Outcome Based Leadership

When you are a leader in action you are in action for a reason, you are interested in generating an outcome.

My favorite definition of leadership is ?The art of mobilizing others to want to struggle for shared aspirations?, provided by Kouzes and Posner. This definition is clearly action oriented and requires a people focused inspiring leader to mobilize people (move them to action) to want to struggle (make significant efforts beyond normal) for shared aspirations (something that is a win for everyone and sufficiently compelling to generate the enthusiasm to struggle for it).

Every outcome doesn?t need to be a grand as I have made the definition sound, but the fundamentals are there. Every organization has outcomes in mind that it desires to or must meet. In the day to day activities of doing business the desired or needed outcomes sometimes can get lost in the processes.

Outcome focused leaders keep the outcomes in focus for the team. This is not a job just for the senior leaders but is a minimum requirement for leaders at every level. Leaders leading leaders must assure that there is a line of sight from the outcomes (Big Goals) at the top of the organization to the outcomes (aligned supporting goals) at every level of the organization. The outcomes needed at every level must be clearly understood by everyone in the organization.

Achieving what is described in the paragraph above is challenging, however this can be done with the right processes in place and the right communication. Establishing outcome clarity is only a start, now comes the challenge for the leader. Clarity must be followed up with the why (the reason the outcome is important) to generate enthusiasm for the outcomes for them to become shared aspirations. This may still not be enough if the outcomes are not aspirational, in other words, do the outcomes being defined support the larger purpose of the organization. Who would want to struggle for outcomes that are not aspirational?

The outcome focused leader at every level in the organization must be able to capture the imagination of her/his followers to truly achieve aspirational outcomes. Leaders that are capable on capturing the imagination of all their followers and helping them want to struggle for shared aspirations are in short supply and are found in the highest performing organizations at all levels in the organizations. These organizations are those able to attract and retain the best and brightest and achieve incredible results.

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