Personal Action Plans

Personal Action Plans are primarily a means of developing ownership for individual or collective behavioural change.
They are analogous to normal meeting actions but differ in a number of ways.
For contrast, project, planning and review meetings generally create a list of actions that relate to activities for which individuals will take responsibility on behalf of the group, to ensure they make progress against a defined plan or programme. These are typically non personal, they are just about changing ‘things’.

Conversely, where the ‘meeting’ is more concerned with individual learning, skill development or cultural change, the actions are typically very personal – they are about changing ‘people’, and are undertaken on behalf of the individual.
But in both cases, one thing remains true: Progress is far more likely if the intention to make that progress is documented, scheduled and regularly reviewed.
Personal Action Plans provide a basic means for that documentation, schedule and review. They are completed by each individual, typically en-masse, at the end of the training session or workshop, according to a defined format (which can be adjusted to meet the change objectives).
The format typically consists of three or four questions, along the lines of:
  • What specifically am I going to do differently as a result of today?
  • What help do I need with this, and how will I get it?
  • What will be different if I am successful in this? How will I know I have succeeded?
  • How will I check that I am making progress?
There are several ways to refine and reinforce the commitments that have been made individually:
  • Paired Review – which involves partnering up with someone else in the event and critiquing each others plans to help improve them and make them more robust.
  • Display – which requires simple Personal Action Plan templates (based on similar questions to those above) to be completed and placed together on a wall so that they can be reviewed by colleagues, and commented on by means of sticky-notes.
  • Plenary Presentation – which requires each person to present their Personal Action Plan to the group, and either get feedback on it, or commended and encouraged within it (depending on how you set up the session).
  • Self-monitoring – which involves setting up personal reminders and review points to track individual progress against the plan. Self-monitoring can easily be set up within Inspirometer – click here to see how

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