150 Powerful Action Verbs for Your SMART Goals

Are you ready to supercharge your goal-setting strategy? This article is a treasure trove of 150 dynamic action verbs designed to energize your ambition and ignite your motivation.

From ascending the career ladder to shedding pounds, these powerful action verbs will transform your goals from vague aspirations into compelling missions you’re eager to accomplish.

It will empower you to select action verbs that resonate with your objectives, making your goals feel tangibly within reach and injecting a dose of excitement into your planning process.

Whether you’re a veteran goal-setter or a novice just embarking on your journey, strap yourself in. It’s finally time to turn those dreams into actionable, SMART realities.

Table of Contents

What Are Action Verbs?

Action verbs, as their name suggests, depict action. They are words that express physical or mental activity. In goal setting, these verbs are likely to convey goal-oriented actions effectively.

These elements are crucial for establishing SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-based) goals as they clearly define your objectives and outline the precise steps you intend to take to accomplish them.

For example, instead of vaguely stating, “I want to improve my health,” a SMART goal would utilize an action verb to specify the goal: “I will jog for 30 minutes every morning.”

Here, “jog” is the action verb that clearly outlines the action needed to achieve the target. Using powerful action verbs can make your goals more compelling and motivate you to reach them.

The Importance of Action Verbs in SMART Goals

Action verbs are the secret tools that give our dreams wheels. Consider the previous example: “I want to be healthier.” It’s a wish, a desire, but it lacks the specificity and dynamism needed to spur action.

Now infuse it with an action verb: “I’ll nail 20 pushups every afternoon.” Suddenly, this passive intention morphs into an active pursuit. You have a specific task to complete.

Action verbs act as the driving force that propels us forward. They provide clarity and focus, defining the steps we need to take to achieve our goals.

To put it simply, action verbs are not just words; they’re like success multipliers. When we use them, we’re not just dreaming anymore; we are setting the stage for real achievement. And that’s they are so important when creating SMART goals.

  • Collaborate
  • Communicate
  • Demonstrate
  • Investigate
  • Participate
  • Standardize

Tips for Writing Action Verbs in SMART Goals

When writing your SMART goals, it’s essential to consider which action verbs are most appropriate for conveying the desired outcome. Below are some tips to help you come up with excellent action verbs for your goals:

1. Make Sure the Verb is Clear

Ensure your action verb can be understood without any confusion. Clear action verbs eliminate ambiguity and provide a definite direction for your goal.

For instance, instead of saying, “I want to do better in my job,” go for “I aim to increase my monthly sales by 10%.” In this case, “increase” is an action verb with a specific path to follow.

Select a verb that precisely describes the action you intend to take. Verbs like “complete,” “develop,” “achieve,” “reduce,” and “improve” are all decisive action verbs that leave no room for misunderstanding. They give a clear idea of what action must be taken.

Realize that clarity in your action verb sets the tone for goal setting . It paves the way for effective planning, diligent execution, and the successful achievement of your goal.

2. Use Positive Language

Positive language propels us forward, infusing our goals with energy and intention. Rather than writing, “ Stop procrastinating on tasks,” a positively framed goal could be “Prioritize tasks efficiently every morning.”

The latter uses positive language and an action verb, “prioritize,” making the goal proactive and empowering.

Your choice of words can dramatically impact your mindset and motivation levels. Hence, taking advantage of positive language in your SMART goals fosters a productive, optimistic tone from the outset.

3. Don’t Overuse the Same Action Verbs

Using the same action verb multiple times in a goal may make it seem monotonous. To avoid this, try to diversify your goals with different action verbs.

Suppose you are looking to save money . The goal could be “I will reduce my monthly expenses by 10%.” Alternatively, you might use a different phrase like, “I’ll decrease my expenses by 10% every month.”

Combining action verbs of the same meaning but with different nuances and applications could add flavor to your goals and keep them interesting. This way, you boost your chances of sticking to them as they seem more attainable.

4. Create Relevant Action Verbs

When establishing SMART goals, using relevant action verbs is crucial. Relevant action verbs directly relate to the task or outcome you wish to accomplish.

So if your goal is to improve your fitness , relevant action verbs could include “run,” “lift,” swim,” or “cycle.” These verbs clearly convey what you need to do to reach success.

Selecting appropriate action verbs also adds specificity to your goals. Instead of stating, “I want to get fit,” a relevant action verb can transform this into “I will run three times a week.”

The action verbs you choose should align with both the nature of your goal and the steps needed to achieve it. Creating relevant action verbs will make your SMART goals more practical.

5. Leverage Power Words

Power words are persuasive; they spark emotive responses and spur decisive action. They’re the secret ingredients that make narratives and calls to action persuasive.

Imagine your SMART goals . Now infuse them with power words. Rather than simply “finishing” a project, why not “conquer” it? Instead of “losing” weight, why not “obliterate” pounds? These slight tweaks in language may massively impact your outlook and determination.

Power words should be laser-focused, communicating what you strive to achieve. “Amplify,” “elevate,” and “escalate” are dynamic substitutes for generic verbs like “improve” or “increase.”

Bear in mind the purpose of SMART goals extends beyond setting benchmarks; it’s about sparking action. Harnessing the might of power words will inject your goals with dynamism and zeal, making them irresistibly compelling.

Final Thoughts

Remember that goals are more than just checkpoints on your journey to success. They are your roadmap, guiding you toward your desired destination.

Armed with this comprehensive list of 150 dynamic action verbs, you’re now equipped to transform your dreams into robust, concrete SMART goals. But don’t stop there. Keep exploring, refining, and pushing forward.

Your goals are not static—they should evolve as you do, becoming more precise, targeted, and aligned with your aspirations. So dare to “master a new skill” and strive to “build a happy family.”

Give your goals the power and precision they deserve by harnessing the might of these action verbs. Your road to attaining SMART goals is just beginning. With the right words and mindset, there’s no limit to what you can achieve.

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87 Action Verbs for SMART Goals

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Growing up, one of the things that greatly upset mom was when she instructed my siblings or me to do something, and later, it wasn't completed.  When she confronted us about it, we’d say, “Mom, I’m fixing to do it. ”  

She only wanted to hear that we were doing what she told us to do or to see that it was completed .  As I got older, I hated how we let her down when we weren't focused on accomplishing tasks and how we gave her a hard time at times.

As an adult, I realize that I let myself and others down when I don't put action behind my plans , dreams, goals, etc .  But instead, say “I'm fixing to” and have no real strategy to complete things.

When we speak of “action verbs and SMART goals,” we describe the course of action we will take to complete those goals.   A goal is just a wish without a plan of action .

In this article, we will discuss the benefits of SMART goals, smart goals verbs, the importance of writing and mapping out a SMART goal , and give you 87 Action Verbs for SMART goals.  These words can be used in a statement and will help keep you going in your pursuit to achieve great things.

Table of Contents

The Benefits of Setting SMART Goals

When setting SMART goals, it helps you reach milestones in a specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound way.  Moreover, these goals are clear and fixed goals.   

Many desire to accomplish great things but don’t have a strategy.  As the saying goes, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”   Others set goals, but they are impossible goals that may not be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant or time-bound. 

It's like a person who needs to lose 100 pounds and says they will lose it in 2 months.  The goal may be specific and even measurable.  But it's not very attainable because it's a nearly impossible goal to reach in such a short time.  Therefore, it fails to be time-bound as well.  Causing this line of planning to fall short of a SMART goal but be more of a stretch goal .  And it is not very beneficial.  

However, if we said we are setting a goal for our health and will work to lose 100 pounds in 2 years, or a pound a week.  That goal would be specific, measurable, and attainable.  Then we plan to accomplish it by immediately beginning to incorporate fruits and vegetables into every meal and eliminating soft drinks. 

With everything in place, the goal would be relevant and time-bound. It may also be helpful to break down that two-year goal into 3-, 6-, or 12-month objectives.

Why is it Important to Use Action Verbs When Writing and Mapping Out SMART Goals? 

Smart goals verbs are the fuel in the tank of the vehicle we are taking to follow and reach the destination of our mapped-out goals.

We aren’t simply saying we want or desire to do a thing.  But that we are “going to” build, create, fix, etc.   Smart goals verbs give legs to our goals.  

When writing out your goals, smart goal verbs also determine the process of how you are going to get the desired results you seek .  If you are making plans for small goals, making such detailed plans may not be necessary.  However, when making SMART financial, spiritual, or career goals, for example, that are larger and take more time to achieve, smart goals help you create a roadmap to your desired success.

  • Brainstorm 
  • Guarantee 
  • Incorporate
  • Orchestrated
  • Stabilize 

smart goals verbs | action verbs for performance goals | action words for goals and objectives

Final thoughts on 87 Action Verbs for SMART Goals

When making SMART goals, these 87 words listed are all words that can be incorporated as smart goal verbs when looking to move forward to achieve your career , finance, health, leisure, personal growth, relationship, and  spiritual   goals.  

These words give your SMART Goals momentum, drive, purpose and urgency. You will find conviction in your goals, which will help you succeed. For more on SMART goals and the process of creating smart goals, see our article on  13 Steps to Write & Set SMART Goals .

Finally, if you want to take your goal-setting efforts to the next level, check out this FREE printable worksheet and a step-by-step process that will help you set effective SMART goals .

smart goals verbs | action verbs for smart goals | smart goals examples

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></center></p><p>Strategy | Aug 13</p><h2>Action Plans: Developing Tactics for the Strategy</h2><p>As a result of a strategic planning activity, an organization will likely have 6-12 significant strategic priorities or initiatives identified that combine to move the organization in a specific strategic direction. For each of these priority initiatives, we recommend developing detailed action plans to ensure that each of the initiatives are brought to completion. A comprehensive action plan details the objectives to be achieved, deliverables, the steps, responsibilities, costs and timetables. Action plans have several advantages:</p><ul><li>The organization can confirm that the resources required to implement the strategy are worth the benefit gained.</li><li>The deliverables and steps define for the implementation team when the initiative is completed.</li><li>The organization has a road map for monitoring progress in accomplishing the initiative.</li><li>All action plans can be summarized to identify resource requirements and to develop a resource plan to meet those requirements.</li></ul><h2>The Steps in Creating an Action Plan</h2><ul><li>Assign a member of the strategic planning team (or a department represented by the planning team member) as the “owner” of each action plan.</li><li>Determine the key results (deliverables) for the strategy. Answer the question, “When we are done, what will we have in our hands? What will we have accomplished?”</li><li>For each deliverable, list the major activities in chronological order.</li><li>For each activity, identify the person responsible and due date. In setting dates, you may find it helpful to first put a date on the last activity and then work backward to the first activity.</li><li>If more than one person has responsibility, both names should appear. The name of the person with primary responsibility should appear first.</li><li>For consistency use a “verb-object” format: start each action with a verb followed by the objects acted upon (e.g., “Implement and evaluate first pilot program”)</li><li>Estimate the out of pocket costs to accomplish each activity and the amount of internal time required (staff hours or labor hours).</li><li>Once all individual activities have been estimated, record the total cost, staff hours and due date.</li></ul><h2>Quality Check</h2><ul><li>If all the actions are done, will the deliverables be created and the strategy be completed? If not, additional actions are needed.</li><li>Have you identified the person responsible and the due date for each action? Without accountability, it will be very easy for the strategy to stall.</li><li>Is each action step a clear activity? For example, “analyze survey results” is vague. When is the activity done? Better actions would be “Prepare survey report” or “Develop recommendations from survey results.”</li></ul><h2>Sample Action Plan</h2><p>Do you need help creating a successful strategic plan.</p><p>We combine expert facilitators with a proven methodology to make sure you create a quality plan that gets results.</p><ul><li>Onsite Training</li><li>Open Enrollment</li><li>Virtual Facilitation & Training</li><li>Privacy Policy</li></ul><h2>Host a Public Class</h2><p><center><img style=

The Complete Guide to Writing a Strategic Plan

By Joe Weller | April 12, 2019 (updated March 26, 2024)

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Writing a strategic plan can be daunting, as the process includes many steps. In this article, you’ll learn the basics of writing a strategic plan, what to include, common challenges, and more.

Included on this page, you'll find details on what to include in a strategic plan , the importance of an executive summary , how to write a mission statement , how to write a vision statement , and more.

The Basics of Writing a Strategic Plan

The strategic planning process takes time, but the payoff is huge. If done correctly, your strategic plan will engage and align stakeholders around your company’s priorities.

Strategic planning, also called strategy development or analysis and assessment , requires attention to detail and should be performed by someone who can follow through on next steps and regular updates. Strategic plans are not static documents — they change as new circumstances arise, both internally and externally.

Before beginning the strategic planning process, it’s important to make sure you have buy-in from management, a board of directors, or other leaders. Without it, the process cannot succeed.

Next, gather your planning team. The group should include people from various departments at different levels, and the planning process should be an open, free discussion within the group. It’s important for leaders to get input from the group as a whole, but they don’t necessarily need approval from everyone — that will slow down the process.

The plan author is responsible for writing and putting the final plan together and should work with a smaller group of writers to establish and standardize the tone and style of the final document or presentation.

Sometimes, it’s a good idea to hire an external party to help facilitate the strategic planning process.

John Bryson

“It often can be helpful to have a really good facilitator to organize and pursue strategic conversations,” says Professor John M. Bryson, McKnight Presidential Professor of Planning and Public Affairs at the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota and author of Strategic Planning for Public and Nonprofit Organizations: A Guide to Strengthening and Sustaining Organizational Achievement .

Byson says the facilitator can be in-house or external, but they need experience. “You need to make sure someone is good, so there needs to be a vetting process,” he says.

One way to gauge a facilitator’s experience is by asking how they conduct conversations. “It’s important for facilitators to lead by asking questions,” Bryson says.

Bryson says that strong facilitators often ask the following questions:

What is the situation we find ourselves in?

What do we do?

How do we do it?

How do we link our purposes to our capabilities?

The facilitators also need to be able to handle conflict and diffuse situations by separating idea generation from judgement. “Conflict is part of strategic planning,” Bryson admits. “[Facilitators] need to hold the conversations open long enough to get enough ideas out there to be able to make wise choices.”

These outside helpers are sometimes more effective than internal facilitators since they are not emotionally invested in the outcome of the process. Thus, they can concentrate on the process and ask difficult questions.

A strategic plan is a dynamic document or presentation that details your company’s present situation, outlines your future plans, and shows you how the company can get there. You can take many approaches to the process and consider differing ideas about what needs to go into it, but some general concepts stand.

“Strategic planning is a prompt or a facilitator for fostering strategic thinking, acting, and learning,” says Bryson. He explains that he often begins planning projects with three questions:

What do you want to do?

How are we going to do it?

What would happen if you did what you want to do?

The answers to these questions make up the meat of the planning document.

A strategic plan is only effective when the writing and thinking is clear, since the intent is to help an organization keep to its mission through programs and capacity, while also building stakeholder engagement.

Question 1: Where Are We Now?

The answer (or answers) to the first question — where are we now? — addresses the foundation of your organization, and it can serve as an outline for the following sections of your strategic plan:

Mission statement

Core values and guiding principles

Identification of competing organizations

Industry analysis (this can include a SWOT or PEST analysis)

Question 2: Where Are We Going?

The answers to this question help you identify your goals for the future of the business and assess whether your current trajectory is the future you want. These aspects of the plan outline a strategy for achieving success and can include the following:

Vision statement about what the company will look like in the future

What is happening (both internally and externally) and what needs to change

The factors necessary for success

Question 3: How Do We Get There?

The answers to this question help you outline the many routes you can take to achieve your vision and match your strengths with opportunities in the market. A Gantt chart can help you map out and keep track of these initiatives.

You should include the following sections:

Specific and measurable goals

An execution plan that identifies who manages and monitors the plan

An evaluation plan that shows how you plan to measure the successes and setbacks that come with implementation

What to Include in a Strategic Plan

Strategic planning terminology is not standardized throughout the industry, and this can lead to confusion. Instead, strategic planning experts use many names for the different sections of a strategic plan.

Denise McNerney

“The terms are all over the map. It’s really the concept of what the intention of the terms are [that is important],” says Denise McNerney, President and CEO of iBossWell, Inc. , and incoming president of the Association for Strategic Planning (ASP). She recommends coming up with a kind of glossary that defines the terms for your team. “One of the most important elements when you’re starting the strategic planning process is to get some clarity on the nomenclature. It’s just what works for your organization. Every organization is slightly different.”

No matter what terms you use, the general idea of a strategic plan is the same. “It’s like drawing a map for your company. One of the first steps is committing to a process, then determining how you’re going to do it,” McNerney explains.

She uses a basic diagram that she calls the strategic plan architecture . The areas above the red dotted line are the strategic parts of the plan. Below the red dotted line are the implementation pieces.

Strategic Plan Architecture

While the specific terminology varies, basic sections of a strategic plan include the following in roughly this order:

Executive summary

Elevator pitch or company description

Vision statement

Industry analysis

Marketing plan

Operations plan

Financial projections

Evaluation methods

Signature page

Some plans will contain all the above sections, but others will not — what you include depends on your organization’s structure and culture.

“I want to keep it simple, so organizations can be successful in achieving [the strategic plan],” McNerney explains. “Your plan has to be aligned with your culture and your culture needs to be aligned with your plan if you’re going to be successful in implementing it.”

The following checklist will help you keep track of what you have done and what you still need to do.

Writing A Strategic Plan Section

‌ Download Strategic Plan Sections Checklist

How to Write a Strategic Plan

Once you’ve assembled your team and defined your terms, it’s time to formalize your ideas by writing the strategic plan. The plan may be in the form of a document, a presentation, or another format.

You can use many models and formats to create your strategic plan (read more about them in this article ). However, you will likely need to include some basic sections, regardless of the particular method you choose (even if the order and way you present them vary). In many cases, the sections of a strategic plan build on each other, so you may have to write them in order.

One tip: Try to avoid jargon and generic terms; for example, words like maximize and succeed lose their punch. Additionally, remember that there are many terms for the same object in strategic planning.

The following sections walk you through how to write common sections of a strategic plan.

How to Write an Executive Summary

The key to writing a strong executive summary is being clear and concise. Don’t feel pressured to put anything and everything into this section — executive summaries should only be about one to two pages long and include the main points of the strategic plan.

The idea is to pique the reader’s interest and get them to read the rest of the plan. Because it functions as a review of the entire document, write the executive summary after you complete the rest of your strategic plan.

Jim Stockmal

“If you have a plan that’s really lengthy, you should have a summary,” says Jim Stockmal, President of the Association for Strategic Planning (ASP). He always writes summaries last, after he has all the data and information he needs for the plan. He says it is easier to cut than to create something.

For more information about writing an effective executive summary, a checklist, and free templates, read this article .

If you want a one-page executive summary, this template can help you decide what information to include.

One-page Executive Summary Template

Download One-Page Executive Summary Template

Excel | Word | PDF

How to Write a Company Description

Also called an elevator pitch , the company description is a brief outline of your organization and what it does. It should be short enough that it can be read or heard during the average elevator ride.

The company description should include the history of your company, the major products and services you provide, and any highlights and accomplishments, and it should accomplish the following:

Define what you are as a company.

Describe what the company does.

Identify your ideal client and customer.

Highlight what makes your company unique.

While this may seem basic, the company description changes as your company grows and changes. For example, your ideal customer five years ago might not be the same as the current standard or the one you want in five years.

Share the company description with everyone in your organization. If employees cannot accurately articulate what you do to others, you might miss out on opportunities.

How to Write a Mission Statement

The mission statement explains what your business is trying to achieve. In addition to guiding your entire company, it also helps your employees make decisions that move them toward the company’s overall mission and goals.

“Ideally, [the mission statement is] something that describes what you’re about at the highest level,” McNerney says. “It’s the reason you exist or what you do.”

Strong mission statements can help differentiate your company from your competitors and keep you on track toward your goals. It can also function as a type of tagline for your organization.

Mission statements should do the following:

Define your company’s purpose. Say what you do, who you do it for, and why it is valuable.

Use specific and easy-to-understand language.

Be inspirational while remaining realistic.

Be short and succinct.

This is your chance to define the way your company will make decisions based on goals, culture, and ethics. Mission statements should not be vague or generic, and they should set your business apart from others. If your mission statement could define many companies in your line of work, it is not a good mission statement.

Mission statements don’t have to be only outward-facing for customers or partners. In fact, it is also possible to include what your company does for its employees in your mission statement.

Unlike other parts of your strategic plan that are designed to be reviewed and edited periodically, your company’s mission statement should live as is for a while.

That said, make the effort to edit and refine your mission statement. Take out jargon like world class, best possible, state of the art, maximize, succeed , and so on, and cut vague or unspecific phrasing. Then let your strategic planning committee review it.

How to Write a Vision Statement

Every action your company does contributes to its vision. The vision statement explains what your company wants to achieve in the long term and can help inspire and align your team.

“The vision is the highest-ordered statement of the desired future or state of what you want your business to achieve,” McNerney explains.

A clear vision statement can help all stakeholders understand the meaning and purpose of your company. It should encourage and inspire employees while setting your company’s direction. It also helps you rule out elements that might not align with your vision.

Vision statements should be short (a few sentences). They should also be memorable, specific, and ambitious. But there is a fine line between being ambitious and creating a fantasy. The vision should be clearly attainable if you follow the goals and objectives you outline later in your strategic planning plan.

Because you need to know your company’s goals and objectives to create an accurate vision statement, you might need to wait until you have more information about the company’s direction to write your vision statement.

Below are questions to ask your team as you craft your vision statement:

What impact do we want to have on our community and industry?

How will we interact with others as a company?

What is the culture of the business?

Avoid broad statements that could apply to any company or industry. For example, phrases like “delivering a wonderful experience” could apply to many industries. Write in the present tense, avoid jargon, and be clear and concise.

Vision statements should accomplish the following:

Be inspiring.

Focus on success.

Look at and project about five to 10 years ahead.

Stay in line with the goals and values of your organization.

Once you write your vision statement, communicate it to everyone in your company. Your team should be able to easily understand and repeat the company’s vision statement. Remember, the statements can change as the environment in and around your company changes.

The Difference Between Mission and Vision Statements

Mission and vision statements are both important, but they serve very different purposes.

Mission statements show why a business exists, while vision statements are meant to inspire and provide direction. Mission statements are about the present, and vision statements are about the future. The mission provides items to act upon, and the vision offers goals to aspire to.

For example, if a vision statement is “No child goes to bed hungry,” the accompanying mission would be to provide food banks within the city limits.

While many organizations have both mission and vision statements, it’s not imperative. “Not everyone has a vision statement,” McNerney says. “Some organizations just have one.”

If you choose to have only one statement, McNerney offers some advice: “Any statement you have, if you have just one, needs to include what [you do], how [you do it], why [you do it], and who you do it for.”

During the planning process, these key statements might change. “Early on in the process, you need to talk about what you are doing and why and how you are doing it. Sometimes you think you know where you want to go, but you’re not really sure,” McNerney says. “You need to have flexibility both on the plan content and in the process.”

How to Write Your Company’s Core Values

Company core values , sometimes called organizational values , help you understand what drives the company to do what it does. In this section, you’ll learn a lot about your company and the people who work with you. It should be relatively easy to write.

“The values are the core of how you operate [and] how you treat your people, both internally and externally. Values describe the behaviors you really want to advance,” McNerney says.

There are both internal and external values looking at your employees and coworkers, as well as customers and outside stakeholders. Pinpointing values will help you figure out the traits of the people you want to hire and promote, as well as the qualities you’re looking for in your customers.

Your values should align with your vision statement and highlight your strengths while mitigating weaknesses. McNerney says many organizations do not really consider or are not honest about their company’s values when working on strategic plans, which can lead to failure.

“Your strategies have to align with your values and vice versa,” she explains.

Many companies’ values sound like meaningless jargon, so take the time to figure out what matters to your company and push beyond generic language.

How to Write about Your Industry

When planning ahead for your business, it’s important to look around. How are matters inside your company? What are your competitors doing? Who are your target customers?

“[If you don’t do a thorough industry analysis], you’re doing your planning with your head in the sand. If you’re not looking at the world around you, you’re missing a whole dimension about what should inform your decision making,” McNerney advises.

Writing about your industry helps you identify new opportunities for growth and shows you how you need to change in order to take advantage of those opportunities. Identify your key competitors, and define what you see as their strengths and weaknesses. Performing this analysis will help you figure out what you do best and how you compare to your competition. Once you know what you do well, you can exploit your strengths to your advantage.

In this section, also include your SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis. You can choose from many templates to help you write this section.

Next, identify your target customers. Think about what they want and need, as well as how you can provide it. Do your competitors attract your target customers, or do you have a niche that sets you apart?

The industry analysis carries a price, but also provides many benefits. “It takes some time and money to do [a thorough industry analysis], but the lack of that understanding says a lot about the future of your organization. If you don’t know what is going on around you, how can you stay competitive?” explains McNerney.

How to Write Strategic Plan Goals and Objectives

This section is the bulk of your strategic plan. Many people confuse goals and objectives, thinking the terms are interchangeable, but many argue that the two are distinct. You can think of them this way:

Goals : Goals are broad statements about what you want to achieve as a company, and they’re usually qualitative. They function as a description of where you want to go, and they can address both the short and long term.

Objectives : Objectives support goals, and they’re usually quantitative and measurable. They describe how you will measure the progress needed to arrive at the destination you outlined in the goal. More than one objective can support one goal.

For example, if your goal is to achieve success as a strategic planner, your objective would be to write all sections of the strategic plan in one month.

iBossWell, Inc.’s McNerney reiterates that there are not hard and fast definitions for the terms goals and objectives , as well as many other strategic planning concepts. “I wouldn’t attempt to put a definition to the terms. You hear the terms goals and objectives a lot, but they mean different things to different people. What some people call a goal , others call an objective . What some people call an objective , others would call a KPI. ” They key, she explains, is to decide what the terms mean in your organization, explain the definitions to key stakeholders, and stick to those definitions.

How to Write Goals

Goals form the basis of your strategic plan. They set out your priorities and initiatives, and therefore are critical elements and define what your plan will accomplish. Some planning specialists use the term strategic objectives or strategic priorities when referring to goals, but for clarity, this article will use the term goals.

“[Goals] are the higher level that contain several statements about what your priorities are,” McNerney explains. They are often near the top of your plan’s hierarchy.

Each goal should reflect something you uncovered during the analysis phase of your strategic planning process. Goals should be precise and concise statements, not long narratives. For example, your goals might be the following:

Eliminate case backlog.

Lower production costs.

Increase total revenue.

Each goal should have a stated outcome and a deadline. Think of goal writing as a formula: Action + detail of the action + a measurable metric + a deadline = goal. For example, your goal might be: Increase total revenue by 5 percent in three product areas by the third quarter of 2020.

Another way to look at it: Verb (action) + adjective (description) = noun (result). An example goal: Increase website fundraising.

Your goals should strike a balance between being aspirational and tangible. You want to stretch your limits, but not make them too difficult to reach. Your entire organization and stakeholders should be able to remember and understand your goals.

Think about goals with varying lengths. Some should go out five to 10 years, others will be shorter — some significantly so. Some goals might even be quarterly, monthly, or weekly. But be careful to not create too many goals. Focus on the ones that allow you to zero in on what is critical for your company’s success. Remember, several objectives and action steps will likely come from each goal.

How to Write Objectives

Objectives are the turn-by-turn directions of how to achieve your goals. They are set in statement and purpose with no ambiguity about whether you achieve them or not.

Your goals are where you want to go. Next, you have to determine how to get there, via a few different objectives that support each goal. Note that objectives can cover several areas.

“You need implementation elements of the plan to be successful,” McNerney says, adding that some people refer to objectives as tactics , actions , and many other terms.

Objectives often begin with the words increase or decrease because they are quantifiable and measurable. You will know when you achieve an objective. They are action items, often with start and end dates.

Use the goal example from earlier: Increase total revenue by 5 percent in three product areas by the third quarter of 2020. In this example, your objectives could be:

Approach three new possible clients each month.

Promote the three key product areas on the website and in email newsletters.

Think of the acronym SMART when writing objectives: Make them specific, measurable, achievable, realistic/relevant, and time-bound.

Breaking down the process further, some strategic planners use the terms strategies and tactics to label ways to achieve objectives. Using these terms, strategies describe an approach or method you will use to achieve an objective. A tactic is a specific activity or project that achieves the strategy, which, in turn, helps achieve the objective.

How to Write about Capacity, Operations Plans, Marketing Plans, and Financial Plans

After you come up with your goals and objectives, you need to figure out who will do what, how you will market what they do, and how you will pay for what you need to do.

“If you choose to shortchange the process [and not talk about capacity and finances], you need to know what the consequences will be,” explains McNerney. “If you do not consider the additional costs or revenues your plan is going to drive, you may be creating a plan you cannot implement.”

To achieve all the goals outlined in your strategic plan, you need the right people in place. Include a section in your strategic plan where you talk about the capacity of your organization. Do you have the team members to accomplish the objectives you have outlined in order to reach your goals? If not, you may need to hire personnel.

The operations plan maps out your initiatives and shows you who is going to do what, when, and how. This helps transform your goals and objectives into a reality. A summary of it should go into your strategic plan. If you need assistance writing a comprehensive implementation plan for your organization, this article can guide you through the process.

A marketing plan describes how you attract prospects and convert them into customers. You don’t need to include the entire marketing plan in your strategic plan, but you might want to include a summary. For more information about writing marketing plans, this article can help.

Then there are finances. We would all like to accomplish every goal, but sometimes we do not have enough money to do so. A financial plan can help you set your priorities. Check out these templates to help you get started with a financial plan.

How to Write Performance Indicators

In order to know if you are reaching the goals you outline in your strategic plan, you need performance indicators. These indicators will show you what success looks like and ensure accountability. Sadly, strategic plans have a tendency to fail when nobody periodically assesses progress.

Key performance indicators (KPIs) can show you how your business is progressing. KPIs can be both financial and nonfinancial measures that help you chart your progress and take corrective measures if actions are not unfolding as they should. Other terms similar to KPIs include performance measures and performance indicators .

Performance indicators are not always financial, but they must be quantifiable. For example, tracking visitors to a website, customers completing a contact form, or the number of proposals that close with deals are all performance indicators that keep you on track toward achieving your goals.

When writing your performance indicators, pay attention to the following:

Define how often you need to report results.

Every KPI must have some sort of measure.

List a measure and a time period.

Note the data source where you will get your information to measure and track.

ASP’s Stockmal has some questions for you to ask yourself about picking performance indicators.

Are you in control of the performance measure?

Does the performance measure support the strategic outcomes?

Is it feasible?

Is data available?

Who is collecting that data, and how will they do it?

Is the data timely?

Is it cost-effective to collect that data?

ls the goal quantifiable, and can you measure it over time?

Are your targets realistic and time-bound?

Stockmal also says performance indicators cannot focus on only one thing at the detriment of another. “Don’t lose what makes you good,” he says. He adds that focusing on one KPI can hurt other areas of a company’s performance, so reaching a goal can be short-sided.

Some performance indicators can go into your strategic plan, but you might want to set other goals for your organization. A KPI dashboard can help you set up and track your performance and for more information about setting up a KPI dashboard, this article can help.

Communicating Your Strategic Plan

While writing your strategic plan, you should think about how to share it. A plan is no good if it sits on a shelf and nobody reads it.

Stefan Hofmeyer

“After the meetings are over, you have to turn your strategy into action,” says Stefan Hofmeyer, an experienced strategist and co-founder of Global PMI Partners . “Get in front of employees and present the plan [to get everyone involved].” Hofmeyer explains his research has shown that people stay with companies not always because of money, but often because they buy into the organization’s vision and want to play a part in helping it get where it wants to go. “These are the people you want to keep because they are invested,” he says.

Decide who should get a physical copy of the entire plan. This could include management, the board of directors, owners, and more. Do your best to keep it from your competitors. If you distribute it outside of your company, you might want to attach a confidentiality waiver.

You can communicate your plan to stakeholders in the following ways:

Hold a meeting to present the plan in person.

Highlight the plan in a company newsletter.

Include the plan in new employee onboarding.

Post the plan on the employee intranet, along with key highlights and a way to track progress.

If you hold a meeting, make sure you and other key planners are prepared to handle the feedback and discussion that will arise. You should be able to defend your plan and reinforce its key areas. The goal of the plan’s distribution is to make sure everyone understands their role in making the plan successful.

Remind people of your company’s mission, vision, and values to reinforce their importance. You can use posters or other visual methods to post around the office. The more that people feel they play an important part in the organization’s success, they more successful you will be in reaching your goals of your strategic plan.

Challenges in Writing a Strategic Plan

As mentioned, strategic planning is a process and involves a team. As with any team activity, there will be challenges.

Sometimes the consensus can take priority over what is clear. Peer pressure can be a strong force, especially if a boss or other manager is the one making suggestions and people feel pressured to conform. Some people might feel reluctant to give any input because they do not think it matters to the person who ultimately decides what goes into the plan.

Team troubles can also occur when one or more members does not think the plan is important or does not buy into the process. Team leaders need to take care of these troubles before they get out of hand.

Pay attention to your company culture and the readiness you have as a group, and adapt the planning process to fit accordingly. You need to find the balance between the process and the final product.

The planning process takes time. Many organizations do not give themselves enough time to plan properly, and once you finish planning, writing the document or presentation also takes time, as does implementation. Don’t plan so much that you ignore how you are going to put the plan into action. One symptom of this is not aligning the plan to fit the capacity or finances of the company.

Stockmal explains that many organizations often focus too much on the future and reaching their goals that they forget what made them a strong company in the first place. Business architecture is important, which Stockmal says is “building the capabilities the organization needs to fulfill its strategy.” He adds that nothing happens if there is no budget workers to do the work necessary to drive change.

Be careful with the information you gather. Do not take shortcuts in the research phase — that will lead to bad information coming out further in the process. Also, do not ignore negative information you may learn. Overcoming adversity is one way for companies to grow.

Be wary of cutting and pasting either from plans from past years or from other similar organizations. Every company is unique.

And while this may sound obvious, do not ignore what your planning process tells you. Your research might show you should not go in a direction you might want to.

Writing Different Types of Strategic Plans

The strategic planning process will differ based on your organization, but the basic concepts will stay the same. Whether you are a nonprofit, a school, or a for-profit entity, strategic plans will look at where you are and how you will get to where you want to go.

How to Write a Strategic Plan for a Nonprofit

For a nonprofit, the strategic plan’s purpose is mainly how to best advance the mission. It’s imperative to make sure the mission statement accurately fits the organization.

In addition to a SWOT analysis and other sections that go into any strategic plan, a nonprofit needs to keep an eye on changing factors, such as funding. Some funding sources have finite beginnings and endings. Strategic planning is often continuous for nonprofits.

A nonprofit has to make the community care about its cause. In a for-profit organization, the marketing department works to promote the company’s product or services to bring in new revenue. For a nonprofit, however, conveying that message needs to be part of the strategic plan.

Coming up with an evaluation method and KPIs can sometimes be difficult for a nonprofit, since they are often focused on goals other than financial gain. For example, a substance abuse prevention coalition is trying to keep teens from starting to drink or use drugs, and proving the coalition’s methods work is often difficult to quantify.

This template can help you visually outline your strategic plan for your nonprofit.

Nonprofit Strategic Plan Template

Download Nonprofit Strategic Plan Template

Excel | Smartsheet

How to Write a Strategic Plan for a School

Writing a strategic plan for a school can be difficult because of the variety of stakeholders involved, including students, teachers, other staff, and parents.

Strategic planning in a school is different from others because there are no markets to explore, products to produce, clients to woo, or adjustable timelines. Schools often have set boundaries, missions, and budgets.

Even with the differences, the same planning process and structure should be in place for schools as it is for other types of organizations.

This template can help your university or school outline your strategic plan.

University Strategic Plan Outline Word Template

‌ ‌Download University Strategic Plan Outline – Word

How to Write a 5-Year Strategic Plan

There is no set time period for a strategic plan, but five years can be a sweet spot. In some cases, yearly planning might keep you continually stuck in the planning process, while 10 years might be too far out.

In addition to the basic sections that go into any strategic plan, when forecasting five years into the future, put one- and three-year checkpoints into the plan so you can track progress intermittently.

How to Write a 3-Year Strategic Plan

While five years is often the strategic planning sweet spot, some organizations choose to create three-year plans. Looking too far ahead can be daunting, especially for a new or changing company.

In a three-year plan, the goals and objectives have a shorter timeframe and you need to monitor them more frequently. Build those checkpoints into the plan.

“Most organizations do a three- to five-year plan now because they recognize the technology and the changes in business that are pretty dynamic now,” Stockmal says.

How to Write a Departmental Strategic Plan

The first step in writing a strategic plan for your department is to pay attention to your company’s overall strategic plan. You want to make sure the plans align.

The steps in creating a plan for a department are the same as for an overall strategic plan, but the mission statement, vision, SWOT analysis, goals, objectives, and so on are specific to only the people in your department. Look at each person separately and consider their core competencies, strengths, capabilities, and weaknesses. Assign people who will be responsible for certain tasks and tactics necessary to achieve your goals.

If you have access to a plan from a previous year, see how your department did in meeting its goals. Adjust the new plan accordingly.

When you finish your departmental plan, make sure to submit it to whomever is responsible for your company’s overall plan. Expect to make changes.

How to Write a Strategic Plan for a Project

A strategic plan is for the big picture, not for a particular project for an organization. Instead of a strategic plan, this area would fall under project management.

If you have a failing project and need to turn it around, this article might help.

How to Write a Personal Strategic Plan

Creating a strategic plan isn’t only for businesses. You can also create a strategic plan to help guide both your professional and personal life. The key is to include what is important to you. This process takes time and reflection.

Be prepared for what you discover about yourself. Because you will be looking at your strengths and weaknesses, you might see things you do not like. It is important to be honest with yourself. A SWOT analysis on yourself will give you some honest feedback if you let it.

Begin with looking at your life as it is now. Are you satisfied? What do you want to do more or less? What do you value most in your life? Go deeper than saying family, happiness, and health. This exercise will help you clarify your values.

Once you know what is important to you, come up with a personal mission statement that reflects the values you cherish. As it does within a business, this statement will help guide you in making future decisions. If something does not fit within your personal mission, you shouldn’t do it.

Using the information you discovered during your SWOT and mission statement process, come up with goals that align with your values. The goals can be broad, but don’t forget to include action items and timeframes to help you reach your goals.

As for the evaluation portion, identify how you will keep yourself accountable and on track. You might involve a person to remind you about your plan, calendar reminders, small rewards when you achieve a goal, or another method that works for you.

Below is additional advice for personal strategic plans:

There are things you can control and things you cannot. Keep your focus on what you can act on.

Look at the positive instead of what you will give up. For example, instead of focusing on losing weight, concentrate on being healthier.

Do not overcommit, and do not ignore the little details that help you reach your goals.

No matter what, do not dwell on setbacks and remember to celebrate successes.

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More Like this

Examples of strategic objectives, what are strategic objectives.

Strategic objectives create the big areas of focus for what your organization must focus on to achieve its vision of success. They create the top layer of your organizational strategy and strategic plan’s framework.

They are the big business objectives you must focus on for the next 3- to 5-years.

Strategic objectives are often one of the most challenging components of a strategic plan. They bridge your big, bold vision and the annual goals and actions needed to achieve it.

Download the Free Guide Here

We’ve put this guide together to show you how to develop your strategic plan’s objectives!

Tip The best strategic objectives are built from your SWOT Analysis and Vision Statement. Check out our guides if you need to complete those planning elements first.

Defining Strategic Objectives

Strategic Objectives Defined

Video Transcript – Strategic Objectives Defined

Hi, everyone, its Erica from OnStrategy.

Welcome to today’s whiteboard session on defining strategic objectives. From my point of view, strategic objectives are the hardest part of strategic planning. And why is that? That’s because they’re really in between a big vision and translating that big vision into annual goals or actions. And they make the bridge between the big idea and what’s actually getting done this year, this quarter this week. So strategic objectives serve such an important purpose. And they can take a little bit to get right. This is a two part series, check out this one first.

So we’re going to go through what they are. And the other one, we’re going to talk about how to build them. So let’s define strategic objectives. First of all, you can call them anything you want. We’ve heard them called strategic priorities, strategic goals, pillars, planks, kumquats, oranges, it doesn’t really matter. Today, we’re going to call them strategic objectives. And we are defining them as broad statements of direction. And again, they’re little mini vision statements that translate your vision into a bridge to build an annual plan.

Okay, so broad statements. That’s the that’s the idea. Let’s look at the anatomy of so here’s an example of a really good strategic objective. We like to start with a label. So what is it market share or market growth, let’s just say that, followed by a colon, a strong verb, and a statement of impact, in this case, strengthen our competitive advantage or position. Super simple, this is a little bit generic, you could continue the sentence if you want to, to make it a little more relevant to your organization. But you know, quick talking points, one of the strategic objectives for the organization is market growth. And what we’re trying to get done is strengthening our competitive position. Great.

Then underneath that, and I don’t have it fully built out here. But we like to actually build out an intent, couple of sentences, maybe even a paragraph, and this is really the the sense of where are you trying to go with this strategic objective, it really starts to bring it to life. And we like to have three sections in that intent statement. Where are you now, in the context of this, this strategic objectives in this case, your competitive position, you know, strategic plans have a lifespan.

And so it’s nice to know at the time in which you wrote it, where are you now a couple of sentences? What are the shifts that are needed in order to actually realize strengthening your competitive position? In this case, this will help you build great goals and initiatives? And then what’s the approach? What’s your method for strengthening competitive your competitive position. And by that, I mean, organic acquisitive, those types of things. So you could envision your intent statement, having, you know, a couple of sentences here, a couple of sentences here, and a couple of sentences here. Okay.

How do you use your strategic objectives? There are two really great ways to use them. Number one is you’re going to roadmap your strategic objectives by year and what we mean by that is this starts to become your framework for how do you actually build a plan that has a horizon. Now, in agile planning, it’s hard to have a really long horizon, but you do have a direction. So when this starts to build out your swim lanes, your strategic objectives, start to build out your swim lanes for your plan.

The second thing that you use your strategic objectives for are is building out your annual plan. So of course, for each strategic objective, you’ll have a handful of annual statements. In this case, I’m calling them goals, what are you actually going to achieve in the you know, the year that you’re in in order to move this objective forward? And then so on and so forth. So it starts your cascade? So a really nice thing to think about is strategic objectives answer the question where, and then following under that is the what, and then following under that is the how doesn’t matter what you call them? But absolutely, those are the components that make a strat plan go from a big idea to actually something that’s producing results.

And that’s all we have for you today. Check out part two for an example of how to build a framework with your strategic objectives. Don’t forget, subscribe to our social channels. Happy strategizing.

Strategic goals, priorities, pillars, planks, and strategic objectives— they’re all the same thing! Whatever you call them, they’re a critical component of your plan. For this whitepaper, we’re going to call them strategic objectives.

Strategic objectives are broad statements of direction that create a bridge from your vision to the annual plan or goals. We like to refer to strategic goals or strategic objectives as “mini vision statements” because they should support your overall vision of success but break it down into manageable and actionable focus areas.

Get the Free Guide to Build Your Strategic Objectives (with Examples!)

Ideally, strategic objectives should be broad, 3-year(ish) statements that address the core functional areas of your organization. We’re fans of Kaplan and Norton’s Balanced Scorecard® which guides strategic objectives and the strategic planning process around four key components of your organization, including:

  • Financial Objectives: The financial performance of your organization.
  • Customer: Your customer experience, satisfaction, and projects you provide to your customer.
  • Internal Process/Operational: How your run an efficient organization.
  • Learning and Growth: How you support your team members and stakeholders.

Having a strategic objective for each of the Balanced Scorecard perspectives ensures your business strategy is holistic and comprehensive.

Answer These Questions to Create Intent for Your Strategic Objectives

One of the things we like to complete as we build our new strategic objectives is a statement of intent. We include the answer to the following questions as a short paragraph with each strategic objective to clarify intent:

  • Where are we now & where do we need to be in X years?
  • What strategic shifts are needed to get there?
  • What is our approach to achieve success?

Answering these core questions will help you create your new strategic objectives with clarity about what you’re seeking to achieve and what the cascading goals or OKRs need to focus on.

The Anatomy of a Strategic Objective

Anatomy of a Strategic Objective

Strategic objectives or goals should start with a label. The label should clearly identify what it is you’re seeking to achieve. In this example, we’re seeking to achieve Customer Retention.

Begin your SO’s descriptive statement with a ‘power’ verb: a strong, action-oriented verb. Think “Create” or “Increase,” not passive verbs like, “Confirm” or “Facilitate.”

Statement of Impact

A short description of what you will achieve and how it will impact the organization. This should answer the intent questions from the previous section.

Building a Strategic Framework

Building Your Strategic Framework

With an understanding of the anatomy of a strategic objective, you can build the framework of your strategic management plan. As we’ve mentioned, strategic objectives are the bridge between your big, bold vision and your annual execution of goals and initiatives.

They Are Multi-Year in Nature

No matter what you call them—strategic objectives, long-term business goals, strategic goals—they must be multi-year in nature. You can choose three- to five-year objectives—it’s really about what works best for your organization.

Pro Tip: Annual goals are cascaded from the Strategic Objectives. Check out our guide on SMART goals if you need help writing your goals.

Your Framework Has 6 or Fewer Strategic Objectives

Pro Tip: Unsure how to prioritize your opportunities as you create your Strategic Objectives? Check out this exercise on prioritizing strategic objectives to help.

They Provides Company-wide Direction

It is not a mish-mash of department goals, example: balanced scorecard framework.

This is a traditional balanced scorecard framework. We like this framework because it covers all aspects of an organization and creates a balanced plan:

Tip It is essential to not use words that you found in someone else’s strategic plan! Use the words that are relevant to your organization and its culture and the message you want to send to your team about the investment the plan is making in them and the organization’s future.

Example: Themed Framework

A different way to think about creating a framework is theming your strategic objectives. Here’s what that might look like:

Strategic Objectives Examples:

We prefer to organize these types of strategic objectives into these four buckets and have provided some examples of each:

Financial Strategic Objectives

  • Financial Growth: To exceed $10 million in the next 10 years.
  • Financial Growth: To increase revenue by 10% annually.
  • Financial Efficiency: To decrease expenses by 5%.
  • Financial Efficiency: To increase net profit by 10% annually.

Customer/Constituent Strategic Objectives

  • Current Customers: Expand sales to existing customers.
  • Current Customers: Increase customer retention.
  • Current Customers: Achieve and maintain outstanding customer service.
  • Current Customers: Develop and use a customer database.
  • New Customers: Introduce existing products into a new market.
  • New Customers: Introduce new products to new and existing markets.
  • New Customers: To expand sales to the global marketplace.
  • Customer Services: Improve our service approach for new and existing customers.

Internal/Operational Strategic Objectives

  • Product/Service/Program Management: To have all product meet standard of excellence guidelines. (Some businesses prefer to list their individual products or services as separate objectives.)
  • Operations Management: Capitalize on physical facilities (location, capacity, etc.).
  • Operations Management: Increase community outreach.
  • Technology Management: Increase efficiencies through use of wireless or virtual technology.
  • Communication Management: Improve internal communications.
  • Customer Management: To execute and maintain a CRM process that is producing results.
  • Marketing Management: Develop and implement a promotional plan to drive increased business.
  • Alliance Management: Establish one new strategic alliance annually.
  • Channel Management: Improve distributor and/or supplier relationships.

People/Learning Strategic Objectives

  • People: Employ professionals who create success for customers.
  • Training: To develop the leadership abilities and potential of our team.
  • Culture: To align incentives and staff rewards with performance.
  • Knowledge: To continually learn and adopt current best practices.

Bonus – AI Stragic Objectives

  • AI Reskill: Re-skill and retool our team to work more efficiently with AI while protecting our workforce.
  • AI Efficiency: Create 25% more efficiency using generative AI.
  • AI Product Shift: Enter a new market with a new product not previously possible without AI.

Remember, these are just examples of strategic objectives. Sometimes seeing an example makes understanding the process easier.

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Most CEOs struggle with shifting demands that make keeping their long-term vision connected to weekly priorities chaotic. So we created a framework and software with dashboards to make adapting strategy, goals, and priorities easy. When your team contributes directly to the big picture, you deliver results consistently. Try it for free here.


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very greatful with the source of information provided to me.it has helped me as a student of project planning and entrepreneurship to do the work in relation to my course assignment.

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Makes it easy for me as a student to have a grip of what objectives are and in particular the way they are spelt out. As a PR student am now able answer at least some questions about PR objectrives

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This is also very helpful to me…as a student of Company Management. Thanks a lot.

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This is very detailed, relevant information and very useful to me as a new entrepreneur in organizational consulting! Thank you so much

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very interesting and useful

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Very informative and educative!

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This would really help me in my Strategic Management paper. Thank you!

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this is useful information. i have benefited from it on my studies and strategic objectives planning in my small business.

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Thank You 🙂

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Thank you for sharing such helpful information. I have learnt a lot:-)

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Hey there!!

found it very good and informative. it educates me to set something strategically for the benefit of my organisation and to grow it.

further more i would like to know every organisation having different departments to fulfill particular requirements. say purchase/procurement, finance/accounts, personnel management/HR. I request you to guide on departmental stratagic ideas too.

Thanks a ton..

Regards Amit

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very useful information for strategic planning. the information has assisted me greatly to review ma companys’ strategic plan

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This is great stuff!!!

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Thanks! Very concise and helpful!

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Thanks for positing. Its really very useful info.

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Don’t objectives need to be SMART?

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yes, they need to be. Are they not?

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A well thought out document. Found interesting and useful

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very informative. thank you very much. 🙂

I find this very helpful and just in time for my strategic assignment. Thank you and continue providing such information.

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This is very helpful to me especially now that im doing an assessment on marketing plan

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It was very nice common strategic objectives to start with. Also can add Improve Market Share Increase, Share Holder Value, Brand Image, Customer Satisfaction, Return on Investment (ROI), Decrease Production Time, Increase Quality of the product, Safety Measures like Decrease Accidents, Environmental Measures etc. This will help for new companies.

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Thank you so much! I found this article very much helpful to complete my strategy-management assignment.

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Splendid. Really needed this to improve services for my starting business. Sincerely grateful. Keep it up!

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This was very insightful and helpful. Thanks

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This was very helpful . Sincere thanks

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Really a great stuff as it has helped me as a fresh entrepreneur. Thanks a lot.

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i am glad to see that kind of techniques. these are helpful for a entrepreneur.

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very useful for my strategic analysis of a Ghanaian insurance company. thanks

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very insightful read, thank you

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Can a strategic plan like for instance Operational Excellence tie into objectives and tactics? If so, how?

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Spectacular work <3 very helpful for my studies. Thoroughly enjoyed

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Amazing! Thanks, Everything Strategy, for this helpful blog. I am now knowledgeable about the strategic objectives. I am motivated to pursue my success in the future. Thank you so much!

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Hi, The article is well written and worth reading. Thank you for sharing the valuable information. Please keep sharing more about Financial Goals For A Business!

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Recommended format for defining strategies.

Work colleagues coming up with a strategy for a project

(Adapted from The Executive Guide to Facilitating Strategy )

During strategic planning, as your team arrives at the stage of defining the broad activities – the strategies – your team will undertake to move your vision into reality, we recommend a specific format for writing those strategies.

To ensure clarity of your strategies, use the verb-object-purpose format.

Since strategies are “broad activities” the verb-object-purpose format starts with action (verb), states what is acted upon (object) and explains why (purpose). The sample strategies that follow demonstrate the verb-object-purpose format.

Strategy Verbs

With the verb-object-purpose format, the selection of the verb is important.

With strategies, be sure to start with a “strategy” verb and not an “objective” verb.

The table that follows illustrates the difference between objective and strategy verbs. Verbs on the left column of the table will tend to lead you to describe the results to be achieved. The verbs on the right will tend to lead you to describe the action to be taken. While objectives focus on results, strategies focus on action.

Find more tips, techniques, and hands-on training through our course, Secrets to Facilitating Strategy . Contact one of our experienced facilitators for expert guidance in building your team’s strategy.


Certified Master Facilitator Michael Wilkinson is the CEO and Managing Director of Leadership Strategies, Inc., The Facilitation Company , and author of The Secrets of Facilitation 2nd Edition , The Secrets to Masterful Meetings , and The Executive Guide to Facilitating Strategy . Leadership Strategies is a global leader in meeting facilitation , providing companies with dynamic professional facilitators who lead executive teams and task forces in areas like strategic planning, issue resolution, process improvement, and others. The company is also a leading provider of facilitation training in the United States, having trained over 19,000 individuals.

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Michael Wilkinson

strategic plan action verbs

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Learn Strategic Thinking from Napoleon

Biographers of Napoleon Bonaparte talk about his ability to size up a situation with a single coup d’oeil,(pronounced koo-DOY), meaning “a stroke of the eye” or “glance.” Napoleon was so knowledgeable about his strategic situation—the landscape, the enemy, available technology, similar situations from the past—that he could understand and respond quickly to ever- changing circumstances. …

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Mistakes Made by Strategic Planning Facilitators

Here’s a list of the biggest mistakes that I have seen made by strategic planning facilitators over the years: 1. Not getting sufficiently trained on how to do facilitating, e.g., planning the meeting, goals, ground rules, which techniques to cultivate complete participation, doing interventions, managing conflict 2. Not learning a variety of strategic planning models, …

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LinkedIn founder and triple billionaire Reid Hoffman has two endearing mannerisms that reveal the way he sees–and reasons with–the strategic environment. First, he peppers his statements with the word so. Almost a verbal tic that would grate on a speaking coach like the overuse of the dreaded uh … but he uses it more like …

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Avoid the Silicon Valley Syndrome!

Guest blog from my colleague, Adam Brock, Director of Social Enterprise at Joining Vision and Action (formerly JVA Consulting): How can a well-meaning startup avoid “Silicon Valley Syndrome” and actually use a social startup to create real value for society? Every era has an industry that epitomizes its values. At the turn of the 20th …

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The best decision-makers in chaotic “fog of war” conditions seem able to call on intuition – knowing what to do without knowing why or how they know.

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Moneyball: The Role of the Chief Strategy Officer

Paul DePodesta – role of the  Chief Strategy Officer for the Cleveland BrownsPaul DePodesta was recently named the Chief Strategy Officer by the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League. This is significant because, as any fan of Moneyball knows, Mr. DePodesta has spent his career in the sport of baseball, not football. This matters …

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50 Tips and Tools for Effective Strategic Thinking Skills

To engage in strategic thought, you must think and reflect on the big picture—on the diverse players and forces in your competitive environment. Anticipate the future. Use your right brain for intuition and wisdom, and your left for planning. As Isaac Newton said, “Truth is the offspring of silence and meditation.” Here are 50 tips …

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To Learn Strategy, Know History

When you are faced with the most important and strategic decision of your life, where can you go for wisdom? Can you find insight in a book of history? Facing a world in crisis, John F. Kennedy did just that. Generally, we learn skills by trying something, failing, and trying again until we get it …

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The results are in – Execution trumps strategy. Your business plan may have great strategies, but it will be a great failure if executed poorly. So just hire the right people, right? Turns out the answer is not what you think. At least according to a recent Harvard Business Review Article. Five Myths About Effective …

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340+ Resume Action Verbs & Power Words [For 2024]

Background Image

Language matters in a resume.

Imagine this:

You’re a busy HR manager, and you read hundreds, even thousands, of resumes every day.

And every single one of them sounds the same.

“Responsible for”

“Critical Thinker”

“Team Player”

You’re bound to see these words on just about every single resume.

And guess what? They’re boring.

That’s where power words come in. They make your responsibilities and achievements really pop!

So, do you want your resume to really stand out? Use some of these 340+ action words:

  • Why Power Words Matter

How to use Resume Action Words [+Examples & Tips]

340+ resume action verbs and power words [w/ examples].

  • Resume Power Adjectives
  • Resume Buzzwords to Avoid

Why Power Words Matter 

Power words help show off your top achievements in the best way possible.

Don’t believe us? Let’s compare an example with and without power words.

  • Spearheaded company X’s content marketing operations.
  • Responsible for content marketing at company X.

See the difference?

Both of these examples say exactly the same thing .

The main difference is that the second wording makes you seem a LOT more competent.

Something to keep in mind - power words, action words, action verbs, and so on are synonyms. So, don’t be surprised to see that we use them interchangeably in this article!

Other than allowing you to stand out, action words can also be used to say one thing in different ways. We’ve seen way too many resumes that have “Responsible for” all over the place!

So, instead of:

  • Responsible for managing company X’s Instagram account.
  • Responsible for connecting with influencers in the niche.

You could say:

  • Managed company X’s Instagram account.
  • Connected with popular influencers in the niche.

In this article, we have conveniently grouped 340+ action words to help you upgrade your resume descriptions:

  • Resume Power Words for Team Work and Communication
  • Resume Action Words Management and Leadership Achievements
  • Resume Power Words to Showcase your Creativity

Resume Power Words for Problem Solving Accomplishments

Resume action verbs for research, analysis, and planning.

  • Resume Power Verbs for “Support”
  • Resume Power Words to Use Instead of “Improved”
  • Resume Power Words to Use Instead of “Responsible For”

Resume Action Words to Use Instead of “Worked On”

  • Resume Action Verbs that Mean “Use”

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Action words can really spice up your resume if done right.

Now, we’re going to explain all the do's and don’t of using power verbs...

Which power words should you use? 

The type of power words you use will depend on the position you are applying for. 

Do a detailed scan of the job posting and single out the key responsibilities and requirements. 

Determine which of your abilities and experiences apply to those job requirements. 

Then, look for power words in our list that describe those achievements. 

Pretty straightforward, right?

Although the power words will be specific to the position you are applying for, there are some general rules to follow: 

  • Choose resume power words that can be measured . This way you can follow the power word with a tangible achievement, for example: “ enhanced customer base by 35%.”
  • Don’t use subjective words . “I’m amazing at” , “I’m incredible at” aren’t as pleasing to hear as you might think. These statements make you appear self-involved, which recruiters find appalling. Don’t tell them you’re amazing, show them with a measurable power word!

How often should you use power words? 

Sadly, just like with anything good in life, action words will lose their value if you overdo it. Instead of power words, they’ll just look like sprinkled mambo-jumbo that doesn’t mean anything.

Also, your resume is swamped with power words, your hiring manager might get turned off and think you’re trying too hard. 

A good rule to follow is to not add more than one or two action verbs in a sentence.  

Use them appropriately and moderately. 

Resume Power Words for Teamwork and Communication

If your job was to give guidance or communicate information to a team, you:

  • 2. Advocated
  • 3. Clarified
  • 4. Corresponded
  • 6. Gathered
  • 8. Informed
  • 9. Interpreted
  • 10. Persuaded
  • 11. Publicized
  • Gathered external data for the project-planning personnel and advised on the implementation of capital projects. 

When you were part of a team:

  • 13. Enabled
  • 14. Encouraged
  • 15. Facilitated
  • 16. Fostered
  • 17. Inspired
  • 18. Supported
  • 19. Collaborated
  • Made a $6M merger through collaboration with an international team.

When you supervised a team: 

  • 21. Evaluated
  • 22. Instructed
  • 23. Mentored
  • 24. Motivated
  • 25. Regulated
  • Mentored 5 startup founders in the last 2 years. 

Resume Action Words for Management and Leadership Achievements

When you reach a goal:

  • 27. Achieved
  • 28. Attained
  • 29. Strengthened
  • 30. Initiated
  • 31. Coordinated
  • 32. Developed
  • 33. Managed
  • 34. Orchestrated
  • Coordinated data integrity within the company’s applicant tracking system. 
  • Strengthened the sales and service culture through coaching and guidance. 

When you gave a different approach to solving a problem:

  • 35. Implemented
  • 36. Recommended
  • 37. Overhauled
  • 38. Improved
  • 39. Streamlined 
  • 40. Prioritized
  • Improved and tuned networking equipment and overall computer network. 

When you worked with other people:

  • 41. Motivated
  • 42. Supervised
  • 43. Delegated
  • 44. Chaired
  • Supervised and motivated a team of 5+ sales associates. 

Resume Action Words to Showcase your Creativity 

When you helped the company innovate or launch something new:

  • 45. Conceptualized
  • 46. Designed
  • 47. Devised
  • 48. Determined
  • 49. Drafted
  • 50. Formulated
  • 51. Introduced
  • 52. Initiated
  • 53. Launched
  • 54. Originated
  • 55. Spearheaded
  • Designed a new feature on a mobile equation solving app. 

When you worked on an established idea:

  • 56. Adapted
  • 57. Applied
  • 59. Condensed
  • 60. Customized
  • 61. Fashioned
  • 62. Integrated
  • 63. Modified
  • 64. Patched
  • 65. Piloted
  • 67. Revitalized
  • Built the company sales processes ground-up.

When you introduced a finished project:

  • 68. Displayed
  • 69. Modeled
  • 70. Launched
  • 71. Performed
  • 72. Pioneered
  • Launched an e-commerce website to take the company business online. 

When you worked with data, statistics or numbers: 

  • 73. Audited
  • 74. Budgeted 
  • 75. Calculated
  • 76. Converted
  • 77. Crafted
  • 78. Documented
  • 79. Estimated
  • 80. Inventoried
  • 81. Programmed 
  • 82. Projected 
  • 83. Recorded
  • 84. Verified
  • Calculated monthly and quarterly investment forecasts.

When you corrected mistakes and errors:

  • 85. Debugged
  • 86. Diagnosed
  • 87. Established
  • 89. Rectified
  • 90. Lessened
  • 91. Reconciled
  • 92. Remodeled
  • 93. Rebuilt
  • 94. Upgraded
  • 95. Corrected
  • Debugged internal operating system issues, reducing company cost by 15%

When you kept company processes flowing seamlessly: 

  • 96. Conserved
  • 97. Maintained
  • 98. Operated
  • 99. Regulated
  • 100. Refined
  • 101. Simplified
  • 102. Standardized
  • Maintained design production under an extremely tight budget. 

When you prepared or helped prepare an event:

  • 103. Assembled
  • 104. Conducted
  • 105. Organized
  • Organized meetings and handled all correspondence for the Scranton branch.

When you analyzed a new idea:

  • 106. Experimented
  • 107. Detected
  • 108. Discovered
  • 109. Measured
  • 110. Mapped
  • 111. Probed
  • 112. Searched
  • 113. Surveyed
  • 114. Studied
  • Surveyed and documented weekly performance reports on a new marketing strategy.

When you analyzed existing practices and ideas:

  • 115. Analyzed
  • 116. Assessed
  • 117. Clarified
  • 118. Checked
  • 119. Examined
  • 120. Explored
  • 121.Evaluated
  • 122. Investigated
  • 123. Quantified
  • 124. Reviewed
  • 125. Tested
  • 126. Tracked
  • 127. Convert
  • Converted data into actionable insight, boosting revenue by 5%

When you contributed to solving a problem:

  • 128. Critiqued
  • 129. Diagnosed
  • 130. Identified
  • 131. Invented
  • 132. Proved
  • 133. Solved
  • Provided an extraordinary customer service experience, solved customer issues and upsold other products or services. 

Resume Power Verbs to Use For “Support”

When you were supportive of others through words: 

  • 134. Advised
  • 135. Answered
  • 136. Clarified
  • 137. Motivated
  • 138. Collaborated
  • 139. Fielded
  • 140. Guided
  • 141. Intervened
  • 142. Referred
  • 143. Resolved
  • Motivated co-workers by rewarding positive behavior, encouraging optimism and stimulating teamwork.

When you were supportive of others through actions: 

  • 145. Assisted
  • 146. Contributed
  • 147. Provided
  • 148. Volunteered
  • Volunteered in 3 non-profit social organizations.

When you taught others:

  • 149. Coached
  • 150. Counseled
  • 151. Demonstrated
  • 152. Educated
  • 153. Informed 
  • Consulted 5 startups that became successful scaleups in Europe and together received investments of over €28 million.

Resume Power Words to Use as a Replacement for “Improved”

Did you leave the company you worked for better than when you came in? 

That’s cool, but if you say you “improved” something four times in a row, it loses its impact.

Use the list below to mix it up:

  • 154. Amplify
  • 155. Boosted 
  • 156. Converted
  • 157. Customized
  • 158. Elaborated
  • 160. Integrated
  • 161. Lifted
  • 162. Merged
  • 163. Overhauled
  • 164. Raised
  • 165. Redesigned
  • 166. Refined
  • 167. Remodeled
  • 168. Reorganized
  • 169. Restructured
  • 170. Revamped
  • 172. Slashed
  • 173. Streamlined
  • 174. Strengthened
  • 175. Updated
  • 176. Upgraded 
  • Boosted the AdWords click-through rates (CTR) from 25% to 37% without additional costs, which increased monthly sales by $5,000. 

Resume Power Words to Use Instead of “Responsible for”

Using “responsible for” in a resume gets old fast. Instead, use these alternative verbs that *pop*:

  • 177. Accomplished
  • 178. Acquired
  • 179. Achieved
  • 180. Acted As
  • 181. Completed
  • 182. Created
  • 183. Executed
  • 184. Finished
  • 185. Forged
  • 187. Navigated
  • 188. Negotiated
  • 189. Operated
  • 190. Partnered
  • 191. Performed
  • 192. Prepared
  • 193. Produced
  • 194. Secured
  • 195. Succeeded In
  • 196. Undertook
  • Navigated three simultaneous projects between 3 departments within the budget limit. 

Most of your job descriptions will be describing things you contributed to. This makes it tough to be original and show value.

In this case, you should try to be as specific as possible by giving details about your accomplishments. 

Here’s a list to help you replace the overused “worked on” and show value:

  • 197. Arranged
  • 198. Compiled
  • 199. Composed
  • 200. Constructed
  • 201. Created
  • 202. Developed
  • 203. Engaged In
  • 204. Fashioned
  • 205. Forged
  • 206. Formulated
  • 208. Made Progress On
  • 209. Operated
  • 210. Organized
  • 211. Perfected
  • 212. Prepared
  • 213. Pursued
  • 214. Put Together
  • 215. Set-Up
  • 216. Undertook
  • Created over 25 professional logos for companies in multiple industries, from small startups to large corporations.

Resume Action Verbs that Mean “Use” 

Instead of “utilize” or “use” replace them with these power words:

  • 219. Deploy
  • 220. Employ
  • 222. Handle
  • 223. Mobilize
  • 224. Operate
  • 225. Promote
  • 226. Profit by
  • 227. Put to Use
  • 228. Restore
  • 229. Revive
  • 230. Resort to
  • 231. Specialize in
  • Handled full sales cycle for the company’s three biggest clients.

Resume Power Adjectives [w/ Examples]

Power adjectives have the same function as power verbs, but instead, they are…you guessed it: adjectives .

Unlike power verbs, you can use power adjectives beyond describing Professional Experience.

In this section, we'll cover how to use power adjectives in your resume summary, professional experience, and skills.

Then, we’re going to give you a complete list of the best power adjectives you can use in your resume.

Using Buzz Adjectives in the Resume Summary Section

The resume summary section is a short pitch to your prospective employer. You use it to summarize your most relevant experience, skills, and achievements.

When done right, adding some power adjectives can help your resume summary stand out.

Take a look at these examples:

  • Caregiver with 5+ years of extensive experience. Recognized for providing heartfelt emotional support to clients. 
  • Loving caregiver who has been working in an elderly home for 5 years. The perfect choice for delivering emotional support to clients.

The first example focuses on the candidate’s personal qualities, rather than her skills. Whereas the second example is professional and leaves a much more powerful impact. 

Want to know how to write the perfect summary for your resume?

Check out our complete guide, filled with professional examples and practical tips!

Using Power Adjectives in the Professional Experience Section

When you are describing your professional experience, power adjectives should be used sparingly. 

You already have plenty of action verbs in there, so don’t double down on the power words by adding an adjective. It’s either one or the other. 

Take a look at this example on how they can be strategically placed in a job description:

  • Developed harmonious relationships with 70% of the patients, resulting in higher overall patient happiness.
  • Developed relationships with 70% of the patients, resulting in overall patient happiness.

Using Power Adjectives in the Skills section

Don’t use power adjectives as a skill on their own. Don’t list “Intelligent” or “Professional” as a skill. Those are subjective personal traits.

Instead, use power adjectives only when they affirm your competency in another skill.

For example:

French and German vs Fluent in French and German 

Management skills vs Strong Management Skills 

The Best Power Adjectives [Divided by Category] 

Power adjectives for analytical thinking.

Are you constantly doing work that calls for putting your thinking hat on? 

This list is perfect for describing the detailed, calculating tasks you complete on a daily basis. 

They’re usually valuable for industries that require complicated critical thinking: IT , finance , telecommunications, engineering . 

  • 232. Astute
  • 233. Insightful
  • 234. Methodical
  • 235. Practical
  • 236. Calculating
  • 237. Intelligent
  • 238. Meticulous
  • 239. Shrewd
  • 240. Complex
  • 241. Investigative
  • 242. Objective
  • 243. Strategic
  • 244. Discerning
  • 245. Logical
  • 246. Perceptive
  • 247. Thoughtful

Power Adjectives for Creativity 

Use the adjective list below to describe creative work: 

  • 248. Cutting-edge 
  • 249. Imaginative 
  • 250. Novel 
  • 251. Sophisticated 
  • 252. Elegant 
  • 253. Ingenious 
  • 254. Progressive
  • 255. Unique 
  • 256. First-class 
  • 257. Innovative 
  • 258. Revolutionary 
  • 259. Unprecedented 
  • 260. Groundbreaking 
  • 261. Inventive 
  • 262. Robust 
  • 263. World-class

Power Adjectives for Productivity

  • 264. Accomplished 
  • 265. Economical 
  • 266. Instrumental
  • 267. Skilled 
  • 268. Adept 
  • 269. Expert 
  • 270. Productive 
  • 271. Skillful 
  • 272. Advanced 
  • 273. Fluent 
  • 274. Proficient 
  • 275. Strong 
  • 276. Competent 
  • 277. Ideal 
  • 278. Profitable 
  • 279. Superior 
  • 280. Constructive 
  • 281. Industrious 
  • 282. Significant 
  • 283. Qualified 
  • 284. Cost-effective 
  • 285. Influential 
  • 286. Smooth 
  • 287. Quality

Power Adjectives for Dedication

Recruiters love seeing genuine interest from a candidate. The words below are great for showing your dedication and high-spirits:

  • 288. Committed
  • 289. Devoted 
  • 290. Genuine
  • 291. Sincere 
  • 292. Dedicated 
  • 293. Earnest 
  • 295. Spirited 
  • 296. Determined 
  • 297. Energetic 
  • 298. Passionate 
  • 299. Wholehearted

Power Adjectives to Describe Hard Work

Are you a diligent and driven person? Are you prepared to pull up tiring all-nighters to complete important projects? 

Here are some adjectives that compliment your hard work: 

  • 300. Alert 
  • 301. Driven 
  • 302. Motivated 
  • 303. Thorough 
  • 304. Attentive
  • 305. Enterprising 
  • 306. Persistent 
  • 307. Tireless 
  • 308. Concerted 
  • 309. Focused 
  • 310. Studious 
  • 311. Vigorous

Power Adjectives to Describe You as Organized and Systematic

  • 312. Businesslike
  • 313. Detail-oriented
  • 314. Smooth
  • 315. Systematic 
  • 316. Controlled 
  • 317. Orderly 
  • 318. Step-by-step 
  • 319. Timely 
  • 320. Detailed 
  • 321. Precise 
  • 322. Structured

Power Adjectives for Communication and Teamwork 

Being friendly, understanding and sociable are key qualities for anyone working in a team setting or with customers and clients on a daily basis. 

Use these words to help describe your skills:

  • 323. Amiable
  • 324. Cheerful 
  • 325. Cooperative 
  • 326. Personable 
  • 327. Amicable 
  • 328. Clear 
  • 329. Cordial 
  • 330. Pleasant 
  • 331. Articulate 
  • 332. Coherent 
  • 333. Courteous 
  • 334. Positive 
  • 336. Cohesive 
  • 337. Diplomatic 
  • 338. Respectful 
  • 339. Charming 
  • 340. Conscientious 
  • 341. Harmonious 
  • 342. Team-minded

Resume Buzzwords to Avoid 

Buzzwords are the opposite of power verbs.

They’re boring, overused, and hated by managers world-wide .

Here are some of the most popular buzzwords you should avoid:

  • Hard worker
  • Strategic thinker
  • Outside the box
  • Responsible for
  • Specialized in
  • Results-driven
  • Team Player
  • Detail Oriented
  • In charge of 

Key Takeaways

Here’s everything we learned in this article:

  • You can use power words to spice up your resume and add variety to your language. They are mostly verbs but can also be adjectives.
  • To decide which power words to use, do a detailed scan of the job listing and identify the key responsibilities the employer is looking for. Your power words will be emphasizing how you have shown these traits. Be careful not to use more than one power word per sentence.
  • Try using power verbs more often than power adjectives. It’s all about action!

Looking for more ways to improve your resume?

Suggested readings:

  • How to Pick the Best Resume Format [+ Examples]
  • How to List Education On a Resume [13+ real-life examples]
  • What’s the Best Resume Font, Size, and Format [for 2024]

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Glossary of Strategic Terms

See how a  kpi software package can help.

It is vitally important to have a common language when working in the area of strategy management. Alternate strategic methodologies seems to have a different set of terms to describe essentially the same thing. Where it would be convenient to have an international standard language, the probability of this happening in the near to mid-term future is remote. The most important thing, therefore, is to ensure that at least within the bounds of a company (and possibly extending to the partner and supplier network) your terminology is consistent.

It does not really matter if the term we use for a metric is a Key Performance Indicator or a Performance Measure or a measure or for that matter a metric. The important thing is to agree on one term, document the definition and use it consistently across your organisation.

The following glossary of strategic terms is in common usage today. Each term has a brief definition. This list is not definitive but it does present a starting point and a resource that will get you on the road to creating your own glossary. Let’s hope in the future we will all agree on a standard set of terms.

Alert  – Notifications by email or to a home page, updating users to changes to items that they have subscribed. Examples might include notifications about performance changes or commentary.

Balanced Scorecard  – An integrated framework for describing strategy through the use of linked performance measures in four, balanced perspectives ‐ Financial, Customer, Internal Process, and Employee Learning and Growth. The Balanced Scorecard acts as a measurement system, strategic management system, and communication tool.

Benchmarking  – The comparison of similar processes across organizations and industries to measure progress, identify best practices, and set improvement targets. Results may serve as potential targets for key performance indicators.

Budget  – A description of the funding of existing and/or proposed actions.

Business Plan  -These comprise the Corporate, Directorate, Service and Team plans, which specify the key priorities and activities to be undertaken.

Business Performance Management  – A type of performance management that includes finance, covering compliance issues, competition, risk and profitability and human resources performance management encompassing employee performance appraisals and incentive compensation and other types of performance management include operational performance management and IT performance management.

Cascading  – The process of developing aligned goals throughout an organization, connecting strategy to operations to tactics, allowing each employee to demonstrate a contribution to overall organizational objectives. Methods of cascading include identical (objectives and measures are identical), contributory (translated, but congruent, objectives and measures), unique (unique objectives and measures; do not link directly to parent) and shared (jointly-shared unique objective or measure).

Cause and Effect  – The way perspectives, objectives, and/or measures interact in a series of cause-and-effect relationships demonstrate the impact of achieving an outcome. For example, organizations may hypothesize that the right employee training (Employee, Learning and Growth Perspective) will lead to increased innovation (Internal Process Perspective), which will in turn lead to greater customer satisfaction (Customer Perspective) and drive increased revenue (Financial Perspective).

Critical Success factor (CSF)  – A CSF is a business event, dependency, product, or other factor that, if not attained, would seriously impair the likelihood of achieving a business objective. This term is always included in a glossary of strategic terms 

Customer-Facing Operations  – Encompasses those facets of the organization that interface directly with customers; typically an organization’s sales, service and marketing functions. Also referred to as Demand Chain.

Customer Perspective  – Measures are developed based on an organization’s value proposition in serving their target customers. In many organizations, especially public sector and non-profit, the Customer perspective is often elevated above or placed alongside the Financial perspective.

Dashboard  – A dashboard is a reporting tool that consolidates, aggregates and arranges measurements, metrics (measurements compared to a goal) and sometimes scorecards on a single screen so information can be monitored at a glance. Dashboards differ from scorecards in being tailored to monitor a specific role or generate metrics reflecting a particular point of view; typically they do not conform to a specific management methodology.

Drill Down  – A method of exploring detailed data that was used in creating a summary level of data. Drill Down levels depend on the granularity of the data in the data warehouse.

Economic Value Added (EVA)  – A financial performance measure aiming to determine whether a company or activity has truly created shareholder value; in other words, EVA aims to distinguish real profit from paper profit. EVA is determined by calculating a business’s after-tax cash flow minus the cost of the capital it deployed to generate that cash flow.

Financial Perspective  – The perspective that looks at bottom line results. In public sector and non-profit organizations, the Financial Perspective is often viewed within the context of the constraints under which the organization must operate.

Forecast  – Forecast usually refers to a projected value for a metric. Organizations will often create a forecast that is different than their target for a given metric. There are multiple types of forecasting methods for creating forecasts based on past data and usage of them varies widely across organizations.

Goal  – An observable and measurable end result having one or more objectives to be achieved within a more or less fixed time-frame

Goal Diagram  – Generically used to describe the one-page visualization that shows the different goals of the organization and how they are related. Examples of goal diagrams include strategy plans, strategy maps and process diagrams.

Human Capital  – A metaphor for the transition in organizational value creation from physical assets to the capabilities of employees. Knowledge, skills, and relationships, for example. Closely related to terms such as intellectual capital and intangible assets. Some experts suggest that as much as 75% of an organization’s value is attributable to human capital.

Initiatives  – Initiatives organize people and resources and dictate which activities are required to accomplish a specific goal by a particular date; initiatives provide the how while goals provide the what. As differentiated from projects, initiatives directly support an organization’s strategic goals; projects may or may not have strategic impact.

Inputs  – Commonly used within the Logic Model to describe the resources an organization invests in a program, such as time, people (staff, volunteers), money, materials, equipment, partnerships, research base, and technology, among other things.

Internal Process Perspective  – Internal Process Perspective: The perspective used to monitor the effectiveness of key processes at which the organization must excel in order to achieve its objectives and mission.

IT Performance Management  – A type of performance management that assists organizations with the increasing demands of maximizing value creation from technology investments; reducing risk from IT; decreasing architectural complexity; and optimizing overall technology expenditures. Other types of performance management include operational performance management and business performance management.

Key Outcome Indicator (KOI)  – Often used in the public sector to describe key performance indicators, those metrics most critical to gauging progress toward objectives. KOIs are metrics that are: tied to an objective; have at least one defined time-sensitive target value; and have explicit thresholds which grade the gap between the actual value and the target.

Key Performance Indicator (KPI)  – Distinguished from other metrics, key performance indicators (KPIs) are those metrics most critical to gauging progress toward objectives. KPIs are metrics that are: tied to an objective; have at least one defined time-sensitive target value; and have explicit thresholds which grade the gap between the actual value and the target.

Lagging Indicator  – Backward-looking performance indicators that represent the results of previous actions. Characterizing historical performance, lagging indicators frequently focus on results at the end of a time period; e.g., third-quarter sales. A balanced scorecard should contain a mix of lagging and leading indicators.

Leading Indicator  – Forward-looking in nature, leading indicators are the drivers of future performance. Improved performance in a leading indicator is assumed to drive better performance in a lagging indicator. For example, spending more time with valued customers (a leading indicator) is hypothesized to drive improvements in customer satisfaction (a lagging indicator).

Learning and Growth Perspective  – May also be termed “Skills and Capability.” Measures in this perspective are often considered enablers of measures appearing in other perspectives; therefore, this perspective is often placed at the bottom or foundation of a strategy plan. Employee skills and training, availability of information, and organizational culture are often measured in this perspective.  More latterly, this perspective has included ‘Capacity’ to indicate that it is concerned with more than the human aspect and all includes other physical resources.

Logic Model  – Having gained prominence in the ’90s largely in response to the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA), the Logic Model is now a widely accepted management tool in the public and non-profit sectors as well as the international arena. The model is a roadmap or picture of a program that shows the logical relationships among resources or inputs (what an organization invests); activities or outputs (what an organization gets done); and outcome-impacts (what results or benefits happen as a consequence).

Malcolm Baldridge  – Established by the U.S. Congress in 1987, the Malcolm Baldridge performance framework is a rating tool that assesses management systems and helps identify major areas for improvement in seven categories of performance criteria: Leadership; Strategic Planning; Customer and Market Focus; Measurement, Analysis, Knowledge Management; Human Resource Focus; Process Management; and Business Results.

Measure  (also called metric) – Term to describe a standard used to communicate progress on a particular aspect of a program. Measures typically are quantitative in nature, conveyed in numbers, dollars, percentages, etc. (e.g., $ of revenue, headcount number, % increase, survey rating average, etc.) though they may be describing either quantitative (e.g., sales made) or qualitative (e.g., employee motivation) information.

Metric  (also called measure) – A framework to establish and collect measurements of success/failure on a regulated, timed basis that can be audited and verified. The term used in commercial organizations to describe a standard used to communicate progress on a particular aspect of the business. Measures typically are quantitative in nature, conveyed in numbers, dollars, percentages, etc. (e.g., $ of revenue, headcount number, % increase, survey rating average, etc.) though they may be describing either quantitative (e.g., sales made) or qualitative (e.g., employee motivation) information.

Milestone  – The set of specific deadlines or hurdles that signal progress in completing an Initiative. Milestones include progress/completion dates or % completion rates, key presentations/meetings, and key decision points.

Mission  – Concise statement that describes, in motivating and memorable terms, the current top-level strategic goal of the organization. A mission provides both an internal rallying cry and external validity. Usually financial-, process-, or customer service-oriented, with a mid-term (three to five years) horizon, an effective mission is inspiring as well as easily understood and communicated.

Mission Statement  – A mission statement defines the core purpose of the organization ‐ why it exists. The mission examines the “raison d’etre” for the organization beyond simply increasing shareholder wealth, and reflects employees’ motivations for engaging in the company’s work. Effective missions are inspiring, long‐term in nature, and easily understood and communicated.

Objective or Outcome Scorecard  – A specific application of a scorecard/objective scorecards monitor progress toward a given set of objectives or outcomes using a threshold-based rating scale. Typically, objective status is determined by normalizing one or many key performance indicators and comparing it to a given rating scale.

Objective  – A concise statement describing specific, critical, actionable and measurable things an organization must do in order to effectively execute its strategy and achieve its mission and vision. Objectives often begin with action verbs such as increase, reduce, improve, achieve, etc. Whereas the vision and mission statements provide an organizing and mobilizing “rallying cry,” objectives translate the vision and mission into measurable and actionable operational terms.

Operational Alignment  – The means to and/or state of alignment of an organization’s day-to-day activities with its strategic goals or objectives, operational alignment helps ensure that an organization’s daily activities are advancing its longer-term goals and mission.

Operational Performance Management  – A type of performance management that addresses the growing pressure to increase revenue while managing costs, while meeting ever-evolving and expanding customer demands. Other types of performance management include business performance management and IT performance management.

Operational Reviews  – Usually used to describe the regularly scheduled internal status meetings of an organization. Going by different names based on the organization, manufacturing companies typically call them Operational Excellence (OPX) meetings, other organizations sometimes just refer to them as Performance reviews.

Outcome  – Commonly used within the Logic Model, outcomes (also called outcome-impacts) describe the benefits that result as a consequence of an organization’s investments and activities. A central concept within logic models, outcomes occur along a path from shorter-term achievements to medium-term and longer-term achievements. They may be positive, negative, neutral, intended, or unintended. Examples of outcomes include changes in knowledge, skill development, behaviour, capacities, decision-making, and policy development.

Output  – Commonly applied within the Logic Model, outputs describe what an organization gets done; e.g., “what we do” or “what we offer” and may include workshops, delivery of services, conferences, community surveys or facilitation.

Performance Driver  – Measures that indicate progress against a process or behaviour. These measures are helpful in predicting the future outcome of an objective.

Performance-Based Budgeting  – A performance budget is an integrated annual performance plan and budget that shows the relationship between program funding levels and expected results. It indicates that a goal or a set of goals should be achieved at a given level of spending.

Performance Gap  – The “difference” between actual and target, the trend of the performance or target gap shows an organization’s momentum.

Perspective  – Representing the various stakeholders, internal and external, critical to achieving an organization’s mission. Together, the perspectives provide a holistic, or balanced, framework for telling the “story of the strategy” in cause-and-effect terms. While the traditional Balanced Scorecard includes the four perspectives of Financial, Customer, Internal Process, and Employee Learning and Growth, an organization may choose to modify and/or add to these to adequately translate and describe their unique strategy.

Process Diagram  – Process diagrams typically are used to represent specific processes that are undertaken in an organization and the key steps involved in the process. An example might be a high-level diagram that highlights the customer experience.

Program Assessment Rating Tool  – Developed by the Office of Management and Budget within the Office of the President of the United States, the Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART) was developed to assess and improve program performance so that the federal government can achieve better results. A PART review helps identify a program’s strengths and weaknesses to inform funding and management decisions aimed at making the program more effective. The PART therefore looks at all factors that affect and reflect program performance including program purpose and design; performance measurement, evaluations, and strategic planning; program management; and program results.

Qualitative  – Subjective, as opposed to quantitative (measured). A common source of qualitative metrics are surveys of customers, stakeholders or employees.

Quantitative  – Measured, as opposed to qualitative (subjective). Quantitative measures often come from transactional systems.

Readiness Scorecard  – A specific application of a scorecard, a readiness scorecard can be used to evaluate an organization’s state of readiness/acceptance of a given strategy.

Reports  – Typically show the details of performance for a metric or multiple metrics. Reports are often used to drill down to the root cause of performance issues.

Scorecard  – A scorecard is a visual display of the most important information needed to achieve one or more objectives, consolidated and arranged on a single screen so the information can be monitored at a glance. Unlike dashboards that display actual values of metrics, scorecards typically display the gap between actual and target values for a smaller number of key performance indicators.

Six Sigma  – A quality management and process improvement methodology particularly well suited to process intensive industries like manufacturing. Six Sigma measures a given process by its average performance and the standard deviation (or variation) of this performance, aiming to reduce the occurrence of defects in a given process to a level of “Six Sigma” outside the norm; no more than 3.4 times per million.

Strategic Management System  – Describes the use of the Balanced Scorecard in aligning an organization’s short‐term actions with strategy. Often accomplished by cascading the Balanced Scorecard to all levels of the organization, aligning budgets and business plans to strategy, and using the Scorecard as a feedback and learning mechanism.

Strategy  – Strategy is the way an organization seeks to achieve its vision and mission. It is a forward-looking statement about an organization’s planned use of resources and deployment capabilities. Strategy becomes real when it is associated with: 1) a concrete set of goals and objectives; and 2) a method involving people, resources and processes.

Strategy Map  – A specific version of a strategy plan that adheres to the Balanced Scorecard methodology. Strategy maps depict objectives in multiple perspectives with corresponding cause and effect linkages.

Strategy Plan  – A visual representation of an organization’s strategy and the objectives that must be met to effectively reach its mission. A strategy plan can be used to communicate, motivate and align the organization to ensure successful execution.

Target  – A target is the defining standard of success, to be achieved over a specified time period, for the key performance indicators associated with a particular strategic objective. Providing context to make results meaningful, targets represent the organization’s “stretch goals.”

Task  – Represents details activities or tasks to be carried out to achieve each initiative. It captures information like resources, time , constraints, risk, budgets, milestone, duration to complete the tasks.

Theme  – Descriptive statement representing a major component of a strategy, as articulated at the highest level in the Vision. Most strategies can be represented in three to five themes. Themes are most often drawn from an organization’s internal processes or the customer value proposition, but may also be drawn from key financial goals. The key is that themes represent vertically linked groupings of objectives across several scorecard perspectives (at a minimum, Customer and Internal). Themes are often stated as catchy phrases that are easy for the organization to remember and internalize. For example: Operational Excellence or Customer Intimacy or Strategic Partnering.

Threshold  – A means of describing and/or depicting the performance gap in easily understandable terms. Examples of threshold methods include “letter-grade” (A/B/C/D/F) and “traffic-light” (green/yellow/red). Values  – Representing an organization’s deeply-held and enduring beliefs, an organization’s values openly declare how it expects everyone to behave and are often embedded in its vision.

Value Chain  – The process steps by which a company moves from the identification of its customer needs to customer fulfilment.

Value Proposition  – Describes how an organization intends to differentiate itself in the marketplace and what particular value it will deliver to customers. Many organizations choose one of three “value disciplines” operational excellence, product leadership, or customer intimacy.

Vision  – A concise statement defining an organization’s long-term direction, the vision is a summary statement of what the organization ultimately intends to become five, 10 or even 15 years into the future. It is the organization’s long-term “dream,” what it constantly strives to achieve. A powerful vision provides everyone in the organization with a shared mental framework that helps give shape to its abstract future.

Glossary of Strategic Terms – End

Glossary of Strategic Terms

Hey there, word enthusiasts! Ever wondered what gives sentences their mojo? The answer is verbs, the action-packed heroes of language. Without verbs, our sentences would be lifeless—just a bunch of nouns and adjectives loafing around with nowhere to go.

The Role of Verbs in English

In English, verbs are like the pulse of a sentence, pumping meaning into every phrase and clause. They tell us what's happening, from a simple jump to complex emotional states. And they come in different flavors, too. Today, we're on a mission to explore two of the most fascinating types: action and stative verbs.

Demystifying Action Verbs

What are action verbs.

Let's jump right in—see what I did there? Action verbs are all about doing. They're the ones that get you moving, feeling, and thinking. Whether you're running a marathon or blinking in disbelief, action verbs are at the core of the action.

Examples and Usage of Action Verbs

Imagine you're writing a story. Your character could "walk" to the market, sure. But what if she "struts" or "scurries" instead? Suddenly, you've got a vibe, an image, a mood—all thanks to that snazzy action verb.

How Action Verbs Propel Your Writing

In the world of words, action verbs are your best friends for punchy, engaging writing. They turn the mundane into the magnificent and give your sentences a workout, leaving those lazy passive constructions in the dust.

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strategic plan action verbs

Exploring Stative Verbs

Defining stative verbs.

Now, onto their introspective cousins, the stative verbs. These guys are the thinkers and feelers. They're not about the physical action but rather about states of being, senses, emotions, and thoughts. When you love, you're not doing anything physical—you're in a state of affection. That's stative verb territory.

Stative Verbs in Everyday Language

We use stative verbs all the time without even noticing. You "know" the answer. You "believe" in magic. These verbs aren't about action—they're about existing in a certain state or having certain qualities.

The Subtleties of Stative Verbs

Stative verbs can be sneaky. They often don't play well with continuous tenses because they represent unchanging states. Saying "I am knowing" sounds like you've hit a grammatical pothole. Better to stick with "I know."

The Synergy of Action and Stative Verbs

Blending action and stative verbs for effective communication.

Ever notice how action and stative verbs can dance together in the same sentence, creating a beautiful balance? "I'm eating (action) a cake that tastes (stative) heavenly." Here's to teamwork!

Recognizing Shifts Between Action and Stative Meanings

Some verbs can switch hats. Take "think." You can "think about the future" (action) or "think that movies are great" (stative). It's all about context, folks!

Verb Tenses and Verb Types

The impact of tense on verb use.

Time to talk tense. Verbs are time travelers, and tense tells us when the action or state is happening—past, present, or future. Action verbs often play the field with different tenses, while stative verbs tend to stick to the simple ones.

Tense Shifts with Stative and Action Verbs

Ever heard someone say "I am loving it"? It might sound off to a grammar guru, but language is evolving. Sometimes, stative verbs like "love" get the action treatment for emphasis. McDonald's wasn't wrong; they were just trendy.

Common Mistakes and Misconceptions

Avoiding common errors with verbs.

Okay, let’s tackle some slip-ups people make. Mixing up "lay" and "lie" is a classic—remember, chickens lay eggs (action), but you lie down on the couch (no action there). And don’t get me started on "sit" versus "set." Just remember: You sit yourself down, and you set down the cup.

Clarifying Misconceptions About Stative and Action Verbs

Many believe that stative verbs never appear in continuous tenses, but English likes to break its own rules sometimes. Heard someone say, "I'm loving this!"? That's a stative verb getting the continuous treatment for dramatic effect. Mind blown? Mine too.

Action vs. Stative Verbs in Professional Writing

Leveraging verb types in business and academic writing.

In the buttoned-up world of business and academia, verbs need to wear a tie. Action verbs are your power suit—they show what you or your company can do. Stative verbs, on the other hand, are like the handshake—they express states or feelings that build relationships.

The Nuances of Verb Use in Formal Contexts

But beware, young scribe—don’t get too casual. "We’re loving the new opportunities" might be too laid-back for a formal report. Keep it classy with "We appreciate the new opportunities."

The Role of Verbs in Crafting Narratives

Driving stories with action verbs.

Storytellers, gather 'round! Action verbs are your secret spice. They turn a bland narrative into a thrilling roller coaster. "She sprinted through the forest, her heart hammering" is way juicier than "She went through the forest, and her heart was beating fast," right?

Setting the Scene with Stative Verbs

Now, don’t discount stative verbs. They set the mood, giving your reader the "feels." "She hated the dark forest" plunges you right into the character’s psyche. Combine them with action verbs, and you’ve got a recipe for storytelling gold.

Enhancing Descriptive Writing with Verbs

Painting pictures with words: the use of verbs in descriptions.

Descriptive writing is like painting, but with words. Verbs are your brushstrokes. "The sun sets" is fine, but "The sun drapes the horizon in hues of orange and pink" paints a picture that sticks with you.

How Verbs Shape Reader Perception

Your choice of verb can make a sunset peaceful or melancholy, can make a character lovable or detestable. It’s all in the verb, my friends. Choose wisely, and your reader will see the world through your eyes.

Verbs in Different English Dialects

Variations in verb use across dialects.

Did you know? The English language is a tapestry of dialects, and verbs change their clothes depending on where you are. In some places, people “write to” each other, while in others, they “write at” each other. Fascinating, isn’t it?

How Cultural Context Influences Verb Usage

And it’s not just about geography; it’s about culture, too. The verbs we use are a mirror of our world. In fast-paced societies, action verbs might sprint through sentences, while in more reflective cultures, stative verbs might lounge comfortably within the conversation.

The Educational Approach to Verbs

Teaching action and stative verbs.

Teachers, bless you for navigating the choppy waters of English verbs with your students. Balancing action with stative, ensuring they get the tense right—it’s no easy feat. But the payoff is huge when that light bulb goes on.

Curriculum Design for Effective Verb Usage

For those designing the educational journey, remember to sprinkle your curriculum with a mix of both verb types. Give your students the tools to run with those action verbs and to sit with the stative ones. It's a balancing act that yields articulate speakers and writers.

Interactive Verb Exercises

Engaging with verbs through practice.

Alright, learners, roll up your sleeves. It’s time to get hands-on with verbs. Interactive exercises—like acting out action verbs or illustrating stative verbs—can cement these concepts better than any lecture.

Tools and Resources for Learning Verbs

Thank goodness for apps and online resources, right? They’re like personal trainers for your verb game. Use them to quiz yourself, to play with sentence construction, and before you know it, you’ll be flexing those verb muscles with ease.

Technology and the Evolution of Verb Usage

The influence of technology on language dynamics.

Tech isn’t just changing how we talk; it’s changing our language itself. We're tweeting, we're googling—verbs that didn't exist a few decades ago. It's a wild, wild world of words out there, and tech is driving at warp speed.

Predictions for Future Verb Use

So what’s next? Will emojis become part of our verb lexicon? Will new verbs be born from the latest tech trends? Only time will tell, but one thing's for sure—the English language will keep on evolving, and we’ve got front-row seats.

Now, before we wrap up, let’s answer some burning questions you might have. Stay tuned for the FAQs!

To sum up, action and stative verbs are the yin and yang of the English language. They bring balance and richness to our sentences, helping us to express a wide array of actions and states. Understanding their differences and uses is crucial for anyone looking to master the art of English, whether you're a student, a professional writer, or just an avid language learner. Remember to dance with action verbs, meditate with stative verbs, and always, always keep your audience in mind.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some common stative verbs.

Some common stative verbs include "love," "belong," "know," "prefer," "understand," and "seem." These verbs often refer to thoughts, emotions, relationships, senses, and states of being.

Can action verbs ever be used in a stative sense?

Yes, certain action verbs can take on a stative meaning depending on the context. For instance, "have" is usually an action verb, but in the context of "I have a car," it’s stative.

Why can't some stative verbs be used in the progressive tense?

Stative verbs represent states that are static and unchanging. The progressive tense indicates an ongoing action, which doesn't align with the nature of stative verbs. However, there are exceptions, especially in informal language.

How can I improve my use of action and stative verbs in writing?

To improve your use of these verbs, read widely, practice writing sentences and paragraphs using both types of verbs, and get feedback from skilled writers or language instructors.

Are there any verbs that are always stative or always action?

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    Personality Descriptors. Abstract Accurate Action-Driven Adaptable Adventures Aggressive Amenable Analytical Artful Assertive Believable Bilingual Bold Brave Communicative Competent Competitive Conceptual Confident Conscientious Conservative Cooperative Courageous Creative Credible Cross-Cultural Customer-Driven Dauntless Decisive Dedicated ...

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    The strategic plan generator, the balanced scorecard spreadsheet and Spider Impact. ... Objectives often begin with action verbs such as increase, reduce, improve, achieve, etc. Whereas the vision and mission statements provide an organizing and mobilizing "rallying cry," objectives translate the vision and mission into measurable and ...

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    In the buttoned-up world of business and academia, verbs need to wear a tie. Action verbs are your power suit—they show what you or your company can do. Stative verbs, on the other hand, are like the handshake—they express states or feelings that build relationships. The Nuances of Verb Use in Formal Contexts.