Outcomes and process the cornerstones of productivity: what you produce (or deliver) and how you produce (or deliver) it.
Most of us get stuck in one or the other; sometimes in both.
Yesterday I shared several ways we get stuck with process. Today I’m addressing outcomes.
Part 2: The Problems With Your Outcomes
(1) Outcome is undefined or unclear
We often tend to focus on strict “goals” or loose “intentions” or “desires.” (I’m not even going near “resolutions”).
Intentions, desires and goals all have a place. Even resolutions have a place — when they are actual resolutions. But you must start with defining your outcome.
An outcome is a specific, tangible result that you are committed to achieving. But it’s not a goal, not even a SMART goal.
Defining the outcome is the first step in my process with every client, whether I’m helping them buy or sell their home, navigate a change in their career or job, market their product or course, price their offerings, decide on marketing strategies, create a path to sustainable behavior change.
I define outcomes for the various areas of my life, for individual projects, for conversations, negotiations, for everything.
I learned this from Tony Robbins. He teaches it in his Time of Your Life program, and over 7 years of serving on the crew at his events, I’ve seen how the outcome-focused approach is embedded into the culture.
If you’re accustomed to setting goals, look at your goals and question them:
- Why do you want that goal?
- What do you believe it will get you?
- What’s the actual result you desire?
(2) Outcome is not aligned with vision
Your vision — for your life, business, relationships, company — is the big target to which your life force energy should be directed. If your outcomes aren’t aligned with your vision you will find yourself stuck. Just like a train can’t move forward if it falls off the tracks, misalignment in any area is how we get stuck.
(3) Outcome not backed up by a compelling purpose
If an outcome is the destination, the purpose is the fuel for the journey. Why do you want this outcome? Why does it matter to you? Why must you achieve this outcome? A compelling purpose is essential.
(4) Outcome conflicts with values
Our personal values are the guiding force for our actions. If we have an outcome that isn’t aligned with our values, we will end up on one of two paths.
We may engage in self-sabotage to keep us from the outcome. Or, we will “power through” to meet the outcome at a cost to our integrity.
The second path may look like achievement, but it feels unfulfilling and often leads to the disconnection of spirit that causes burnout.
(5) Outcomes in conflict with each other
At any given time we are working toward several outcomes across all areas our lives and business.
Sometimes one action can serve multiple outcomes at once. This is a crucial factor in creating sustainable daily practices, which I teach in The Ritual Revolution.
For example, my Fitness First ritual serves my outcome of staying healthy and being in peak shape. It also helps me focus my attention and focus, and manage ADHD challenges. And it unlocks my creative idea flow. Tying this behavior to multiple outcomes is a crucial factor in my ability to stick to my daily exercise plan for over 4 years.
The problem arises when we have outcomes in conflict. This will cause us to self-sabotage in one or more areas.
(6) Outcome conflicts with beliefs
Often, a conflict in outcomes is really a mask for a conflict in beliefs underlying those outcomes. But even a single outcome may conflict with our beliefs. We may struggle to achieve an outcome because on some level we do not believe it is possible to achieve it.
The conflict may arise from beliefs that others have. For example, we may have no frame of reference for our desired outcome, and we believe others who tell us it’s not possible, which, of course, is just an expression of their limiting beliefs or limited vision.
(7) Outcome conflicts with Process
I mentioned this in my article about process, and it fits here too. Process and outcome work together. They must be aligned.
Ideally, we define our outcomes before we determine our process. In reality, that often doesn’t happen.
We seek to shortcut the path by learning from others. “How to” is a big business. We read books or take courses to learn someone else’s process, as a way to model the path to success. That can be a great strategy, if it’s aligned for you.
The problem arises when we apply someone else’s process in our lives or business without considering whether their process is aligned with our outcomes.
Your process must be aligned with your outcome.
Is outcome-based thinking new for you? What other challenges do you see in making progress towards your outcomes? Please share your thoughts and responses in the comments.