Mis-Assigned Action Items

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As we’ve discussed in previous posts, action items are key elements of meeting minutes and general project management. They define who owns what action, what the action is, when it’s due, and the status of that action.

Oftentimes, though, action items are mis-assigned. The person assigning them might not know the team or individual who should own a particular function or may not fully grasp the action and its implications. This person might just know something needs to be documented and assigned.

Hypothetical Impact of Mis-Assignment

When action items are mis-assigned, one of the worst things employees can do is disregard them. For example, consider this hypothetical situation:

A meeting is held to discuss next steps for a customer that is late on paying invoices. Julia is not present at the meeting, but because she is part of the finance team, Bill, who is leading the meeting, assigns Julia an action item to reissue the invoices and follow up with the customer via phone. The action item is due by the next meeting, which is in 2 weeks.

Julia sees the action item but disregards it because issuing and reissuing invoices are actually part of Rachel’s job function. When Bill follows up with Julia 2 weeks later to check on the status of the action item, Julia tells him as much. But now, there is no time to reassign the action item to Rachel and have it completed by the deadline.

The problem in this hypothetical isn’t necessarily that Julia didn’t do the work assigned to her. It’s that she didn’t tell anyone she wouldn’t be completing the action item and didn’t identify the appropriate person to follow up with the task. This situation occurs too often in workplaces; therefore, tasks are simply not completed…

Source: HR Daily Advisor

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