Facilitating toward development of an action plan
By George Lakey, Director, Training for Change
The following rough outline was developed by George Lakey, director 
of Training for Change, a Philadelphia-based organization that 
spreads the skills of democratic, nonviolent social change
1. Identify the overall goal: If the group is tackling an area 
without previous action plan work having been done, explain that, 
even though there might be several goals desired, the limited amount 
of time requires that the group start with one goal and, after 
finishing that, go to a second. If the group is building on solid 
work done previously, it might be OK to work on more than one goal, 
although you still could insist that one be done at a time.

a. If the change is within the consumer group or within the culture 
(for example, changed consciousness), go on to #2.

b. If the change is a policy change or a change in operations by 
those who impact consumers and the public, decide who can deliver 
this goal — who are the deciders? (elected official?, appointed 
official? editor of newspaper? head of social work agency? judge in 
charge of local courts? etc. In other words, who has the power to 
decide "yes" or "no" in regard to the demand or request.
2. List achievable and measurable objectives toward that goal.
a. If the goal is within the consumer group or within the culture, 
what are the specific, measurable behaviors that make the goal clear?
b. If the goal is a policy change or a change in operations by those 
who impact consumers, define the SAMs: Strategic, Achievable, 
Measurable objectives.
3. Whose response can deliver the objectives? Clarify the 
relationship between the objectives and the identity of the individual
(s) whose response can deliver the change. If the change is within 
the consumer group, who are the opinion-leaders or power brokers? If 
the change is in policy or treatment from the external structures, be 
sure it's clear who the key office-holders are.
4. Identify the resources available.
5. Identify the allies who might work on these objectives.
6. Brainstorm; and then choose actions that use the resources, 
mobilize the allies, and put the deciders in a place where it's in 
their interest to say yes.
7. Arrange the actions chosen in #6 in a timeline, including who is 
responsible for tasks, and deadlines for tasks.
8. Inspect the timeline for gaps and holes. Some actions will require 
a preliminary step that wasn't previously identified, for example.
9. Celebrate the accomplishment of the action plan!