Being Outcome Focused

Feb 17, 2022

Do you know that achieving outcomes is key to successful leadership?

It is one of the most important capabilities that you need to develop, and HOW you achieve your outcomes is foundational to how successful you are as a leader.

The approach you take to achieving outcomes has implications on your customers, your people, your cost base and the speed that your organisation or business grows and meets customer needs.

So it’s worth getting it right. Let's explore these together.

  1.    Have a sense of ownership and responsibility - and be intentional

As a leader in any organisation, you share in the responsibility to make that organisation successful. In this way, even outcomes that other people are trying to achieve are, by extension, your responsibility to.

So it’s important to understand that you are responsible for ensuring that you get results in your space, and also extending that to supporting your peers in achieving their outcomes.

Don’t wait for other people to decide what needs to be done, come up with a plan and implement. This is your job.

  1.    Know what the outcome is for you – what does “good” look like?

Get clear on what results you are going to achieve is key.

You might choose to ask yourself and your team, some questions to support your thinking around this:

  • What would be different if everything was working perfectly?
  • What would it take to make that happen?
  • If everything was working perfectly right now, how would I have reached this point?
  • What needs to change to improve?

Linking “good” to customer or business value gives you a view of the bigger picture and will help you to tie your outcomes to strategy.

Getting your team engaged at this early stage is key, as it helps them to prepare for what is coming and you also benefit from the diversity of thought around what “good” looks like.

  1.    How will you know if you have achieved your outcome? (And first steps to take)

Once you are clear on what good looks like, get clear on your definition of done.

Is it a minimum viable product? Is it when you get your first customer on that channel?

Get clear and then get confirmation. At this stage you will need to take your leader/boss through your thinking and definition of done, and get agreement. At this stage you should also know what the initial steps you’ll be taking are, and what funding, people or other requirements you have.

This is a great opportunity for your leader to further improve on your vision, and needs to be done fairly early in the process, to ensure that you have alignment.

You might want to follow up any discussions around the definition of done with an email, so that everyone is clear on the targets.

  1.         Is the outcome just in my team, or is part of something bigger?

In a large corporate, it’s harder to maintain a view of what everyone else is doing, and in my experience, other teams might also be on the journey that you’re embarking on.

Engage broadly to understand who is already doing what. Who in the ecosystem at work might already be across a similar piece of work (for something that I’m working on, that might be architects, delivery teams, transformation teams, change people, etc)?

This helps avoid duplication, ensures alignment and can give you an advantage to leverage work already being carried out, to support your own goals.

It also gives you the opportunity to socialise your work with the teams that might be impacted or need to support the work effort.

If other teams are working in the same space, put some processes in place to stay aligned.

  1.         Take your team members on the journey – and this includes your peers

Once you are moving forward, keep your team members and your peers informed of what you are doing. This gives them the opportunity to adjust and adapt to the outcomes you are looking to achieve and they are more likely to support your efforts.

If you run off and do things without keeping them in the loop, you run the risk of disengaging them and their teams.

Remember, it’s not just about you achieving your outcomes.

In a team environment, you only win when everyone crosses the finish line.

  1.    Follow up, track and measure progress.

What you measure, you get more of.

Stay on top of what you are doing and keep track of progress.

Think about the best way for you to stay connected with the work and understand what is being done, so that you can support with clearing blockers if needed.

What processes and governance do you need to put in place?

What operating rhythm and cadences are needed?

Is it light touch or more formal?

There is one final point to add – establish the right culture. Have fun with it and don’t get too serious. Teams work harder when they are in a safe, enjoyable environment. So balance the outcomes with supporting your teams and ensuring work is enjoyable.

I would love to hear how you are kicking goals at work 😊

Dive deep into Leadership, elevate your leadership style and get to the next level!


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