Action Planning: Make the Best Choice

The Impact/Feasibility Matrix provides a proven approach to choosing actions that can have the biggest impact on the problem and that are most likely to get accomplished.

Baseball Hall of Fame player and coach Yogi Berra, said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else.” Using the Impact/Feasibility Matrix will enable you to choose the best actions to end up where you need to be for success.

The Impact/Feasibility Matrix has been critical to the success of my consulting practice because it simplifies the action-planning process. The tool provides a proven approach to choosing those actions that can have the biggest impact on the problem and that are most likely to get accomplished.

Using the Tool

Here’s how to use the tool shown in the illustration above:

  • Set up the matrix with “Impact” on the Y axis: how much the action, if implemented successfully, will help resolve the problem. Impact ranges from “Low” to “High.” “Feasibility”— the likelihood that you will be able to successfully implement the action—is on the X axis. Feasibility also ranges from “Low” to “High.” This creates a four-quadrant matrix.
  • Next, list all the actions you have developed to resolve the problem. Then place the possible actions into the matrix based on their impact and feasibility.
  • Focus on those actions in the quadrant labeled “High Impact /High Feasibility—Do This First!” because they are actions you are likely to accomplish that will resolve the problem. Do not waste time on actions in the quadrant labeled “Low Impact/Low Feasibility—Forget It!” because it’s not likely you’ll complete the action and it would have little impact anyway.
  • Pay attention to those actions in the “High Impact/Low Feasibility—Management Message!” quadrant, because they can have significant impact, but keep in mind that you will need senior management support. If you think you can get help, choose actions from this list. Otherwise, stick with the things you can do on your own.
  • If you have time, look at the quadrant labeled “Do This Next!” These are actions that you can get done (high feasibility), but they have lower impact and should come after actions that are categorized as “Do This First!”
  • Finally, choose one or two actions from the “Do This First!” quadrant that maximize the combination of impact and feasibility, and start your implementation.

The Impact/Feasibility Matrix allows you to quickly and easily identify the actions that are most likely to resolve the problem. Take your one or two high-priority ideas, make them come alive, and they will lead you to success.