How do you drive optimal performance? What does it take to get the best response from your people? Should the emphasis be on the activity (doing) or the result (outcome)? What’s the difference you might ask? Aren’t they just similar means to the same end?
If you were to ask high performers how they prefer to be judged they will say “tell me what you want and let me go do it”. They want to be judged on the result and given the autonomy to determine the activities necessary in achieving it. This is not to suggest that the activities aren’t considered or reviewed, but rather they see a results focus approach as being the right thing to do. The benefits of this “results” approach are:
There is a natural requirement to understand how this ties in with the overall direction. This greater sense of purpose, in addition to the autonomy that comes with it, provides for a much higher level of motivation to succeed.
People have to step up in terms of their knowledge, understanding and mastery of what they do. Consequently they are more likely to model this positive behavior to other people around them.
The simple act of saying “this is the result that is needed and I trust in your ability to go do it” speaks for itself.
It is clearly defined and it is apparent to the individual whether a goal or target has been achieved or not. Activities can be very subjective and often open to a boss’s interpretation of what constitutes success; results are clear.
Conversations around successful results can be very short. When something goes wrong this helps to prioritize the time necessary to review activities.
Managing by activities is often viewed as micro managing. Adopting a results focused approach inherently brings the best out of people which in turn feeds an optimal performance.