Notes on Implementation
Rex C. Mitchell, Ph.D.

This is a vital, often neglected stage in decision making, organizational change, and strategic management

Note Fortune 500 survey of the ten most frequent problems in implementing a major change (in descending order, with #1 most common):

  1. More time needed for implementation than originally planned
  2. Unanticipated major problems
  3. Ineffective coordination of activities
  4. Crises that distracted attention away from implementation
  5. Insufficient capabilities of the involved employees
  6. Inadequate training and instruction of lower-level employees
  7. Uncontrollable external environmental factors
  8. Inadequate leadership and direction by departmental managers
  9. Poor definition of key implementation tasks and activities
  10. Inadequate monitoring of activities by the information system

There is no question that poor implementation of an excellent strategy can guarantee failure of it. Although some organizational researchers have argued that excellent implementation may be able to rescue even a poor strategy, I don't agree with this (unless you stretch semantics far enough to include strategy modification as part of implementation).

In practice, the measure of a successful implementation is that the chosen changes in strategy or other matters have been made successfully, without creating significant new problems. For a class, since we don't have an organization in which to implement changes, your output will be an implementation plan. This can be a rather simple plan that identifies the major steps needed to make the decision or change in strategy take effect, without creating new problems. As you identify the steps, you should try to anticipate major potential barriers to effecting the change, and include steps to deal with the barriers. The following sections also can help you in identifying action steps.


* For our purposes, it is a sequence of major action steps necessary to make a decision (e.g., a change in strategy) take effect, that answers the following basic questions while considering major barriers to implementation:



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Last modified July 14, 2009 Copyright 1982-2009 Rex Mitchell