Decision-Making - Implement

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All complete decisions must include consideration of the associated implementation plan.   Implementation is often the forgotten part of decision-making.  Some people forget that decisions don't implement themselves.  People implement decisions, and in particular, the decision-maker implements his own decisions or he/she hires others to implement them.   Sometimes, making the decision is the easier part of satisfying a want or need.   Often, the more difficult part of satisfying a need is the work required to implement a decision choice.   Implementation of any decision has costs associated with it.  As discussed in the Rewards web-page and shown in Figure 1,  there is a high correlation between the prospect of reward (satisfaction of wants and needs) and the resources (time, energy, and investment) required to implement them.    Besides the work required, there is also the prospect of uncertainty (risk) that the eventual outcome will differ from what was expected or assumed when the decision was made.   The cost and risk of implementation are almost always criteria that should used to compare and select the best alternative.   If all else were equal, the decision-maker would prefer a low-cost and low-risk implementation.   Those alternatives that offer the prospect of easy and certain implementation should score higher than those alternatives that are hard and risky to implement.  So, every evaluation (comparison) must include the challenge (cost) and risk of implementing each alternative in the candidate set as part of the selection criteria.   The decision-maker may be willing to accept lesser satisfaction in exchange for easier (and less risky) implementation or visa versa.  The decision-maker should screen all alternatives before evaluating them with the question, "Is this alternative implementable and at what cost?"  If the decision-maker is unwilling to pay the cost of implementing any of the alternatives, they should be removed from the candidate  list.   If reasonable foresight and anticipation of the resources required to implement a decision were considered before making the decision,  then after the decision has been made, the decision-maker is ready to take the actions required to implement the alternative selected. 

For decisions that are tough or complex to implement, the decision-maker should have a detailed plan listing all the action steps that must be taken to get from where they are now to the desired end-state.     The more detailed and thorough the implementation plan, the better and fewer the problems that are likely to develop (risks).   The web-pages on risk discuss how to find those steps in the implementation plan that might cause problems if not handled correctly.   Extra caution and supplementary tasks might be needed to reduce the chance of errors or problem but this method is reserved for the risk discussion. 

At any point in the implementation of the alternative selected,   the decision-maker has the option of changing course.   The decision-maker's needs may change, new alternatives might surface, and/or the implementation may prove to be too difficult.  The decision-maker always has the option to change their mind.   The life span to implement any single decision is finite, it has a beginning and an end.   Decisions and their implementation are all part of a continuous, tapestry of successive choice we are all forced to make to stay alive.  We are always responding to life's challenges and opportunities with decisions on how best to deal with it.    All decisions are really multi-period decisions since each decision is at least partially influenced by past decisions just as current decisions will influence future decisions.    All decisions are linked inexorably together during the continuous, temporal span of one's life.     At each moment of our existence, each of us is presented with a near infinite number of choices.  We may not realize it, but at any time, we can always to choose to do something different than what we are doing at the moment.    

The decision-making process is not complete until the decision is implemented.   As long as the implementation is not complete, the decision-making process continues, because it may become necessary to make "mid-course" corrections based on new realities that were not known or anticipated at the beginning.    As discussed in the next web-page (Review), the decision-maker should remain aware of how well the implementation is progressing, so as to remain ready to take corrective action or to change course as demanded by circumstances.  


Website last updated on 10/19/08
Copyright 2005 Charles W. Sooter.  All rights reserved.