Working at Iowa - Action Planning Guide Principle Three

Shared responsibility for developing a plan, measuring progress on the plan and achieving results.  Provide opportunity for faculty/staff to engage in the action planning process. This will further engage them and distribute responsibility for change among all faculty/staff.

Key Steps

a. As you develop your response plan, you may use the dialogue group or form a new group of faculty/staff.

b. Begin with a celebration of successes, particularly as it relates to important organization initiatives and efforts over the past year.

c. Finalize the plan for who is responsible for what and when it will occur: when and how will they communicate? This could be a new working group, or already established committee or work group.

d. Establish key steps with deadlines, and ways to measure success, such as tailored follow-up (pulse) surveys.

e. Share the goals and the action steps broadly within the organization.

Things to Consider

Root cause analysis. Root cause analysis (RCA) is a method of problem solving that tries to identify the root causes(not the symptoms) of concerns or problems.  By focusing correction on root causes, problem recurrence can be prevented and there is a greater chance that the action plan will resolve the concern or problem.  

Examples of tools used in RCA are: 1) 5 Whys, where the question “why” is asked multiple times and 2) the fishbone diagram which recognizes that multiple sources of root causes can contribute to a specific issue. More information and tools are available through Organizational Effectiveness.

Selecting actions. There is no cookie cutter approach to the actions that might improve engagement and thus, productivity.

Organizations that have similar data might employ different plans based on the dialogue and input. For example, two distinct organizations may have scored lower than expected on some of the supervisor questions. Through the dialogue process involving faculty and staff at all levels of the organization, one organization might recognize that they have a number of people new to the supervisor role and decide that some supervisory training might be helpful. The second organization might have supervisors who have a large number of employees who are fairly new to them and multiple demands on their time. This organization may decide to create structures that support the employee/supervisor relationship such as appreciation events or simple appreciation tools, easy to use supervisor tip sheets or job aids, or they may hold a supervisor focus group to enable supervisors to share tips and ideas with each other.

Driving factors.  There is a great deal of literature on engagement and what factors contribute to engagement. (The 12 Elements of Great Managing. Gallup Inc., 1993) 

Some of those driving factors that might be addressed in an action plan are:

  • clear commitment to customer focus
  • shared understanding of collective strategy and mission
  • effective relationships with manager/supervisor
  • learning and developmental opportunities
  • structures that promote recognition and reward