What Competitive Advantage Does Being Outcome Focused Bring?


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When To Be Outcome Focused

Those that know us, see that Custerian tend to focus on Aligning Purpose to Outcomes. Specifically, here I want to talk about the pros & cons of focusing on outcomes, because it’s something I have always driven, and I imagine you will hear more about as the debate on hybrid working grows.
As I have gone about implementing any change, I constantly ask myself ‘what are we trying to achieve’ to make sure the direction is right – it is so easy to be sent off track by others’ priorities or day to day issues. Or to add a sticking plaster to create a short term fix instead of focusing on the outcome – which should be to solve the root cause.

Why Focus on Outcomes – Especially now

In a nutshell it is because it is a more empowering and engaging way for colleagues to work (if done right) because you shift from micromanaging them at a task level to creating clarity on what the end result is that is needed. This then frees the colleague up to get to the outcome in a way that best suits their skills, which usually is the most effective and efficient way. Solving a long standing issue, their way, is really motivating.

We have been doing lots of Service Design recently where we agree problem statements and then prototype solutions, before creating user stories to support development. The problem statements really help to define what it is we wish to solve and from there, colleagues can create their own ideas of how to meet the desired outcomes.

You need to get to the fundamental Issue/Opportunity

Truly understanding a problem and then suggesting approaches to resolve is great practice – especially when involving the people that are close to the issues and your customers. Then reflecting back on the problem you are trying to solve and making sure that the direction you are moving in supports this works really well.

We create User Stories with clients and these are great for development teams to refer to, ensuring user needs are being met by solutions. Then agile ways of working such as stand ups, help to keep the focus on delivery and ensure accountability.

Now there is a lot in this shift of approach about how you set objectives and also your management style – moving from task allocation / direction to coaching and skill building – Hybrid working is driving a raft of changes in how we manage – if you are not already looking at that, you soon will be! So why not get in the driving seat.

So why do we use an outcome approach

For us its simple – we are brought in to get to an end result. Yes, we could take a traditional consultancy, extract the information, create a solution & set tasks approach. But that leaves no lasting change impact in the client. And we are all about Work Made Better. By understanding the problem or opportunity, we can maintain focus on it. Within our client engagements, the first step is always clarifying the project/outcome ambition.

This outcome led ‘Practitioner’ approach also creates better accountability and transparency on what we have delivered for clients and importantly we pass our skills into the teams we work with – a process we call True Collaboration – which helps us live up to our internal purpose and importantly for clients to see the impact we have had long after we have gone.
I thought I’d share this as we are seeing an increased blurring between work and home life and also there is a lot of pleasure to be had from enjoying the journey as much as there is satisfaction on the end destination. Doing things your way to get to the end result can make the difference.

When not to be outcome focused

Some roles can of course work well being task focused and new starters particularly need direction and support, but once they are clear on objectives, why not try focusing on their outcomes and let them find their own way to get there? This doesn’t stop you from reviewing their progress and offering support as you catch up.

So, What’s Your View?

Has the day of Hybrid working accelerated your thinking on new ways of working or leadership? Does an Outcome Led approach have a role for your organisation?
We always learning… so let me know what you think!

And if you want to start getting more of the right stuff done and see the impact we have made – please do go to www.custerian.com

Beverley Stag
I am a business change lead with a diverse skill set - I take unproductive cost out, whilst driving customer and colleague experience in. I create alignment between your purpose and outcomes through your people - in other words repurpose for profit. I help to get (the right) stuff done at pace and do change with people, not to them, acting as a knowledgeable guide – the contribution of people is intrinsic to the outcomes created. I have worked with many organisations of all sizes to deliver outcomes at pace.


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