Outcomes - Thats What You Need to Focus On


Successful business owners and managers need to be very clear about what outcomes they want. Whether you call them goals, objectives or targets, these are the factors that you're ultimately judged on. Outcomes determine whether your business is a success or a failure.

If you're an employed manager, you'll find them in your job description or contract and I'm sure your boss will concentrate on them at your next performance review. Outcomes are what you're paid to achieve.

Many business owners and managers allow themselves to be distracted and diverted from their outcomes. They get involved in all sorts of situations that take their "eye off the ball."

I regularly run a workshop for managers called - "Managing Your Priorities." At the start of the workshop I ask the managers to draw a map on a large sheet of flip chart paper of all the things they do in their job. They almost inevitably fill that page with all sorts of tasks and activities. More often than not they surprise themselves with what's on the page.

I then ask them to identify and mark with a large cross, their real priorities, and the outcomes that they're ultimately judged on. Out of all the tasks and activities on the page they usually cross only five or six priorities and sometimes less. (You might want to try this exercise yourself sometime).

What we do find however is that the priorities that they cross are not allocated the time they deserve on a day to day basis. The managers will often blame their senior manager for many of the tasks which divert them from their priorities, which is perfectly fair. However there are many tasks that a manager takes on because:

1. They don't like to say "no" or -

2. They don't trust anyone else to do it or -

3. They just 'like' to do it themselves.

I then spend time in the workshop showing managers how to communicate with their senior manager and their other colleagues in order to minimise the number of tasks that don't contribute to their outcomes.

Many managers fall into the trap of believing that their manager will understand why they haven't hit their target or quota. They seem to think that because the senior manager has handed out all sorts of other tasks, then they'll accept your failure to achieve your target.

Well let me tell you now - they won't!

Some business owners believe that their bank manager or investors will understand all the reasons why they haven't achieved their business outcomes. However, as I'm sure you know, bank managers and investors only want to hear that you've achieved what you said you'd do.

The successful business owner or manager keeps very focussed on outcomes and doesn't allow anyone or anything to divert them without good reason.

It's also important to focus on outcomes as far as your team are concerned. Sometimes the people in your team will be only too happy to do other little jobs and tasks that you ask them to do.

I've had salespeople say - "Oh, I'll deliver that to the customer, it's on my way." Customer service people will say - "I'll go and talk to distribution or finance department about that." You have to keep asking yourself the question, "Is what they're doing helping me to achieve my outcomes?" If the answer is "no" then don't let them do it.

Make it clear to your team what the outcomes are and don't concern yourself too much about how they get there. Now that doesn't mean that you encourage a salesman to get a sale at any cost, or a chef to use inferior ingredients. And you obviously don't want a maintenance engineer cutting corners that could jeopardise safety.

However it does mean using the thinking part of your brain and not listening to your inbuilt programs. Your people may not do a job the way you would do it but that doesn't necessarily mean it's wrong.

I've often listened to a salesperson speaking to a customer and found myself thinking - "That's not the way I'd do it." The temptation then, is to jump into the conversation or speak to the salesperson afterwards. However I've learned to keep my mouth shut, because many times the salesperson closed the business, the customer was happy and it probably was better than I would do it.

I checked into a hotel recently and as I signed the paperwork the bubbly receptionist complimented me on my cologne. She asked what kind it was so that she might buy some for her boyfriend.

Now I know this hotel chain and this isn't part of the welcoming speech. I also know that some managers would discourage this level of familiarity between staff and customers. But I'll tell you something - as a customer, I loved it, she certainly brightened my day. Her response was far better than some of the stuffy robotic greetings you get from most receptionists at the major hotel chains. This receptionist had made me a happy customer and if I owned this hotel that's an outcome I would want.

The successful manager defines the outcomes to the team members and then lets each person find their way of getting there. That doesn't mean you walk away or have no idea what's going on. You need to be constantly out there with the team, watching and listening and supporting what they're doing.

I believe that two characteristics of successful business owners and managers are -

1. They get the job done and

2. They do it in the easiest and least stressful way.

I'm just pointing this out, because to try and control your team's activities and get them to do things the way you want them done, is extremely stressful. It can also mean that you de-motivate the team and then it'll be much harder to achieve your outcomes.

Discover how you can generate more business by motivating your team! Alan Fairweather is the author of "How to get More Sales by Motivating Your Team" This book is packed with practical things you can do to get the best out of your people . Click here now www.howtogetmoresales.com">http://www.howtogetmoresales.com


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