How to Implement an Action Plan that Inspires Accountability


Accountability…that overused…overpromised…and – under-delivered – word in our business vocabulary is an important component of creating effective Strategic Thinking in your organization.

The Dreaded A-Word

So, what’s the problem with ‘accountability’, anyway?  Well that’s a question with an answer much bigger than one web article, so let’s start with the fundamentals. The main problem is that when your people hear you using the A-word, it usually means someone is ‘in trouble’. I mean, seriously, when was the last time anyone said, ”Who is accountable for this terrific success we just had?” More likely what people in organizations of all sizes hear is, ’who is accountable for this mess?’ Along with enough variations to cause people to start running for cover anytime that A-word is vocalized.

Why You Need Accountability 

Now, the challenge is that the best Strategic Thinking on the planet is pretty much worthless without action plans to implement it and a sense of accountability for delivering it. Once you have puzzled through enough Strategic Thinking sessions with your team to develop a 12 – 18 month strategic agenda, the next big step is turning that agenda into a clearly defined strategic action plan – and getting everyone involved committed to being accountable for taking action.

Action Accountability

Here’s where the CEOIQ Action Planning & Accountability tool is ‘front and center’. It’s a simple, low-tech way to create action steps, agree on when to get them done, and assign someone on the team to step-up and be accountable for delivering the results.  When complete, it’s the beginning focus of your monthly Strategic Thinking Conversations! You’ll probably end up with 4 – 5 strategic initiatives defined through the AP&A tool, and each will have 5 – 9 major action steps or milestones. Start every strategic thinking conversation with “how are we doing on the strategic initiatives?”

An action plan, shared accountability, and a culture of commitment to making it happen – without them the best strategic thinking won’t produce much in the way of results!