It’s not the plan that is important, it’s the planning – Dr Graeme Edwards
I once heard someone say that an outcome without a date was just a wish. People often talk about SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timebound) outcomes. I don’t believe this develops a well-defined goal. When I am trying to get clarity around outcomes, here are the many questions I ask myself:
- What specifically do I want to achieve?
- Do I have control over this outcome? (this is often the killer question as to whether my outcome is achievable. If my outcome is, for instance, “I want to obtain this contract”, then I have set myself up for a fall – because so many other people’s engagement and agendas are dependent on success. So an achievable outcome could be that “I want to prepare the best I can for the meeting”)
- What would success look like?
- How will I know when I have achieved my outcome? – What will be different when it has been achieved?
- How relevant is this to things that are important to me/my organisation?
- How will I measure the achievement of this outcome?
- What resources do I have to achieve this outcome? (me, materials, contacts, networks, stakeholders, other people’s experience/expertise, etc)
- When will I achieve this outcome? What specifically will show that my outcome has been met (or exceeded)?
- What will I be able to do as a result of achieving this outcome? – and what do I get out of not achieving it.
- How achievable to I believe this outcome to be? – this question can be slotted in anywhere and at any time may make you review the outcome from the beginning again.
And when I’ve answered all these questions and am fully prepared to meet my outcome, I ask myself “What is the first step that I have to take?”
Good luck with making that wish (outcome?) come true.