Outcomes thinking is starting with desired results before focusing on techniques, and then building techniques to hit those results more directly and effectively. (How’s that for laying it all out?)
Typically, when we (as in the royal we) get to planning anything, we start by making a to-do list.
To picture this, imagine you’re throwing a party to celebrate a new product or service. Your event planning list might look like this:
Email about that
Pick up the thingy
Rent a do-hickey
Call so and so
Sound familiar? We’re not knocking to-do lists, but if they’re the whole of your planning system, you’ve found yourself a colossal culprit for why you’re feeling busy in your business…but not always productive.
Outcomes thinking helps you break this vicious and blind planning cycle.
Here’s your alternative: Practice outcomes thinking and start by making a list of the change you want to create, not the methods you plan to use. As we mentioned in our Why You’re Stuck guide, it’s not about focusing on what you need to do but instead what you want to have accomplished.
If you put this approach into play, here’s what a list of desired outcomes might look like for that same event you’re planning:
Clients: feel appreciated for their patronage
Clients and potential customers: had fun
Potential customers: want to learn more about my offerings
Potential customers: know how to learn more about my product
My business: has 50 new email subscribers
Wow. Suddenly that to-do list you are about to make just got a lot more focused! By zeroing in on desired results first, you create a much clearer picture of more related and valuable tasks that must happen to achieve them. This is how you avoid planning blindly, wasting resources, and hoping for the best but with little control of—you guessed it—the outcomes.
Next time you do anything for your business (like plan a party, craft a proposal, write a tough email, whatever), determine your outcomes first. You’ll stop the busywork and start to make real progress toward getting what you really want.
In our Brand Strong course, we teach the art of outcomes thinking through our secret-weapon planning tool. Everything from why and how the approach makes such a huge difference to the exact steps for using it powerfully every time. But you don’t have to take the course to start making this big shift. Start now and you will immediately notice a difference in the results you can achieve.