More on results s a way of think, feeling, and acting

Both nonprofits and their investors tend to think of outcomes as one “piece” of what they discuss, analyze and produce. In strategic planning, for example, outcomes are one component of the plan—along with assessment of strengths and weaknesses, mission and vision, finance, and programs. The glue that binds is….the binder. This approach is also reflected in scoring systems for proposals, where the needs statement and organizational capability are often given as many if not more points than are results. 

Outcomes are especially easy to segment when they fall within the category of Evaluation, which is typically outsourced to people not doing the programs. It is separable as a piece rather than imbedded within a program as a way to track to success.

When results are kept first in mind, people charged with achieving them really do change their behavior. They think about the solution not the problem. They feel the heat and hope of 10 kids learning to read or 20 stopping smoking. And they act out of this thinking and feeling to do and only do those things on the critical path to achievement.

One way to create results is to combine thinking and doing.  Rather than the adage “first we plan and then we act” try acting while you plan to test critical assumptions and build energy by getting underway.  Less considered is the relationship of emotion and action. Constantine Stanislavsky observed:

One must never speak of feeling to the actor. Search for the life of the part in plans of action, not feelings. Find the action and the cliché will disappear. If you act and believe, you will begin to feel.

We feel as well as think toward results because we take action to achieve them. That action is intentional and reasoned, giving us the roadmap for spending our time in ways that most contribute to the success we have clearly envisioned. Even with serendipity, innovation, and whimsy, as Pasteur noted, chance favors the prepared mind.

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