"Managing an initiative based on scope and time is like judging an individual's character based on height and weight." -Alex Yakyma
In most circumstances, things are handled from start to finish, beginning to end. A lot of times, jumping to the end only ruins everything that comes before it. It almost defeats the purpose of jumping to the end in most cases. When you choose to find out the outcome in a story, you are likely only ruining it.
Try thinking about it this way:
You begin binge-watching a new show on your favorite streaming platform. Before you can even make it to the middle of the first season, you begin looking it up online to see what the outcome is going to be. When you look ahead at the outcome of a story, you end up with something like this:
Boy meets girl. Boy loses girl.
Girl meets another boy. Boy meets another girl.
Years pass, and in a serendipitous plot twist, boy and girl end up together again.
They live happily ever after.
Obviously, more happens during the story than this, but everything before "they lived happily ever after" becomes irrelevant when you skip ahead. You end up missing out on all the interactions and conflicts that shaped the outcome into what it was.
Spoiler Alert: Your Business Isn't a Storyline
There is one area in your life where skipping ahead is almost a requirement if you want all the pieces to fall into place – your business. A part of running a successful business is looking at every potential outcome for every scenario that may take place. Without a plan, your business may not thrive. Sure, it's possible for you to "wing it" when you own a business and come out on top, but do you really want to take that risk?
Planning For The Outcome
To produce your desired outcome, you have to start by asking yourself what you need to accomplish? Why are you creating this plan within your business strategy, and what do you need to do to execute it successfully?
You can use the graphic to help you create your plan for your outcome:
It doesn't end here, though. Depending on the "output/outcome metric," you may be forced to decide if you will pivot or persist. Anyone up for a game of red light, green light?
- Pivot – Do you go back and change your original outcome or hypothesis to produce the metric you desire? [If either metric is in the RED, you may need to adjust your thinking]
- Persist – Are you making the progress you had hoped for. If so, you should likely persist with the plan of action you have in place. [Both metrics in the GREEN show positive progress]
Here is a basic example of planning for an outcome with both pivot and persist scenarios:
Background Story: You want to begin living a healthier lifestyle. You sign up for a gym membership and with it is a free consultation with a trainer. Trainers are professionals and are knowledgeable in their field, much like you are in yours. They start by asking you what it is you want from this experience.
You sit and ponder this for a moment – what do you want from this experience?
Losing weight would be nice, but so would building up your strength. You have always wanted to run in a marathon, so building up stamina would be important, too. Where do you begin?
Scenario #1 – Pivot or Persist?
Your first stop on the healthy train is to lose some weight. Your trainer says to start small, so your outcome is to lose 5 pounds before your free trial ends.
Visit the gym three times a week and work the routine provided by the trainer, including the 30 minutes of cardio.
You are visiting the gym three times a week and working the routine, even the cardo.
You have gained a few pounds since your initial weigh-in.
Getting healthy is no easy feat to accomplish, and sometimes we forget about the answers that are right in front of us. Have you changed your eating habits? Maybe to make this plan work, you need to include diet in your hypothesis and reevaluate after giving it a try. For this scenario, you need to pivot – find another way to accomplish the outcome or change the outcome itself.
Scenario #2 – Pivot or Persist?
You want to change your eating habits and increase your core strength before starting any major workout regimen.
You will start looking at the labels, follow a pre-planned diet, and practice core strengthening exercises like yoga.
You visit the yoga studio every morning as a way to start your day in the best mood possible. You are watching what you eat and adhere to the special diet formulated specifically for your goals.
You are noticing more energy, a healthier weight loss, better core strength, and overall, you feel better.
In this scenario, you are likely to persist. You want to keep doing what you are doing and produce the outcome metric you have been producing. You can make the conjecture that on this route, you are likely to succeed.
Why Planning The Outcome is Important
The purpose of starting with what you want to happen is so that you can work backward. You know what you want to accomplish, so what steps need to be taken to reach that outcome? Guess what? There is no right or wrong answer – except for inactivity. As long as you know where you want to go, you can adjust what you are doing to ensure your path heads in the right direction. There will be times when you won't follow the plan to your desired outcome to a "T," but overall, you should be able to adjust when you see things veering off course.
There is no such thing as a perfect plan. There are too many variables that can pop up, influencing the path of your business plan. Strategically following the plan and continuously monitoring it can help you catch the changes before they become problems that upset your eventual outcome. You are the one in control of your ultimate outcome.