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How to Create an Action Plan following an Organizational Assessment

"Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.” —Peter Drucker

In the previous posts in this series, we have discussed how to assess organizations in terms of where they came from, where they are going, and where they are now. If you are interested in a tool for conducting this type of assessment, please click here.

This post will focus on what to do once the assessment is complete. This would include identifying the top-priority actions for your organization as well as actions that may not be high priority but are easy to implement.

Here are 6 steps to create an action plan following an organizational assessment.

Step 1. Organize a strategic meeting with a clear agenda

Typically, it’s preferable to bring leaders together in person, although meeting virtually can also work. If possible, leverage a neutral facilitator (internal or external).

Regardless if it is an in-person or remote meeting, make sure to have a clear agenda, a process to identify clear action items, and a way to keep action owners accountable. The Galbraith Star Model can be very helpful to use for the agenda. Focus on strategy, structure, processes, rewards, and people, as well as the additions of culture and communication.

Step 2. Review or perform the organizational assessment

During the session, either review the results of your organizational assessment, or use the meeting time to conduct part of the assessment.

Step 3. Identify gaps and opportunities

Once the assessment is complete, brainstorm organizational gaps and opportunities. For example, is the envisioned culture the experience your employees are having? Often, as companies grow, the culture gets diluted and the leaders are the last to know.

Step 4. Identify high-priority items

Once you have all potential actions, prioritize how to focus your and the organization’s time and resources. It is VERY IMPORTANT to focus on items that will have the biggest impact. I recommend no more then 3-5 items as an organization, with no individual owning more than one item on the list.

Step 5. Identify low-hanging fruit

In addition, identify any “low-hanging fruit” that may have less impact but are easy to accomplish and not take too many resources. Make sure these actions don’t distract from the top priorities.

Step 6. Create an action plan

Once items are prioritized and the team has committed on the go-forward plan, create an action plan. If you want a tool to complete an action plan, click here. Your action plan should include:

  • Action

  • Next step

  • Owner

  • Due date.

Assign someone to track these actions and have a plan to regroup to discuss status.

What will you learn from an organizational assessment?

Invariably when these questions are asked and people are listened to, amazing things can happen. If there is lack of clarity or alignment of vision or strategy, culture dilution, conflicting priorities, lack of clarity of roles and responsibilities and other organizational challenges will be unearthed.

By performing an organizational assessment, you also see what the organization is doing right. It is important to see both strengths and opportunities.

An example of organizational change

Sometimes, small and simple issues are identified that can have a huge impact. For example, I consulted with an organization that was struggling with employee engagement and turnover.

Their hypothesis was that the causes of poor engagement were too much overtime, not enough kudos, and not enough focus on helping employees manage change.

Employees across locations and levels were interviewed, and the results were surprising. The biggest pain point was related to teams working on long shifts in a shared space that did not have enough chairs.

It seems like an easy thing to overlook, but there was a huge organizational impact once everyone was given their own chair. The company also added a refrigerator, so the team didn’t have to cram peanut butter sandwiches into their pockets.

Making these simple changes helped the organization align to their espoused culture of putting people first. And in a way, they now had a map to becoming the organization they wanted to be.

Apply what you’ve learned

If you are interested in a tool for completing an action plan, please click here.

I would love to hear from you how you use the tips suggested above, please comment below.

Blog Series: Simple Steps for Organizational Success

  • Part 1: How did your organization start and where is it going?

  • Part 2: Create a clear vision for your organization

  • Part 3: Assess the current state of your organization: The Galbraith Star Model

  • Part 4: Create an action plan for your organization

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