Be an Action Hero

So you’ve laid out a brilliant communications strategy, with clear goals, indices of success and messages—congratulations! Next, it’s time to move from the lofty levels of strategy down to the thickets of tactics. A tactical action plan is where the strategy all comes together, since it lays out the implementation schedule that will make your plan a reality.

An action plan simply plots a logical ordering of activity against defined periods of time (usually quarters, but sometimes months). I find that it’s helpful to construct an action plan by defining a sequence of execution phases – for example, a focus on building in Q1, outreach in Q2 and demonstrating thought leadership in Q3. In designing a realistic action plan, be sure to consider issues such as these:

  • Are there particular milestones to keep in mind, such as an annual meeting or election? Pace the implementation carefully, since a plan that calls for an unsustainable load on staff resources at a given time will be set up to fail. Design an implementation schedule that will achieve gradual progress at a pace that’s realistic given the staff size and other competing demands for attention.
  • Do some of the tasks span a period of time? For example, if a new Web module is to be built, the action plan will need to allot time to produce, approve and translate the material.
  • Is the timing workable (e.g. are there issues of staff holidays or risks of overloading tasks in one quarter)?

Follow these tips to be your very own Action Hero!