”, “institute on-call policy”, and “schedule team meeting to discuss policy change” are specific action steps.
- Measurable: An action plan should have a goal that is measurable. Example: Increase resident satisfaction is not a good goal for an action plan. Increase resident satisfaction scores from 2.5 to 4.0 in 3 months is a measurable goal.
- Agreed upon: Action steps should be shared with everyone who owns a role. Each team member should agree to the goals and action steps. Team development of the action plan is recommended.
- Realistic: An action plan is to hold you accountable, not someone else. Being realistic is related to #3 “Agreed upon.” Establish accountability at the beginning of the process and discuss the possible results of not completing the sequence of action steps.
- Timed: Set realistic dates to complete each step. Setting a date for reaching the final goal is important, but place equal emphasis on the action steps required for achieving that goal.