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OUTCOME THINKING®: Getting Results Without the Boxing Gloves

Your employee Jill, is often late to work and leaves early. Her work is behind and other employees in the department seem to always be picking up the slack for her. Jill is polite and friendly and, while she's at work, seems to be concentrating. She rarely socializes with anyone at work, preferring to keep to herself. How would you handle this situation?

You have another employee, Mary, who is hardworking. She often brings work home with her and works through her breaks. Her husband recently left her so she is juggling her work and her children. This means she often misses late meetings by leaving early. And, if things don't go smoothly in the morning, she arrives late. Sometimes you see her looking sad and vacant at her desk. Her coworkers are often picking up the slack for her at work. How do you handle this situation?

What thoughts and feelings did you have about Jill? About Mary? What if I told you they are one and the same person? How does that change your perspective?

"Remember that when you come at a person with a strong emotion, they will usually react in accordance with that emotion and not with the outcome you desire."

In most situations we react from our perspective and usually do not have all the information. We make assumptions about people based on our experience, our reality. What is difficult to realize is that no two people ever have the same experiences throughout their lives and that our perspective is not necessarily the correct one.

How do you slow down and see things from other people's perspectives, namely your employees? You use a skill called "Outcome Thinking® " that allows you to respond in alignment with the outcome you want instead of just reacting to the situation.

First, start by realizing that there are many correct answers to any given situation. This will allow you to step back, validate your answer, and then try to find out what other answers exist.

Second, try to think in positive terms of what the other person's perspective might be. Realize that your first contact with them should be an open one that gathers more information rather than blasts them with your opinion.

Let's take Jill for example using outcome thinking by seeing things from her perspective. You would think thoughts such as, "Perhaps she is not aware of the extra work everyone is doing." "Maybe things are going on in her personal life that is making it tough on her". "She wants to do a good job and be part of the team." "Maybe she is looking for ways to be more effective."

You will find that after thinking positively, your anger or frustration with the other person will lessen. So when you approach Jill, you will approach her more from the angle of, "Jill, I have noticed that a lot of work seems to be shifting to others. I know you are very conscientous and I wanted to get your ideas on how to get the area back on track." This will allow Jill to open up to you and talk about the situation without being defensive.

Remember that when you come at a person with a strong emotion, they will usually react in accordance with that emotion and not with the outcome you desire. For instance, if you came to Jill angry about her tardiness, thinking she is inconsiderate and that she does not realize the extra work she is putting on everyone, then Jill would most likely respond to your anger and become angry back. She might then think, "You have no idea what it is like to have your husband leave you and try to raise your children on your own." Yet she may never say that. Instead she might just resent and avoid you.

Thirdly, you need to think about the way you talk to yourself. Keep in mind that the way you talk to yourself is the way you talk to others. Think about the critical voice you use. Are you harsh and critical of yourself? Do you often cut yourself down, even if it is jokingly? Do you get upset when you make a mistake or do you look at how you can learn from it? When someone criticizes you, do you take it personally or do you step back and assess if what they are saying fits?

If you notice your critical voice tends to be negative, then work at changing it. When you catch yourself thinking a negative thought, immediately stop, say "cancel", and then rephrase the statement to be more positive. Practice saying positive statements to yourself on a daily basis. You may feel silly doing this, but you will start to see positive results!

When utilizing "Outcome Thinking® ", remember to think through the following:

  • What is the other person's perspective? Think only in positive terms.
  • What is my critical voice and how can I phrase things more positively?
  • What can I say that will let this person open up to me and help bring about the outcome I want?
  • If you still are having problems phrasing things positively, try role-playing with another person. Get them to play the devil's advocate with you.

Remember that your perspective is not necessarily the correct one. The differences in our experiences are what allow us to stretch and change. Be open to what the other person has to say and concentrate more on the result you want than trying to make sure they know your feelings. In business, it is your IQ that often gets you your job, but it is the way you communicate with others that gets you promoted.


As the leading Outcome Strategist, Anne Warfield shows people how to say the right thing at the right time every time.  The revolutionary Outcome Focus® Approach shows how to build a candid corporate culture of communication that allows you to lead, present and negotiate transformationally rather than transactionally. When applying Outcome Thinking® our client’s results include sales cycles reducing by 75%, turnover reducing by 30%, silos evaporating, and a 25% savings of time by executives.  Find out how you can maximize your corporate culture for greater productivity and results!  Contact us at 888-imp-9421, visit  www.impressionmanagement.com,  or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .