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Don’t Focus on Results

by Randall Craig on April 24, 2007

Filed in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Promotion

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Did you reach your quota? Have you completed that report? Did you win your case? How many people did you serve today?

While you might be measured on different criteria, there is one common thread: each of these statements focuses on results. And focusing on results… results in, well, results.

But is this really true? To accomplish our objectives, we must engage in process. Assuming that some processes are better than others, should we not also consider how we achieve results?

The answer is resoundingly yes: we implicitly make trade-offs as we decide on how to get things done. Should we do our work faster, but perhaps with lower quality? Or maybe trade-in corporate goodwill to deliver an excellent product late? Do we use existing templates that include “best practices” formatting, or design our own that are customized for a particular client?

When people complete their annual performance review (or when they compile their resume) the focus is on providing evidence that objectives were met, and hopefully surpassed. But equally important is answering the question of how the results were achieved. It is by examining process that we identify our experience. And this experience is what employers look for when it comes to recruiting for a new position, or considering you for promotion. To be hired, they will make sure that you can deliver — but they will also make sure you did so thoughtfully, and with appropriate judgment when it came to the trade-offs.

This week’s action item: What tasks are you measured on? And when was the last time you looked at the processes used to achieve your objectives? This week, choose one process that you are involved in, and find one way to improve it. Then make a note of it on your resume and in your personnel file. Next time you are in an interview, you can focus on the results – and also how you achieved them.

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Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)