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Outcomes - Thats What You Need to Focus On

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

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

Many business owners and managers allow themselves to bedistracted and diverted from their outcomes. They getinvolved in all sorts of situations that take their "eye offthe ball."

I regularly run a workshop for managers called - "ManagingYour Priorities." At the start of the workshop I ask the managers to draw amap on a large sheet of flip chart paper of all the thingsthey do in their job. They almost inevitably fill that pagewith all sorts of tasks and activities. More often than notthey 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'reultimately judged on. Out of all the tasks and activities onthe page they usually cross only five or six priorities andsometimes less. (You might want to try this exerciseyourself sometime).

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

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 tocommunicate with their senior manager and their othercolleagues in order to minimise the number of tasks thatdon't contribute to their outcomes.

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

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

Some business owners believe that their bank manager orinvestors will understand all the reasons why they haven'tachieved their business outcomes. However, as I'm sure you know, bank managers and investorsonly want to hear that you've achieved what you said you'ddo.

The successful business owner or manager keeps very focussedon outcomes and doesn't allow anyone or anything to divertthem without good reason.

It's also important to focus on outcomes as far as your teamare concerned. Sometimes the people in your team will beonly too happy to do other little jobs and tasks that youask them to do.

I've had salespeople say - "Oh, I'll deliver that to thecustomer, it's on my way." Customer service people will say- "I'll go and talk to distribution or finance departmentabout 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'tconcern yourself too much about how they get there. Now thatdoesn't mean that you encourage a salesman to get a sale atany cost, or a chef to use inferior ingredients. And youobviously don't want a maintenance engineer cutting cornersthat could jeopardise safety.

However it does mean using the thinking part of your brainand not listening to your inbuilt programs. Your people maynot do a job the way you would do it but that doesn'tnecessarily mean it's wrong.

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

I checked into a hotel recently and as I signed thepaperwork the bubbly receptionist complimented me on mycologne. She asked what kind it was so that she might buysome for her boyfriend.

Now I know this hotel chain and this isn't part of thewelcoming speech. I also know that some managers woulddiscourage this level of familiarity between staff andcustomers. But I'll tell you something - as a customer, Iloved it, she certainly brightened my day. Her response wasfar better than some of the stuffy robotic greetings you getfrom most receptionists at the major hotel chains. This receptionist had made me a happy customer and if Iowned this hotel that's an outcome I would want.

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

I believe that two characteristics of successful businessowners 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 yourteam's activities and get them to do things the way you wantthem done, is extremely stressful. It can also mean that youde-motivate the team and then it'll be much harder toachieve your outcomes.

Discover how you can generate more business by motivatingyour team!Alan Fairweather is the author of "How to get More Salesby Motivating Your Team" This book is packed with practicalthings you can do to get the best out of your people . Click here now

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