Master Action Plan (M.A.P.) Tool

Our Master Action Plan (M.A.P). tool provides an effective blueprint for success consisting of a short list of critical tasks to carry out in order to achieve your ultimate outcome.

Action planning amounts to more than writing a "To Do" list. Using the M.A.P. approach you'll ensure that tasks are identified that match up directly with the goal you have set, and more importantly - the purpose of that goal.

master action plan

Download Free: Master Action Plan (M.A.P.) Tool

By planning out the entire process before initiating any tasks, you'll be certain that your efforts are maximized and will produce the results you expect. An effective leader will create a solid action plan that is squarely focused on the outcome of each task and how it contributes toward the achievement of the bigger goal.

Too often a team leader will assign a task to a team member as he thinks of it (I.e., George, go do this for me.), without taking the time to really think through how that task impacts that larger goal. By taking a little more time up front on goal planning, you will save yourself, and your team, time and frustration - and, you'll greatly increase the chances of having a better outcome.

The Master Action Plan tool helps walk you through how to make your tasks S.M.A.R.T., which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Sensitive. Using this approach adds clarity to the expectations and timelines you set, and provides your team members with the specific direction they need to meet the goals you set for them. 

In other words, as you complete the master action plan and write down each task you will effectively answer these critical questions: How Much? Of What? By When? and By Whom?

"People who don't have important opportunities to put their talents to good use, wind up frustrated. Strengthen your people by expecting results, and provide them with the tools to plan for success."

No project goes 100% smoothly, without any challenges. Anticipating potential barriers before you actually encounter them will go a long way to minimize the stress you and your team feel when confronted with an obstacle. Using this tool, you will have already anticipated and prepared for how you plan to deal with obstacles, challenges or barriers that occur.

Expand the tool as much as needed to capture as many of these challenges as possible. Get your entire team involved in completing your Master Action Plan template. By including team members during the planning phase, you'll create a more thorough plan. Plus, when the ideas come from your team, they'll be quick to buy in to the entire project.

"Team members feel strong and capable when they know their input makes a positive difference in the final outcome."

- Sanjay Bali

Why Use Our Master Action Plan Tool?

The one single thing that distinguishes successful people from those who are unsuccessful is that those who meet their goals are willing to do the things that others are simply unwilling to do.

Successful leaders understand that choosing a major goal and sticking to it changes everything. They also have the insight and the good judgment to fully leverage tools and resources available to them to ensure their success.  

master action planMaster Action Plan (M.A.P.)

Our Master Action Plan template consists of the following steps:

  • What's Your Ultimate Outcome? What must be achieved? 
  • What's Your Purpose and Motivation? Why is achieving this goal so important?  These first two bullet points really go together. Answering the What & Why of any initiative is worth investing time and effort into answering with a high degree of clarity. If you aren't 100% clear on the goal, and the purpose of the goal, you can easily spend a lot of time and effort in producing something that really isn't that important.
  • High Impact Activities Are Required To Ensure Success? (How Much; Of What; By When, By Whom?)  Here's where you really need to hold yourself accountable for being as specific as possible. The more granular you can identify what must occur to guarantee success, the better. Challenge yourself to be as specific as possible.
  • Anticipate Potential Barriers. You will encounter obstacles along the way. Call it a fact of life, Murphy's Law, whatever you want to call it, but you should expect to run into challenges along the way. However, by effectively anticipating those challenges and planning how you will respond to them will minimize any impact or delay to the project.  Rather than allowing an unexpected issue to run you off the road, it will simply become a minor speed bump. 
  • Create Your 5-Day Planner for Success! Having identified your Goal, Purpose, and Motivation - then having broken the goal down into bite-sized pieces, you are now ready to plan your typical week. While not every week will be the same, you may find that there are certain things that do need to happen on a recurring basis.  For example, check-in meetings should be scheduled weekly with each of the core team members to report on their progress, discuss any new issues, and ensure the project is making the necessary progress.   

Remember, the master action plan template is a tool, a guide that helps you to address the big questions before making a large investment of time and resources. Every week won't go perfectly. Life happens and you'll be forced sometimes to deviate from, or adjust the plan. That's okay! 

Adjusting the sails as the wind shifts is the only way a captain ever makes it to the destination, right?  

"There are seven days in the week, and SOMEDAY isn't one of them."

- Shaquille O'Neal

M.A.P. Example

Once you've downloaded and printed the M.A.P. tool you will want to go through the following steps to complete the goal setting process. To give you an idea of how to utilize this tool, we've provided a detailed example.

In this Master Action Plan example, the goal is: How to Establish A Website For Your Small Business:

  1. What's My Ultimate Goal or Outcome? (What must be achieved?) I will create a website for my small craft business within the next 3 months.  
  2. Why Do I Want To Do This? What's my purpose/motivation for achieving this goal? (Hint: Attach as much emotion to your purpose as possible for maximum leverage.) To expand my market globally so that I can share my talent and crafts with people all over the world. To connect with other like-minded people who want to learn more about how I make my crafts. To increase profits and provide my family with more freedom and opportunity to more fully enjoy our lives together.
  3. What High-Impact Activities/Tasks Will Ensure My Success? (Hint: Be specific, answer How Much, Of What and By When?)  Over the next 7 days, begin to educate yourself. Contact other business owners and ask them how they built their website. Reach out to people you know who already have a highly successful website and ask them to share their online journey and provide any advice they might have. Go to the library, bookstore or online and read a book or two on how to create a website. After 7 days, decide if you're going to build the site yourself or contract the work out to a 3rd party provider. Within 30 days, develop a site blueprint to determine the design of your site, and how the information you provide will flow. Identify keywords that your visitors will use to find the first 30 pages of your site in order to maximize free search engine traffic to your site. Write the content for your homepage. Within 60 days publish your homepage and write the content and publish at least five more pages.  At the end of 90 days, publish your first newsletter so you can begin to create a mailing list of people who wish to remain part of your community.   
  4. What Barriers Do I Anticipate? How Will I Overcome These Barriers? Fear, Lack of Knowledge: Push through your fear by understanding that people with far less knowledge and resources have created successful websites before you, it's simply a matte of finding the right tools the will work for you. So Much To Learn, It's Overwhelming: Allow yourself time to process each piece of the project. Break it down into bite-sized chunks and in no time you'll have confidence in what you can achieve. I don't like to write: Then you should hire someone who understands you and your business to write the content for your site. If writing isn't your thing, and you prefer to spend time making your craft items, then that is what you should be doing.  However, perhaps you can video tape yourself making a craft item and in the process narrate what you are doing and why you do it that way to show your web visitors what's it's like "behind the scenes"?  Guess what, that video is great content for your site, and you don't have to write to create it. 
  5. Weekly Planner: Review the above high-impact activities. Use the 5-day planner to schedule your week to include the activities that will lead to your success. Continually assess and adjust the plan as needed. 

""What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Clearly, the above goal of creating a new website for your small business is not all-inclusive. In other words, it's not a complete plan that will take you all the way through the end of the year. The plan will need to be adjusted at regular intervals for maximum effectiveness.

The above example does, however, represent a plan that will get a person off to a great start, with very specific stepping stones that can lead to long-term success. 

We've provided two more detailed examples of how to use the Master Action Plan tool in our free ebook, Goal Setting for Success.  This tool is also available to download from our leadership library. Check out Chapter 15 for M.A.P. examples on How to Lose Weight, and How to Manage Your Finances. 

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