The power of outcome-based focus for effective collaboration at work and how to make it a reality for your people

Ever felt like your team was underperforming because they were spending a lot of time trying to get a grasp of the work and manage the conversations, questions, and clarifications about that work. Did you ever get the sense that if some of that was taken off their plate, they would be a lot more productive and efficient?

This is quite a common scenario that we see play out in teams and companies across the globe.  

People end up spending a whole lot of time, attention and energy trying to get a mental grip on the work to be done. This usually manifests as a lot of side conversations or conversations within conversations, especially where the team uses a chat solution. 

Some people have astutely said that using chat company-wide is like being in a whole day meeting without agenda.  

In order to help your people get out of that situation as quickly as possible, you need to equip them with a solution where side-conversations are no longer necessary. 

The key here is to set up the environment so that everything that relates to a single project is in one place - predictable and easy to find. A working structure that promotes outcome-based focus helps people automatically switch into the right context for the work they are doing - that can help reduce distractions and minimises context switching which we all know is devastating to productivity. 

To set this kind of environment up you need to pay attention to a few subtle but important things that experienced has shown time and again that they make a difference. For example, to have the outcome visible most of the time, or at least a proxy sentence or similar text or image that clearly points to the outcome for the work at hand. This helps orient people faster when they return from an interruption or from a break in their work, and allows them to get back into the swing of things. 

The second way to help people with outcome-based focus is to ensure that both actionable and non-actionable items are found in the same place - in a lot of cases we have seen teams that have a shared todo list or similar project management system, that tracks what needs to be done, or who is to do what, but it doesn’t include reference information or other non-actionable materials.

The result is a lot of inefficiencies as people begin looking for “the document” that they need to refer to. In some cases, they spend time looking for it, and in worse cases, they find the wrong version and end up doing re-work because they’re not working off the latest version of the information. In more extreme situations, people don’t find already their documents, and instead, they end up recreating them again!

We saw the marketing team in a large organisation who had developed essentially the same presentation template three times because nobody could find the existing template that was there all along. 

Do not let your team make the same mistakes. Protect your people's time with outcome-based focus in everything they do. 


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