Action: Incremental Action Steps (Class #12)

Straight-A Guide Job Training Program

Lesson #12: Action: Incremental Steps

Show Value of Incremental Action Steps

Materials Required:

  • Classroom space
  • Sufficient number of chairs with writing surface
  • DVD: Strengths and Weaknesses 

Introduce Lesson #12 (5 minutes):

  • Facilitator tells story of reverse engineering. Our success tomorrow depends on decisions we make today.

First steps (10 minutes):

  • Take roll of participants.
  • Facilitator tells story of his own path to success. Facilitator talks about struggle after imprisonment, discussing how we first worked toward stability. He talks about incremental steps he is taking today, and where those steps are leading him into tomorrow.

Goals and Objectives (5 minutes):

  • Facilitator will persuade participants to take incremental actions steps that advance them from an entry-level position to positions of leadership.

Expected Learning Outcomes (5 minutes):

  • Facilitator will show participants incremental action steps that are consistent with the values they have identified and the goals they are striving to pursue.

Preliminary introduction (5 minutes):

  • Facilitator gives overview of SWAT: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

Direct Instruction (10 minutes):

  • Play Strengths and Weaknesses DVD.

Guided Practice (20 minutes):

  • Facilitator holds breakout session.
  • Facilitator asks each participant if they are starting a minimum wage job tomorrow, what steps will they take to reach their desirable income in three years.
  • Facilitator asks for one volunteer to stand in front of the group and read his response.  As a class exercise, he evaluates the participant’s response against the SWAT.

Lesson #12: Showing Value of Incremental Action Steps

Think of anyone you know who has achieved a remarkable level of success.  It doesn’t matter who the individual is, nor does it matter what area of life the individual achieved the remarkable success level.  Who can name some successful people?

  • Let’s reverse engineer the success of some of the people mentioned.  What incremental action steps can you imagine they pursued?

As another example let’s review the profile of a businessman who became President of his company. Let’s look at his beginnings: Before this business leader realized the top level of President, he was a Vice President; before he was a Vice President he was a division leader; before he was a division leader he was a department head; before he was a department head, he was a manager; before he was a manager, he was a rising star; before he was a rising star, he was an entry level employee; and so on. His principled, deliberate action steps put him on a path to success. Like many of you he started as an entry-level employee—today he is the President.  If we understand where we’re striving to go, we can use that as a beacon, a guiding light.  Once we know what we’re striving to achieve, we should reverse engineer the incremental action steps that will take us there.

The Straight-A Guide is a strategy, one that will lead to success.  Each of you can pursue any destiny that you choose.  The choices you make today are going to determine the kind of person you’re going to become tomorrow.  That’s the essential lesson of the Straight-A Guide.  Take the incremental action steps of building your knowledge and you will become better communicators.  Become better communicators and you will become better employees.  Become better employees and you will advance from entry-level employees.  Advance from an entry level employee to become a manager. Become a manager and you may become a department head.  Become a department head and you may become a division leader.  Become a division leader and you may become a Vice President.  Become a Vice President and you may become a CEO, the boss.

The key lesson is that regardless of what aspiration you pursue, incremental action steps will help you get there.

  • Describe the neighborhood where you want to rear your family when you’re older.
  • What would you guess the price of homes cost in the neighborhood you envision?
  • How much would you guess an individual has to earn to rear his family in that kind of neighborhood?
  • What type of jobs would you suppose offer the type of income that would allow you to live in that kind of neighborhood?
  • How many action steps can you describe would be necessary to prepare for such jobs?
  • What action steps can you begin taking now to prepare for such jobs?
  • What action steps have you begun taking to prepare for such jobs?
  • Describe what you intend to do–the incremental action steps you will take–by the end of this week to prepare for such jobs?
  • How will the incremental action steps you begin taking by the end of this week relate to the incremental action steps you’re taking next month?
  • How will the action steps that you’re taking next month relate to the action steps you will be taking next year?