Verb: a word used to describe an action, state, or occurrence, and forming the main part of the predicate of a sentence, such as hear, become, happen.
Let’s start by looking at what an action is and isn’t ..
When is an action not an action?
Having studied many thousands of actions over the years it is surprising and slightly scary to realise that many people think you can describe an action without verbs.
I've thought about this a lot and I am pretty sure that the clue is in the name 'Action' - and since verbs are generally what you use to describe 'doing' I can't see how you can describe an action without at least one ‘doing word’.
Tip #1 Actions should include Verbs
Often we see 'observations' being recorded as actions – e.g. ‘The ladder was left in a dangerous position’ rather than ‘Place ladder in safe position’ - certainly there are probably actions which should be taken as a result of these observations but the ideal action should clearly describe what has to be done, in an unambiguous way.
Another regular 'observation' is treating multiple actions as a single action : e.g.
Collate documents for project 'X'
Check documents for ISO 27001 compliance
2 separate processes, potentially involving different people, but you get my point?
We’ve seen whole lists of tasks summarised as a single action – with a single due-by date.
Tip #2 - Keep it simple - one action per action !
It’s worth noting that the principles we describe here apply to all kinds of actions, whether they’re from audits, meetings, HAZOPS, FEEDS … they’ll all benefit from the application of a few simple rules.