Capturing actions within your business is one thing. But, if you want to see your results change then action must be undertaken.

This is a simple premise, until you factor in all the actions that you have running through your business. They can come from a wide range of sources:

  • Daily business meetings.
  • Team meetings.
  • Management system meetings.
  • Continuous improvement meetings.
  • Appraisals.
  • Planning for objectives.
  • KPI (Key Performance Indicator) reviews.

I’m sure that you can think of more places where actions come from.

Action management is the science (or art?) of pulling all these actions into one place, prioritising them and making them happen!

There are many ways that you can approach this challenge. A key idea to remember is that action management is best when it is simple and it is frequent. If you can make it effective and fast too, all the better.

So, here are some tips for your action management approach:

  1. Centralise the place where you capture your actions. Action management is easier when you don’t have to hunt around for the actions first.
  2. Visual management. Actions are easy to manage if you can see their status at a glance. Using a colour scheme like RAG (Red – Amber – Green) is a good strategy.
  3. Make action management a routine task. Little and often is a great action management attitude. Design a routine that directs your focus onto the actions. Tie the review in with other routine tasks if it helps you.
  4. Team preparation is a must before reviews. Don’t waste valuable time covering old ground. Form the habit of everyone reviewing the actions beforehand. They can then come to the review with updates and save everyone a chunk of time.
  5. Decide what prioritisation approach works best for you. Is it impact on the business, speed of completion, urgency? Choose a way to determine what actions come first.
  6. Throttle your actions to sustain an appropriate rate of progress. Know when to speed up and when to slow down. Keep the cadence appropriate to the needs of the business and the workloads of the team.
Develop an action management approach that helps you to react quickly to customer demand and improvement opportunities

The key to effective action management is flow.  Frustration builds when actions accumulate to the point of feeling overwhelmed. This frustration seeps into your teams and inertia follows. Point six on the list above becomes critical at this point.

I should also point out that if you look at point five again you may be able to increase your natural capacity. If you can tackle some actions that streamline processes, you can get more done later on. An effective action management approach will help you to do this.

So, whilst there is no right and wrong way to approach action management, the above pointers are a good start. Review the list and see what method you can design for your business.


Giles Johnston
Giles Johnston

Giles Johnston is a Chartered Engineer that spends his working life helping organisations to become more organised, more efficient and get back in control.

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