Are Outcomes and Impacts old news?


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Is Outcome-Based Planning being passed by Design Thinking, Lean Startup(TM), and the other Innovation chatter that we see? This focus is certainly deserving and a necessary component in today’s marketplace. Where the strength of an Outcome approach takes place is in understanding your customers, markets and most of all the people that you influence. Outcome-Based planning is a compilation of your Target, Influential, and one to one marketing all combined and on steroids.

Outcome-Based Planning does not focus on traditional approaches such as problem solving, activity, process or vision. It focuses on the behaviors and what is important to your partners and customers. Rather than finding a product/market fit, we try to find a market/product fit.

I see a lot of talk about co-creation, open innovation, community, etc. but I see little in the way of programs on how we might create and improve on this type of relationship or cooperation. If anyone thinks managing a sales pipeline or a marketing funnel will create community, I believe needs to re-think their thoughts. Any type of manipulation in the long run will stunt any type of a co-created platform.

I happen to be a big proponent of understanding your own capabilities and working from your strengths, see my musing in the Lean Scale-Up. This leads to a different way of engagement. Though I am not the best at it, I find myself slipping all the time, I think a strength-based approach is the new and a better method over the traditional problem-solving approach.

Another area that we see emphasized a great deal is change management. It is a large part of the strength of Lean. At the heart of Lean is Kaizen or continuous improvement (change). Lean offers us a business process to accomplish this on a company wide basis.

These four components, cooperation, capabilities, change, and strength-based, are supported well by an outcome-based approach. However, we are not viewing these components from an internal view, rather from a view of how our customers and ourselves must behave and interact to accomplish.

When we use the traditional thinking processes mentioned above, we view the customer being driven by our actions. We think of the customer in a static position and seldom address their evolving structure, and the unsettledness that are initiatives my create. We think of what they want to accomplish, mostly from a functional perspective. Do we ask questions that may be termed as Sensemaking? Questions like:

  1. In what ways can this decision be difficult?
  2. How much time and effort is made into making this decision?
  3. How do you assess the situation or broader context of the decision?
  4. What are you already doing well or current expertise that this decision affects?

As you can see, the flow of What’s and How’s versus the drilling down of Why? Why is for solution finding. What’s and How’s are for empathetic search and discovery. As we explore empathetically the Behavior, Attitudes, Conditions, Knowledge, and Status (BACKS) associated with people and the organization surfaces.

In Outcome Based Planning, BACKS is what we measure and monitor. This is how we create a Service Dominant Thinking environment. At the heart of Outcome-Based Planning is not the process of creating the model. That is transactional, GD-Logic thinking. Instead, it is the on-going evaluation of the model that is the driver as we attempt create a co-created value proposition, Service Dominant Logic (SD-Logic). More about that in a later blog post.

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Republished with author's permission from original post.

Joseph Dager
Business901 is a firm specializing in bringing the continuous improvement process to the sales and marketing arena. He has authored the books the Lean Marketing House, Marketing with A3 and Marketing with PDCA. The Business901 Blog and Podcast includes many leading edge thinkers and has been featured numerous times for its contributions to the Bloomberg's Business Week Exchange.


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