Create Great Action Plans to Drive Results

How often have we been told that you must visualize what you want or you will never get there?  One of the 7 habits by Stephen Covey in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was

Start with the end in mind.”

If you want to make a change, you have to know what it is you want to do.  (Your Vision) To create a clear vision it’s important to step up and have an open mind for new opportunities and ways of doing things.  This may take some time and energy but its time well spent!

I have been working with my clients to create action plans so they can complete their project goals in a very tight timeline.  The planning process has gone exceptionally well but sometimes it can be very challenging.  This is where time spent gaining clarity in what you want to accomplish is so important.  If you aren’t specific with the outcome, how can you plan the steps to get you there?

I love the Deming Cycle as a tool for planning and executing projects. This management tool has four key phases… “Plan Do Check Act“.  PDCA, also known as PDSA (Plan Do Study Act), offers businesses a proven method to control and manage the processes and systems within their organization for continuous quality improvement (CQI).  Who doesn’t want to continually be more productive (get more done), be more efficient (use people and other resources better) and improve results (make more money)?

Here is a breakdown of the steps in the PDCA cycle (as outlined in wikipedia)


Establish the objectives and processes necessary to deliver results in accordance with the expected output (the target or goals). By establishing output expectations, the completeness and accuracy of the specification is also a part of the targeted improvement. When possible start on a small scale to test possible effects.


Implement the plan, execute the process, make the product. Collect data for charting and analysis in the following “CHECK” and “ACT” steps.Every time you create something new you want to test it.  This is the purpose of this step.  Test your new system, new program or product.  Identify what’s working, what needs tweeking, what’s not working and needs to be fixed.


Study the actual results (measured and collected in “DO” above) and compare against the expected results (targets or goals from the “PLAN”) to ascertain any differences. Look for deviation in implementation from the plan and also look for the appropriateness and completeness of the plan to enable the execution, i.e., “Do”. Charting data can make this much easier to see trends over several PDCA cycles and in order to convert the collected data into information. Information is what you need for the next step “ACT”.


Request corrective actions on significant differences between actual and planned results. Analyse the differences to determine their root causes. Determine where to apply changes that will include improvement of the process or product. When a pass through these four steps does not result in the need to improve, the scope to which PDCA is applied may be refined to plan and improve with more detail in the next iteration of the cycle, or attention needs to be placed in a different stage of the process.”


When you’ve been good at something one way its hard to change — Get uncomfortable, push outward and fulfill your full potential.  To be competitive in the marketplace, or to fulfill the strategic plan for your business, it is important for you to lead yourself and your team through a clear process to achieve the results in the most efficient and productive way.  Planning is often under performed.

A good plan should:

  • Be written down
  • Have goals attached so you know what you want to achieve
  • Include specific action steps  or tasks so you know if it was completed or not
  • Have a specific person assigned to each task (for accountability)
  • Have a timeline attached (so there are deadlines and a continual focus on moving forward)
  • Be reviewed regularly
  • Recognize accomplishments  (don’t forget to celebrate your accomplishments)

Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire and begin at once, whether you ready or not, to put this plan into action.
Napoleon Hill 

A Coach or mentor is a valuable resource to help you become clear on what you want to achieve, understanding all the steps you must take to get there, and to identify which resources are needed.   A Coach can also support you when things are challenging, and better yet, celebrate with you when you are successful!!  They can be your confident, sounding board, resource and help you remain focused on your goal.  We offer a “done for you” and a “done with you” option to fit your specific needs.

It’s been said that of all people
who say they’re ready

for change,
only 20% of them
are ready for action.
Are You Ready?

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Catherine Rocheleau, Founder & CEO of Ignite Leadership International ® helps business leaders and entrepreneurs build leadership, engage teams and enhance systems so they keep more of what they are making!  Our coaching, consulting and masterminds focus on your goals and the systems that drive your results!   Book a complimentary Ignite Your Business Session to explore your next steps (

3 Steps to End Procrastination

Go Confidently QuoteHave you ever wondered why some things are so quick and easy to accomplish while others just feel insurmountable before you start, and so simple once they’re done?   Delay tactics become very imaginative when we see that task on our list that we don’t want to do.

Rarely is the time you spend trying to avoid doing a particular task substituted with another high priority productive task.  For example, you have to do follow-up phone calls with prospective clients.  You’re not sure if they will say “yes” and so you delay making the calls so you don’t have to hear “no”.  Instead of making those calls, and potentially adding some new clients who will pay you money, you rewrite your list of things to do, delete emails from your mobile phone, grab another cup of coffee, walk the dog, or daydream.  You get the idea!

Why do you procrastinate?

Procrastination is an automatic habit that causes us to needlessly delay timely, relevant, priority activities to another day.  The good news is that as a habit, it can be changed.  The challenge is that procrastination is a reinforced habit, meaning we don’t always experience the unpleasant outcomes of our choices/actions.  We often beat ourselves up because we delay action on a task or project.  Inaction is not necessarily procrastination as long as what you are doing is as important as the task you are delaying.

Interestingly enough, procrastination is on the rise.  Is this because our world is racing by and we just don’t have enough time to complete everything we want to do?  Or, is this because we have too many distractions, between email, the internet, meetings, games and social media?  Researchers at the University of Michigan suggest a change in society’s philosophy from one focused on hard work and prosperity to a more socially focused philosophy underpins this shift.

Brian Tracy, in his best seller “Eat That Frog” offers 21 habits that you can change to stop procrastinating.  A strange title for sure until you read the book.  Tracy explains, “…your frog is your biggest, most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on…the one task that can have the greatest positive impact on your life and results at the moment.”  Tracy also contends that if you are faced with two frogs, you should ‘eat’ the ugliest one first (the biggest, hardest and most important).  You should tackle your major task first thing in the morning (without taking a lot of time to look at it) to reach high levels of performance and productivity.

Here are 3 key changes you can take today to move your projects forward.

  1. Prepare Before you Start
    Planning and preparation are a key steps in getting more in less time and achieving better results.  Planning helps you get clear on what it is you have to or want to achieve and the steps that need to be taken.  Assemble all of the necessary tools and resources to do the job at hand quickly and efficiently.  Create a good work environment for yourself, including the right lighting, a comfortable chair, and a tidy desktop.  (This is my biggest challenge for sure but I keep working on it).  A few minutes of preparation will help you tackle things more easily.
  2. Plan 3 Priorities Every Day. 
    At the end of each day, take the time to review your day and set the top three priorities for tomorrow.  Setting your daily priorities will help your focus and will help reduce distraction until they are Journal 2012completed.  This is one habit I learned early on when I was in Food Services.  A disaster could occur at any time.  When you set your priorities for the day in advance, you can deal with the unplanned and then quickly refocus on your priorities.  This has saved me more often than I can count.
  3. Allocate Blocks of Time
    Do you try to multitask?  I used to multi-task all the time but found that details would fall through the cracks.  Now, I block time to complete a task.  This isn’t fool-proof but it definitely does improve efficiency.   When you block time, you are able to focus and complete high quality work.  Multi-tasking causes you to be more fragmented and this makes your task more difficult (easier to procrastinate on). Tracy states “one of the keys to high levels of performance and productivity is to make every minute count.”  He adds “Pyramids were built one block at a time.  A great life or career is built one task, and often one part of a task, at a time.

Procrastination is a habit.  Like any habit you can learn new ways to overcome the process and change the outcome.  Your change affirmation is….. Don’t Delay, Do it Today!

To your success, one task at a time!

Our Business Leadership Journal offers a proven system to setting goals, tracking your progress and staying on track.  Learn more

The Q Decision Making Tool Explained [video]

In this video I share a very short live presentation on a valuable business decision making tool I use and share with my clients.

If you would like a copy of this tool, download your copy using the request box to the right.


Systems Make Your Business Work Better

Over the past two months I have had the privilege to attend some great workshops and seminars.  I love learning new things and finding new ways of accomplishing results faster.  Each time I attend an event I walk away with at least one great tip I can share with my clients.

I know I have written about systems before, but I couldn’t resist sharing some new insights on why I stand behind the strong belief that systems make your business work better.

What do I mean by systems?  

A system is the process you take to complete a task to obtain the right result, consistently and efficiently.   A good system identifies the steps you take, the resources (time, money, equipment, skill) you need and the outcome desired.Tea break time at work

As a business owner or manager, it is important to clearly establish the systems that are needed so that the actions taken by yourself or your team are consistently moving your business toward its strategic and operational goals.  In addition the steps you take must reflect the needs of your customers,  fit your team’s skill, and effectively utilize your team’s skill, the time available and the company’s money or other resources.

Three steps to creating good systems.

1.  Record as you go

One of the easiest and fastest ways to create a system is to record the steps you take as you complete different tasks.  These procedures will allow you to repeat the same steps time after time.  They will also allow you to delegate these tasks to others and speed up training.

If trying to write it all down is too time consuming, consider taping yourself as you go through the steps and having an assistant type it up for you.   I have also asked employees to assist me in recording the steps for their own job.  Who better to ensure its right than the person who does that task every day!

2.  Can technology save time, money or improve  outcomes?

 One of the biggest mistakes businesses make is leaving manual systems in place too long, or failing to consider technological options that are on the market today.    Cost of purchasing, training and a lack of knowledge of how software will really make a difference are the most common reasons but they could be costing you and your business profits!

One company I worked with had a very old, yet (in their mind) functional computer.  Three times in the  prior six months it experienced down time.  These breakdowns caused a loss of data (which had to be reentered by staff), slowed response time to customers (staff didn’t have access to the information they needed nor did they have access to the database which allowed them to process customer payments.  On top of the down time, a computer specialist to retrieve lost data and troubleshoot the problems.  All of this was inconvenient, not good for productivity, customer service or for cash flow!  In my estimation Time Wasted _ clock in bin 9491623_sthey lost almost twice as much as the cost of a new computer.

Identifying new technology options that will integrate with existing systems is vital, unless the data can be easily transitioned.  In small businesses, accounting software and integrated customer management/e-commerce systems are two priorities you should consider to save time, improve customer support and improve profits.  The monthly outlay can be quickly recouped.

3.  Review Regularly

 Embracing continuous quality improvement is an imperative when you want to be a leader.  Every good system must integrate a review process on a regular basis.  A review allows you to determine if the process that is in place is still working, whether it is meeting the needs of the business and is efficient and productively aligns with your strategic and operational goals.

As part of the review process, obtain feedback from your coach, mentor, partner, employees or other sources to understand what options exist which would improve profitability, save time and other resources or achieve better outcomes.  External input is invaluable, as is basic observation!

Are you struggling with your business?  Are systems non-existent or ineffective?  I’d love to connect with you to delve deeper and explore options and how I could help you!

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Book Your complimentary Exploration Session today!

Victoria Day Special

Are you the type of person who starts with tons of enthusiasm

but one to two months into the program your focus falls short?

Do you want to really ADD VALUE & LONGEVITY to your goal strategy efforts?


Goal Strategy Success

Starting to use a new system is exciting and all of your good intentions are intact at the out-set.

With time, life and business demands begin to interfere.  Sticking with the program can be challenging and sometimes downright impossible.

Don’t let your enthusiasm and dedication to leading your business / career suffer when times are tough. [Read more…]

Breaking Through Your Glass Ceiling Podcast

Last week I had the honour to be interviewed by Christine Till, with Practical Podcasting.  Christine and I explored my mentoring groups… Mastermind groups, Group coaching and the Goal Strategy Success Program.

I hope you will enjoy this podcast.


If you would like to know more about becoming involved in one of my programs, please contact me TODAY!


Do You Only Rise to the Occasion?

Motivation has been on my mind a lot in recent weeks.  I know I recently wrote about whether motivation is born within us or learned.  (I hope you’ll take a few minutes to review that article).  As an avid Vancouver Canucks fan, I watched the Boston game this past Saturday where the Canucks were on their game, followed by Monday’s game against the Florida Panthers, where the game was slow and unexciting.  The rivalry for the Bruins game was high, especially after the Stanley Cup Finals in June 2011.  On the other hand, getting that same motivation for a team that most likely isn’t a play-off contender, and they only play once a year is a lot more difficult. [Read more…]

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