How to Create an Action Plan (LSP-R Focus Activity 3)

“A goal without an action plan is a daydream”

– Nathaniel Branden

Congratulations! You’ve arrived at the final activity in your LSP-R Focus Report. Here we are going to create a development plan for the myFOCUS competency you selected in the previous activity.

To download the complete Step-by-Step Guide to the LSP-R Focus Report, click here.

To complete your development plan, turn to page 7 in your Focus Report.

Enter your myFOCUS competency in the top row, then brainstorm corresponding actions or behaviors that you can STOP, START, and CONTINUE in order to develop that competency. Plan how you will engage in each behavior and set a goal for when you’d like to have each completed.

Here’s an example for you:

Henry is a team lead at an automotive manufacturing firm. He has chosen to work on the leadership competency “Delegation.” To do so, Henry is going to STOP micromanaging (what) by setting a weekly check-in with his direct reports and allowing them to come to you for additional guidance on a per-need basis (how/when). Henry is also going to START looking at his tasks at the beginning of each week and consider whether someone on his team may be available and qualified to complete them. If so, Henry is going to start delegating these tasks (what) individually or at a team meeting at the start of each week (how/when). Finally, Henry is going to CONTINUE organizing deliverables himself (what), because he, as the leader, will still be held accountable for all assignments to his team. He will do this by maintaining the checklist of tasks and timelines he has created for himself but will also keep track of ownership for the tasks he chooses to delegate (how). Henry will update this list at the beginning of each week and monitor it throughout (when).

Leadership Skill Development Tools

If you’re looking for some inspiration on how you can develop a particular competency, check out SIGMA’s Leadership Skill Development Series. Developed by industrial organizational (IO) psychologists and other experts in the field, these resources offer a quick ‘how-to’ on developing some of the most important leadership skills today. Our tools are actionable and convenient. Each guide includes 3 broad tips for improving your skills, as well as 3 action items you can use to start practicing each skill today. Links to other articles, TED Talks, and additional resources are also provided.

The Importance of Coaching

Before we let you go, we want to finish by highlighting the importance of coaching. If you have a supervisor or mentor at your organization, consider asking them if they would be willing to coach you through the development process. But what does coaching entail?

Coaches support the development process by helping you reflect on assessment results, challenge your thoughts and assumptions, and set development goals. Show your development plan to your coach, and ask whether they would be willing to set aside half an hour per month to meet with you and discuss your progress.

Take a look at page 8 in your Focus Report. This page has a guided reflection activity that will help you identify what you’ve learned and how you are going to apply it month-by-month. Use this template to organize your thoughts, then walk through it in your coaching sessions. Also ask your coach for their thoughts and feedback.

leadership development

While you can try implementing your action plan on your own, SIGMA recommends working with a coach so that you have better support. Coaching can increase accountability, motivation, and development opportunities. Often a coach may be able to facilitate job shadowing, stretch assignments, or share resources you may not have otherwise had access too. As a result, studies have shown that coaching makes it significantly more likely that candidates will achieve their development goals.[i] It also increases the likelihood that this behavior change will remain long-term.[ii], [iii]

Looking for More?

If you would like help with your development plan, SIGMA is here for you! Give us a call if you need help interpreting your LSP-R results or creating your development plan. We are always happy to chat! We are also available as coaches if you do not have internal resources. Check out SIGMA’s group and individual coaching, and our Lunch and Learn series. If you have questions, contact us below! We would love to hear from you.

[i] Harkin, B., Webb, T. L., Chang, B. P. I., Prestwich, A., Conner, M., Kellar, I., …, & Sheeran, P. (2016). Does monitoring goal progress promote goal attainment? A meta-analysis of the experimental evidence. Psychological Bulletin, 142, 198-229.

[ii] Baron, L., & Morin, L. (2010). The impact of executive coaching on self-efficacy related to management soft-skills. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 31, 18-38.

[iii] Sonesh, S. C., Coultas, C. W., Lacerenza, C. N., Marlow, S. L., Benishek, L. E., & Salas, E. (2015). The power of coaching: A meta-analytic investigation. Coaching: An International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice, 8, 73-95.