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Great Managers Focus on Outcomes Instead of Output

  • By Adela Belin
  • January 8, 2021

Making the most productive and constructive choices for your colocated or remote teams can be a challenge. As a leader, the major bottlenecks that you’re likely to face are waning productivity and unclear messaging. Especially when it comes to team members struggling with communication or not fully understanding what’s expected of them. 

Increasing productivity starts at the management level, ensuring that all team members are on board with company processes. This has a lot to do with internal and external messaging, how you communicate with your employees and customers. 

According to Gallup, highly engaged employees can help a company increase its profit margins by up to 21 percent and the same report indicates that a 17 percent increase in productivity can be achieved. But, how do you achieve highly engaged employees? Is there a secret formula that helps create a streamlined workflow or perhaps it’s a thriving company culture that dictates how engaged employees are? 

We’ve honed in on a few ways that can help you refine your messaging to provide a tailored experience for your customers, alongside keeping your teams aligned with the company vision. First off, it’s important to understand the difference between providing an outcome over a solution. 

Focus on Outcomes Not Solutions

When sourcing talent from an agency or another firm, you’ll notice that they often tell you solutions and how to achieve the desired result. But, they usually don’t tell you what the actual outcome will be. It’s easy to miss the distinction between what’s classed as a solution and what an outcome is. When you become fixated on a solution, it’s like limiting yourself to the constraints of the solution. 

However, when you consider what the desired outcome is and make that your primary goal, you gain perspective towards finding multiple solutions to attain the outcome. This actually helps you to improve your problem-solving capabilities, helping you to become a more versatile company with an agile structure. 

In essence, outputs are what you do to achieve your goal and outcomes are the why. Outputs are all of that hard work your team puts in with the data and metrics to back it up. Outcomes are why your department or team exists and how it impacts your mission, company, and customers in the grand scheme of things. 

Measuring Outcomes Provides Value

In the age of “content is king”, it’s more about providing value to your audience or customer. Value has become a bit of a buzzword in recent years but that doesn’t make the statement untrue. When your teams are creating a new product, whether it’s a digital asset or a tangible item, they’re unlikely to feel motivated by the thought of hitting a target without any meaning behind it. 

When the goal post has been shifted to consider the outcome — that the customer will need this product to solve a specific problem, it promotes innovation. Furthermore, it encourages productivity within the team because they’re motivated by why they’re creating or selling a certain product. 

In software or digital asset terms — just because a product or a piece of content is finished doesn’t mean it will have the effect you intended. It’s important to be clear and intentional about your outcomes in the ideation and planning phase so that each team member is on the same page. 

Focus on what holds value to your customers and employees. What will get your teams motivated is knowing that they are providing a positive outcome to customer’s pain points. 

Can a PESTLE Help?

A PEST or PESTLE analysis is a marketing and business tool that can help your company to visualize the environment that it operates in. If you’re looking to release new products or services, whether they’re physical goods or digital offerings, a PESTLE helps you establish what influences your company in the market. 

To ensure that you’re delivering the right messaging, using the PESTLE tool can help you understand which market factors impact your company. 

PESTLE is mnemonic and each letter corresponds to a word, similar to a SWOT analysis, 

  • Political: factors determined by government officials. Applies to legislation, tax laws, and policies. 
  • Economic: the current climate of the economy on your industry, affects inflation, buying power, interest rates, and foreign exchange rates.
  • Social: demographic and seasonal factors, alongside cultural trends and buying behaviors.
  • Technological: the influence of technology, could relate to AI, big data, automation, and R&D.
  • Legal: internal and external legalities of conducting business within that market.
  • Environmental: includes factors such as Corporate Social Responsibility, eco-friendly processes, and geographical location.

Building the Right Assets for Your Audience

Creating products or assets should have a central focus — providing as much value as possible to the end-user. To help you deliver the most value with your offerings, you need to know your audience inside and out. When you make outcomes your priority; not the ROI, production cost, or even time to complete metrics, you’ll be able to build tailored assets. 

It’s important to make your message clear and personalized to your customers’ needs. To fully engage your customers, there are a wide variety of assets that you can create through writing, video, virtual, and services. 

Your assets should align perfectly with where your customer is in the pipeline. Taking the outcome into account prior to asset creation helps you to gauge which asset will work best for the customer. For example, creating a whitepaper or e-book shows comprehensive knowledge of an industry and highlights skills that position you above competitors. Another way to look at this is to determine which messaging speaks to your customers at each stage of the pipeline. An informative piece of content like a thought leadership article signifies to your customers that your products are services are superior because the decision-makers and leaders within the company are highly skilled and knowledgeable. 

Going back to outcomes, if you’re not focused on how many pieces of content you have for your audience but instead the quality of content and why it’s been created changes the perspective for your teams and audience.  

Increase Your Bottom Line

Measuring your companies KPIs based on outcomes, as opposed to output helps to deliver a tailored customer and employee experience. Determining what holds more value to your customers and team members through an outcome enable you to deliver multiple solutions to a single pain-point. At AND.CO, we’ve created tools for companies and freelancers to streamline workflow. Take a look at our Task Manager which is designed to help you prioritize workloads and improve productivity. 

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