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There are nine questions you need to ask when working with outcomes. These are known as 'the well-formed conditions.' When you have thought them through, then your outcome will be realistic, achievable and motivating. These conditions apply best to individual outcomes.
1. In the positive: What do you want?
Always ask yourself what you want, not what you don't want - avoid the negative. You turn a negative into a positive outcome by asking yourself; 'What do I want instead? and What will this do for me?'
2. Evidence: How will you know you are succeeding/have succeeded?
It is important to know you are on track. Ask yourself; 'How will I know when I have achieved the outcome? What am I going to measure? How will I know when I have achieved this outcome? What will I see hear or feel?
3. Specifics: Where, when and with whom?
Where specifically do you want the outcome. Ask yourself 'Where specifically do I want this? When specifically do I want this? In what context do I want this?
4. Resources: What resources do you have?
List your resources. They will fall into five categories, some more relevant than others, depending on your outcome. Resources - equipment you have already. People - business colleagues, family, friends and other contacts. Role models - Do you have anyone who has already succeeded in getting the outcome? Think of all your personal skills and capabilities. Personal qualities - What qualities do you have or need to develop to achieve the outcome? Think of all your personal skills and capabilities. Money - Do you have enough? Can you raise enough?
5. Control: Can you start and maintain this outcome?
How much is under your direct control? What can you do and what do others have to do to get this outcome? Who will help you? How can you motivate them to actually want to help you rather than feeling they have to help you? Ask 'What can I do directly to get this outcome?'
6. Ecology: What are the wider consequences?
What time and effort will this outcome need? Everything has an 'opportunity cost'. Who else is affected and how will they feel? What will you have to give up when you achieve this outcome? What is good about the present situation? What do you want to keep? What else could happen when you get your outcome? There are always secondary consequences and sometimes these become more of a problem than the initial situation.
7. Identity: Is this outcome in keeping with who you are?
Ask; 'What does working and achieving this outcome get me?' For example if you have a family but then you need to work away from home a great deal, you need to decide if this fits in with your identity.
8. How do your outcomes fit together?
How do you eat a large steak? Well one bite at a time. If the outcome is too large, list all the obstacles that prevent you from getting it and set smaller outcomes to get over these barriers. Ask 'What prevents me from achieving this outcome?'
9. Action Plan: What to do next?
Once you have put your plans through these questions, then you are ready to act, or perhaps delegate.