Action planning invites us to shift our thoughts from what someone else needs to do to what we can do to influence a better outcome. It takes a nebulous idea like “I want them to be more engaged” and challenges us to think about what being engaged looks like. It looks like speaking up with ideas, initiative volunteering, stepping up to lead, or maybe stepping off the board when the time comes. We then look at how the four barriers — environment, tools, learning, and emotions — relate to these actions and defined some next steps.
We presented Aim for Action at the BoardSource conference in October 2017 in Seattle. A full room of board members were eager for action from the rest of their board. Here is an example of how we took an “I want” statement, meaning I want someone to do something, and turned it into concrete, observable actions.