Off to a Meeting...Have an Intended Outcome
To avoid getting thrown off track, always begin an important conversation or meeting with an intended outcome. An intended outcome is knowing what you'd like to walk away with before you even begin the conversation. It's having a roadmap where the destination is clear.
An intended outcome serves 3 purposes. It...
- gets you very clear about what you truly want,
- helps you strategize how to go about achieving it, and
- keeps you focused and on track.
An intended outcome has 3 criteria:
An intended outcome can be specific or broad.
- Short in that it can be stated in just a few words.
- Realistic in that it's possible to achieve it.
- Measurable...you can tell if you got the result you were looking for.
- Specific: "By the end of this meeting, everyone knows what's expected of them over the next month." For this example, you can test if your intended outcome was achieved by asking what each person will focus on over the next 30 days.
- Broad:"By the end of this meeting, I will be recognized as an expert in this." This intended outcome is less specific and because of that, it's more difficult to measure. To be seen as an expert in a particular area, you'll need to know what's expected of someone with that credential, and then display that during the conversation.
Erika, a finance director, has a 2:00 meeting with Sam, her VP, to go over a new process that she and her team have come up with. She needs Sam's approval before she can roll it out. How's Erika going to make sure she gets it? Well first she needs to decide what her intended outcome is for the meeting and have a strategy for making sure she gets the outcome she's looking for.
First Intended Outcome. The obvious intended outcome is "Get Sam's approval." And Erika's strategy is to make sure that happens. Sam's a bullet-point kind of guy; Erika's a give-you-all-the-details type of presenter. So her strategy, and it's a good one, is to go in with the bulleted plan (because that's what Sam responds best to), have the details for back-up in case Sam needs more info, have the right answers ready for the concerns she thinks he'll have, and, assuming all goes well, she'll get the okay. Seems easy enough. But if Erika thinks that's all she needs, she's wrong. There's something else in the wind that Erika hasn't considered. And it's less obvious.
Second Intended Outcome. Erika's got her sights on a senior director slot this year. What that means is that just about every meeting with Sam is an opportunity for him to see her talent in action and realize she's senior director material. Her longer-range strategic plan then factors in as Erika's second intended outcome. And that is to show up in this meeting (and every meeting with Sam) as he expects a senior director would so that Sam will start thinking of Erika as a shoo-in for the job.
For her career, Erika needs to be thinking not just about the immediate intended outcome, she needs to never lose sight of her bigger picture outcome, the senior director job. By having both intended outcomes, Erika's keeping her end in mind and thinking strategically about her career.
Are You Strategic About Your Career? Thinking that you might not be this strategic about your career? Not to worry; you can start any time. Today might be as good a day as any. Start by having an intended outcome for your next meeting. You don't need to tell anyone what it is; you just need to know it yourself. Then get your strategy in place. Ask yourself what you need to do either in the meeting or in prep for the meeting to give yourself a fighting chance to actually achieve that outcome.
(c) 2008 Denise Brouillette, San Francisco, CA. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be downloaded, photocopied, reprinted, or distributed electronically or by any other means without this paragraph accompanying it. www.LeaderXpress.com