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Results. It’s a small word that holds big expectations. We all want results, but do we really know what they are? Do we truly know what we want?

For most people, ‘results’ means achieving something, but therein lies the problem; ‘something’ is not specific; it’s not a defined or expected outcome. I remember once – in my marketing days – working with a client who came up with an absolutely brilliant definition of the success they wanted to achieve: “I can’t tell you what it is, but I’ll know it when I see it.”

OK, so that definition is tongue in cheek, but the story is true, and I think therein lies the challenge of contemporary business. It’s gutfeel, seat-of-the-pants, sounds-like-a-good-idea stuff – rather than deliberate actions aimed at specific, measurable results.

Thankfully, there are a few breadcrumbs that can help us follow the right path to success. Others have walked the path ahead of us and have made it easy to follow in their footsteps.

Thought leaders like Franklin Covey advised us to begin with the end in mind. We can look at this in a general fashion, like just “having a vision” or we can look at it specifically, like “knowing what you want to achieve, by when and how.”

So often, there is pressure to just make a start and work things out along the way, but without a plan that is wasted effort. Boeing builds planes but doesn’t try to fly their planes while they are building it.

Beginning with the end in mind creates an outcomes-focused position that puts us in the starting blocks on the right racetrack, facing in the right direction to run the race of success. Imagine taking up position to run a 100m sprint, only to find you’re facing the wrong way in the middle of a 200m hurdle race.

Beginning with the end in mind is the desired consequences of our SMART goals. For the uninitiated, that’s Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound. SMART.

From there, it follows that what you measure is what you manage to the point of success. It is vital to measure the right activities and to be specific in what you want the outcome to be, being goal-focused. I consulted with one business owner who was convinced her social media strategy was working because she had 1000 likes on her page. A great result if the goal was to gain likes, but the goal was to generate leads. How many leads came from 1000 likes? None. She was in the wrong race and getting nowhere fast.

That is why the excitement my clients feel when they start to work on numbers-based goals is so intoxicating. Suddenly the future is clearer, because the road that gets them there has the right milestones and every step towards that goal is measurable. More important, it is measurable against revenue and winning that race is the best result of all.

Brehndan Botha, ActionCOACH Business Coach

brehndanbotha.actioncoach.com | brehndanbotha@actioncoach.com

Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash