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What is an action (that helps improve business performance)?

Action boards are an integral part of effective team meetings.

Constantly capturing actions to remove obstacles from the day to day operations, identifying small improvement opportunities and avoiding having to 'remember to remember' tasks really can help a team to perform at higher levels.

However, the other day I was asked a question - "what is an action?"

I have never had to really think about this topic, it has always come naturally to me (and I probably capture more actions in my to do list system than I need to!), so I came to an agreement with the team.

So, this got me thinking about when is an action actually an action (and when is it something else) and I thought I would share the list we developed with you. If you are struggling to get your team meetings and action board off the ground you might find it to be useful.

Here it is:

The following are not actions

  • The task can be done in less than 10 minutes, directly after the (morning) meeting.
  • The task is part of routine, day-to-day, work.

The following can be considered actions

  • The task is waiting, or stuck.
  • We want to ensure that we don’t forget the task.
  • The task involves a third party or multiple team members.
  • It is a continuous improvement opportunity.
  • Chasing of the task is required.
  • The task isn’t for today.
  • We’re not sure – IF IN DOUBT – ADD!!!
Feel free to copy the list across and adjust it to suit the needs of your business.


About the author Giles Johnston is a Chartered Engineer who specialises in helping businesses to grow and improve through better business processes. Giles is also the author of Business Process Re-Engineering and creator of the 'Making It Happen' continuous improvement toolkit.

Develop your own effective team meetings that drive up business performance