The importance of remembering your why

Things move pretty fast these days. Many organisations struggle under the weight of managing their day-to-day operations, while attempting to implement complex strategies and plan for the future.

Add to this the disruption of a tech-focused environment where fixes often create more problems than they solve, and it’s no wonder organisations have trouble steering the ship in the right direction.

So how do you stay focused on the future, without compromising your day-to-day operations? The answer is in your ‘why’. Or as we like to think of it, taking an outcome-focused approach.

Brooke Consultant Sophie Andrew explains.

Taking an outcome-focused approach

An outcome-focused approach helps you avoid getting bogged down in the detail, so you can lift your head from the chaos and remember the reason your organisation exists in the first place.

When developing an organisational strategy, an outcome-focused approach provides an anchor for planning and can help you find answers when your board is convinced there are none.

One of the most powerful ways to apply this approach to your strategic planning is through contracts and commercial relationships.

These underpin your organisations’ operations and are often unrealised strategic levers that have the ability to make or break your success.

The key to unlocking the power of your contracts and commercial relationships is to understand the outcomes that each party is looking to achieve, in terms of their broader goals and future plans.

Leveraging contracts to drive success

Sound like more trouble than its worth? Taking an outcome-focused approach to commercial relationships is easier than you think.

Simply ask yourself ‘how is this contract or relationship helping me achieve organisational success?’. If you struggle to answer the question, it may be an indicator that you’ve lost your raison d’être.

Government offers some of the best examples of taking an outcome-focused approach to contracting, particularly in the areas of defence, home affairs and communications.

The expenditure of taxpayer funds necessarily demands a high degree of oversight, with hierarchical reporting lines and Ministerial responsibility a central tenet of the Westminster System.

However, the approach is rarely used in the private sector. There may be a number of reasons for this, such as an inability to define an outcome, set a pricing structure or manage performance.

There are examples where it has been done well, particularly in the aviation industry. These companies report higher revenue, greater customer satisfaction and increased efficiency within the organisation.

This not only increases transparency and accountability, but also gives leadership and executive teams confidence that the organisation can navigate change amidst the chaos and disruption.

What does success look like?

When you know what outcome you are sailing towards, it’s much easier to develop an organisational strategy that will get you there on the most effective route possible.

You’ll have a compass to guide leadership and executive teams, ensuring they know when to hold and when to fold when making critical decisions about contracts and commercial relationships.

If you’re not clear on what success looks like for your organisation, it may be time to revisit the question. This will form the foundation of your strategy and guide you towards organisational success.

Often the simplest questions are the most difficult to answer. But time spent defining an outcome is never wasted.

Quite the contrary: if you don’t know why you exist, then why exist at all?

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Sophie Andrew

Sophie Andrew

22nd March, 2018