A successful decision implementation plan creates a positive action crucial for living up to promises and for building the credibility necessary for successfully implementing additional business decisions. On the other hand, failing to act on a decision erodes trust and can make implementing future business decisions more difficult. Although the steps for the decision implementation plan follow a similar course for many businesses, the size of a business, its organizational structure and communication patterns all factor into the process.

Phases in Decision Implementation

The four major phases or steps in a decision implementation plan start by identifying the step-by-step actions required to carry out the decision. The next phase consists of informing those who will be affected by the decision and, when necessary, gathering the support necessary for a successful implementation. The final two phases focus on identifying and allocating whatever tangible and intangible resources are required and setting a timeframe for implementation. It’s important to be mindful that even though communication is a distinct implementation phase, good communication is necessary throughout the process.

Action Step Identification

The activities involved in decision implementation often are categorized according to whether they are physical or administrative in nature. For example, a decision to change a specific business process includes not only physical actions required to complete the process, but may also include on-the-job or classroom training. Administrative actions are necessary to create, test the new procedures and publicize the new process. Action step identification determines what will happen, how long it will take and where it will occur. This phase also works to identify major and minor constraints such as time, resource availability and employee attitudes.

Communication Strategy

A small business with an informal, flat organizational structure and multi-directional communication pattern often makes and implements business decisions as team. Employees in a small business most often are more involved in making and influencing business decisions. While full participation can making arriving at a final decision more difficult, it often makes getting full support and a buy-in during the implementation phase significantly easier. Unlike a large business where, because most decisions are made at the top and trickle down to employees, a decision communication strategy must both inform and persuade, a communication strategy in a small business might need to include only regular updates.

Full vs. Phased Decision Implementation

The number of action steps required to implement a decision, as well as any identified resource or funding constraints, may require a phased implementation plan. Breaking implementation into groups of related tasks can be helpful when successful implementation requires training, some degree of flexibility or a period of evaluation before completing additional steps. For example, a small business might choose to transfer customer information from a manual spreadsheet to a computerized database and electronic customer relationship management system using a phased implementation plan. Not only will this allow time for training, it also provides time to evaluate and work out any issues before fully implementing the system.