Be More Effective—Discover Your Input:Output:Outcome Ratio
As leaders, we all want to be more effective in any process, organization, or team that we lead. Many times we work so hard, but seem to go nowhere. Allow me to share with you the input:output:outcome principle which I believe will help you to be more effective.
Input = Your Investment
For me to be able to write this blog regularly, I have to be doing certain tasks. I have to read. I have to file. I have to experience leadership. And I have to think about it and dedicate time to write. I have to marinate on ideas, and discuss them with others. I enjoy the process immensely. I grow from it. And it brings me tremendous joy when I hear from you that something I wrote may have helped.
But if I am not careful, I get will lost in the process. And then it becomes easy to make this process that I enjoy my end-goal. I can easily forget that my ultimate goal is not to read. My goal is to grow and impact others. I sometimes find myself reading so much information that I am not even using. I can come up with so many ideas that I literally cannot do them all. So I can overdo my input. Yes, I can invest too much.
By the same token, I have to be careful not to focus too much on the production and outcome and forget the investing part. This will lead me to become hollow. Empty. If I am not receiving enough input, when I give, there is nothing there of substance.
The same is true when it comes to business or other arenas of leadership. You can invest too much in the infrastructure of your team and organization, but not actually use it to produce the outcome and the results that you want. And many times, you invest too little. For instance, we invest too little in our people or in creating robust systems.
Input is important. However, we have to balance it with the next two elements.
Output = Your Production
Output speaks to the amount of product you are creating. In other words, are things getting done? Whether it’s writing a blog, making a product, or getting new sales leads, are people working and using the input to get things moving?
Many times, you see high input, but low output, whether it’s from low morale, low accountability, or imperfect process. If our output is low, things are not moving forward. We are stalled. We must have output if we are to survive and thrive. Make sure there is healthy and aggressive output all the time on your team.
Outcome = Your Result
Outcomes speaks to the focus of all your efforts. If what you are investing (input) and what you producing (output) does not lead to the right results (outcome), then you are wasting your time.
So we have to clearly define the outcome we expect, and we have to make sure our expectations are being met. For me, my end-goal is not to read (input), or to write blogs (output). It is to impact others so they can lead with excellence. That is the outcome I espouse to.
If I am not careful, I can get lost in the input and output and stay there. I can read, listen and learn, then write and speak to people. But if I am not being attentive and carefully asking myself whether or not I am getting the outcome I want, then I have completely missed the boat. As leaders, we must face reality. We must slow down and ask ourselves and our team constantly, “What is our desired outcome? And, are we getting there?” And go even further to ask, “What can we change to get there faster?”
The effectiveness of your team depends on you. When you balance your input, output, and outcome, you will start seeing vigorous forward progress. Start today.
For Further Reading: