Decision implementation is where thought moves to reality. In the previous steps of the decision making process, Frame, Innovate, and Decide, work has focused on generating the clarity for an outcome that will be achieved in the future. In the Manage step, the focus moves from clarifying needs/desires and decision alternatives to decision implementation, generating the envisioned results from the previous steps of the process.
Rarely does a decision sit in isolation. Decisions provide limits for or are constrained by other decisions as shown in our decision making model (also see specific decision networks for business, personal, and consumer). Each choice we make is part of this integrated network, influencing or being influenced by the other decisions we have made implicitly or explicitly.
Decision implementation requires managing the consequences of these networks of related decisions to achieve our desired purpose or intent, individually or as part of an organization. As our three-arrow process logo suggests, the Manage step (shown in the middle) is the set of ongoing activities that manages tasks and communication associated with individual decisions as well as the overall decision network.
Decisions lead to two types of consequences: actions or tasks that result from the chosen solution alternative(s), and guiding requirements that can lead to follow-on decisions needed to implement the current decision. It is important to note that a decision that is not implemented (resourced, funded, acted upon, ...) will not generate the desired future result!
Here are some questions that can help you identify possible consequences for a specific decision.
Guiding requirements lead to additional decisions that can be managed using our decision making process. Before focusing on tasks, we need to address the risks and opportunities for the selected solution(s).
For each risk and opportunity identified in the Decide step, create any tasks that you can think of that would help reduce the risks or enhance the opportunities. Risk and opportunity actions can be handled in three possible ways and the tasks need to be appropriate for the chosen risk mitigation or opportunity acceleration approach:
For high impact and high probability risks it may be necessary to have all three types of actions in place to increase the likelihood of decision implementation success.
It is now time to complete the work you have started as you identified tasks during each step of the decision making process. It is through the actions and tasks identified that decision implementation is realized.
Here is the information that should be captured for each task to enable management of all the tasks needed for success.
A worksheet can be used to prioritize and manage the tasks that lead to decision realization. As you start to make progress on your tasks, expect to add, subtract, and modify the tasks based on new knowledge. Once a task list is in place, it can be used to manage the other connected decisions associated with a specific decision implementation.
Business decision management often has impacts across projects and organizations and is most effectively addressed using the project management tools currently in use within the business.
Most high value decisions will impact a number of people. Using the list of stakeholders identified in the Frame step, it makes sense to develop some mechanisms for communications with your stakeholders as part of your on-going decision management.
Decision management is almost always enhanced by maintaining good communication. Effective communication during the decision making process will help minimize resistance, reduce negative emotions, and enlist support for necessary changes and actions. Plan and include communication as part of the Manage step activities.