Crafting the Perfect Activity List

Hi, Everyone!

As you learned in your initial training, the MOST IMPORTANT element in a successful ChangeWorks experience is the activity list. Recently, we’ve noticed an upswing in the frequency of less-than-spectacularly-structured activities, so we thought we’d remind everyone of the 12 guidelines for crafting a perfect activity list:

1) The first word of EVERY activity MUST be a verb. Never forget that an activity is something that someone actually DOES — so be very clear about what the client needs to DO.

2) Focus on verbs associated with external behaviors NOT internal processes. External, observable, measurable activities are far more likely to plot in meaningful areas of the ChangeGrid than internal, subjective process like “understand” or “feel” or “believe” which invariably plot DownGrid.

3) Each activity should contain only ONE verb. Multiple verbs in a single activity confuse the respondent and leave the professional wondering which of the multiple verbs the respondent had in mind as they gave their ratings.

4) Favor powerful verbs. Weak, tentative or intermediate verbs are less likely to move the client into optimal growth mode. “Eliminate” is a far more powerful verb than “reduce.”

5) Each activity should contain only ONE object. Similar to multiple verbs, multiple objects confuse the respondent.

6) Limit the list to MISSION-CRITICAL activities. Don’t clutter the activity list with mission-incidental or minor procedural tasks.

7) Be as specific as possible in the phrasing of each activity. Activities stated in general terms will be assessed very differently than those stated in specific terms.

8) Whenever possible, use the client’s own words. Remember that the activity list belongs to the client and needs to resonate powerfully with them.

9) Stick with ONE tense throughout the entire activity list. While this may seem insignificant, choosing a single tense and staying in that tense as each activity is stated helps the client process the activities more easily.

10) Don’t be stingy with the number of activities on the list. There’s a reason we asked our software developers to set the upward limit of activities on a single list to 50 — we intended you to USE it.  While activity lists for marketing purposes should be kept rather short, customized activity lists should be thorough enough to give the client a robust experience.

11) Have the client craft their own activity list. No, I don’t mean give them access to your account — but it is sometimes a great exercise for the client to come up with the activities themselves.  Just give them a few basic guidelines (or point them to this blog post) and let them try their hand at creating the first draft.  Of course, you’ll probably need to edit it a bit, but it definitely enhances your client “owning” the activities.

12) Review the activity list with your client before you deploy it. Once you’ve sent you client the link to complete the ChangeGrid, the activity list cannot be changed, so take a few minutes to send the list to your client for them to review and approve.

We’ll review crafting activity lists in more detail on our next ChangeWorks Forum call. Please plan to join in!

-T-

PS — Subsequent to this posting, I compiled several suggestions for crafting activity lists for research, group and marketing profiles.  You can find them HERE.

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