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Follow-Up is Key to Successful Action Plan Implementation

We’ve all heard it a thousand times: “Accountability within a firm is essential to that firm’s success.” Absolutely true.

It’s also true when it comes to action plans (or marketing plans, if that’s what you choose to call them). Individuals need to be accountable for what they commit to in their plans. Sounds great, doesn’t it? But what does “accountable” really mean?

Of course, being accountable means the individual is taking personal responsibility for implementing his or her action plan. But here’s the other part of the equation: it also means that the firm is living up to its end of the bargain by supporting and monitoring the individual effort.

This is where action plans can run into roadblocks and begin to gather dust. It is human nature to create a plan and immediately forget about it. It’s as though the mere creation of the plan, the writing of the words, will make business development happen. Knowing this very human response, it is essential that the managing partner, marketing partner or director of marketing play the role of monitor, mentor and conscience.

If you are in charge of this effort, you should be scanning individual action plans at least every month to be sure you are staying ahead of deadlines. It’s very important that you contact individuals ahead of deadline to remind them of tasks they committed to and to see what progress they have made. This way, you can encourage and offer help, rather than scold them for a missed deadline. Nearly everyone responds more productively to praise than criticism, particularly when they have ventured into a new area such as business development.

If your firm will commit to following up with individual marketers and helping them do what they said they would do, you will see improved results.

© Melinda Guillemette 2009