Why Action Plans, Implementation Plans and Transition Plans often aren’t enough

23rd September 2014

Let me guess: some of your work today will be part of a Plan – an Action Plan, an Implementation Plan, a Transition Plan, a Strategic Plan, a Work Plan, a Project Plan, and so on…

And, of course, these Plans will contain everything that’s needed for the actions, implementation, transition, strategy, work and project.

But what about afterwards? How will you ensure that the post-Plan “new way” becomes “the way”?

As you know, the biggest driver of people’s action is habit.

Habits are more powerful than your internal desire for change (that’s often the reason that diets fail – “I want to lose weight. But I’m in the habit that Sunday night is Pizza night.”)

And habits are a lot more powerful than someone else telling you to change – no matter whether they do it nicely (“please do X”) or horribly (“just do X. Now”).

So a critical component – one often overlooked – of a Plan is the “Changing Habit Phase”. In other words, how you ensure the new way is front-of-mind, so people don’t revert.

Which, let’s face it, is easy to do, especially when you are tired, busy or stressed.

Causing a long-term habit change requires long-term investment (this is the case with most things: it’s why you finance a long-term asset like a house with a mortgage, not a credit card). So regular communication during and after the Plan is essential. For example:

  • Leaders proactively role-modelling and leading the new way as being “the way”
  • Regular rewards and recognition for people who embody the new way
  • Proactive, quick corrective action when people slip back
  • Creation of a Habit Champion
  • Accountability Partners – so everyone is accountable to someone else for making a permanent change
  • Changing standard documents – agendas, templates etc – so people continually see the new way of doing things
  • Regular reminders where people’s eyes always go – posters on walls, desk top reminders etc
  • Regular Habit Clinics
  • And so on

You don’t need to do all these. But you do need more than none.

Action Point

Identify the one habit change you’d like to make. For example, it could relate to a Plan at work; or it could be something else you’d like to change about yourself.

Then choose – and do – 1-2 of the above bullet points, to help you embed the new way.

And, if you find regular reminders helpful, my monthly videos will also help you change permanently click here to see how

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