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Introduction Achieving Desired Results

Achieving Desired Results

“The most painful distance in the world is between where you are and where you want to be.”

Lorna Riley

Knowing What You Want

Deep within many of us is a search for a way—a way to be, a way to thrive, a way out, a way to have. If you are one of these seekers, the good news is that achieving the results you want can be learned.

Everything we do produces a result, so results matter. The first part of the challenge is knowing what you want. What is it for you? Winning the lottery? Total health? Bigger profits? Meaningful relationships? You can’t know your way until you know what you want. Take a few minutes to define your desired results:

What result would you like to achieve as a result of reading this book?



Your desired results may fall into one or more of the following categories. Check all those that apply:

Personal development

Risk taking

Professional development

Project management

Leadership development

Spiritual evolution

Change management

Heroic transformation

Problem solving

Scientific methodology

Flow: the optimal experience [*]

Training cycle

Team building

Continuous learning

[*] Flow is the word people use to describe their state of mind when it is “harmoniously ordered.” Sports, hobbies, games, and certain tasks produce a suspended, pleasurable state, causing the person to want to pursue whatever they are doing for its own sake. (From Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi; Harper Perennial, 1991.)

All of the preceding categories of results have one thing in common: process!

They all achieve results in the same way. Becoming a leader, managing change, managing a project, solving a problem, and continuous learning can all be achieved by going through the same four stages that you are about to learn.

What’s the benefit to you? Suppose that you want to solve a problem. If you follow the four-stage process, not only will you solve the problem, you’ll also manage a risk, manage change, manage a project, develop leadership skills, find continuous learning, and grow personally, professionally, and spiritually—all at the same time.

Applying the Four-Stage Process

Personal Development • define your current situation

• ask questions

• create personal vision/mission

• set goals

• create standards/ expecatations
• gather resources

• get help, training, find a mentor, coach, counselor

• develop skills

• make a plan
•test yourself •evaluate yourself

•get feedback

• go Home, begin again
Professional Development • define your current situation •find out what’s expected • get necessary help • learn the required skills •test your new skills • evaluate yourself

•get feedback

• go Home, begin again
Leadership Development • define your current situation

• ask questions

• create mission/vision

• set goals

• set standards/expectations
• give help

• be a helper, role model, mentor, coach, sponsor

• empower problem solving

• provide skill development
• provide tests for others

• maintain positive attitude

• use positive influence
• assess results

• give awards, rewards

• go Home, begin again
Change Management • define your current situation • ask questions • get help, training • gather resources • test and explore new policies, procedures, options, behaviors, feelings • get feedback

• evaulate new situation

• go Home, begin again
Problem Solving • define the problem • analyze possible causes • generate possible solutions

• select solution(s)

• develop an action plan
• test your plan • evaluate results • go Home, begin again
Flow • define the situation

• establish rules of “play”

• create standards
•get training, education • gather resources • test yourself • get feedback • go Home, begin again
Team Building • define your current situation

• create mission/vision

• set goals

• assign roles

• set standards
• get help, training, education • find a mentor, coach, counselor • test yourself • collect prizes

• share rewards

• go Home, begin again

Risk Taking • define your current situation • define goals/objectives • get help/minimize risk • develop action plan •test your plan • evaluate results • go Home, begin again
Project Management • define the project

• set goals/objectives

• define standards
• gather resources

• assign roles

• develop action plan
• test your plan • evaluate results • go Home, begin again
Spiritual Evolution • notice your current situation by hearing the “inner call” • accept the call to inner work • find helpers, guidance • meditate • break through barriers • confront your challenge • gain inner connection • go Home, begin again
Heroic Transformation • hear the call to adventure • prepare to leave • find mentor, guides, helpers • learn the necessary skills • test yourself, slay the “dragon” • collect the treasure • go Home, share prizes, begin again
Scientific Methodology • ask a question • develop a theory • test your theory • reflect on what’s been learned • go Home, begin again
Training Cycle • define objectives

• present overview content

• present main points
• provide learning/content • provide supporting examples • test and practice • give/get feedback • go Home, begin again
Continuous Learning • ask a question • develop a theory • test the theory • reflect on what’s been learned

• get feedback

• go Home, begin again

Multiplying Your Successes

Review the list of the 14 off-the-chart result categories and consider how many of these you experienced because of the success you described on the previous page. It is likely that you achieved more than you set out to, even if you didn’t realize it. Check all the categories that apply to that success to remind yourself that achieving results is synergistic—the total success is greater than the sum of the individual effects.

Personal development

Professional development

Leadership development

Change management

Problem solving

Flow: the optimal experience

Team building

Risk taking

Project management

Spiritual evolution

Heroic transformation

Scientific methodology

Training cycle

Continuous learning

Tenets of Achieving Results

Note the following conclusions about achieving results:

  • There are no guarantees in the process of achieving results.

  • One person can make a difference.

  • Most attempts at achieving results require confronting and overcoming obstacles.

  • The more skilled you are, the greater the probability of the desired outcome.

  • Intelligence comes in many forms, but it is not a predictor of favorable outcomes.

  • All experiences offer lessons, which may be more valuable than the origi-nally desired result.

  • The more help you get (resources, time, money, training, suggestions, coaching, and so on), the greater the probability of achieving the outcome.

  • The more clearly defined the desired result is, the more likely you are to achieve it.

  • The length of time involved in arriving at outcomes is not a determinant of success.

  • You can achieve multiple, synergistic, and positive results by using an effective process.

Factors Influencing Results

Results are influenced by many factors. Some of these factors are within your control; others are not. Add your own observations to this partial list:

Within Your Control Out of Your Control
Attitude Trends
Behaviors Unforeseen crises
Participation Weather
Thinking Market volatility
Strategy Natural disasters
Planning Heredity
Others:______ _______ Others:______ _______

Five Criteria for Achieving worthwhile Results

People and organizations are perfectly designed for the performance they achieve. You receive in proportion to what you give. If you want to put your resources into achieving results of value, consider the following five criteria:

Strategic: You need to have a plan. Results need to contribute to the mission, vision, and competitive advantage of an organization. Worthwhile results distinguish you from others and improve your “position” in the world.
Meaningful: This ensures that results are in alignment with core values and principles, thus providing a purpose or reason for achieving specific outcomes. Meaning also contributes to a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment.
Balanced: What you achieve in one area should not be gained (or lost) without considering its positive and/or negative impact in other areas.
Selfless: Selfless results create a greater good for all. Your results should benefit the whole in some way, not just one group or individual.
Enduring: Lasting results have residual value. If achieving a short-range result contributes in some way to a more enduring result, it becomes a means to a more valuable outcome.


Bob earned a master’s degree in business administration and immedi-ately went to work in a factory. His plan was to start at ground zero and work his way into upper management. His hope was to eventually become CEO. He always saw himself as a leader, sitting in the corner office, and he wanted the independence that comes with calling the shots.

Within a few months, his hard work began to pay off; he was appointed team leader in his unit. He enjoyed the challenge and began reviewing what he had learned in college to create his career path. He created a personal mission statement, set goals, read the latest leadership books, enrolled in a “lean manufacturing” seminar, and asked for additional job responsibilities. Next, he created an action plan that he believed would catapult his career. This included observing a co-worker in management, Steve, as a role model. Bob respected Steve’s judgment and believed that he could shorten his time to promotion by learning from others. He also decided that in order to qualify for management, he would need to improve his coaching skills and time management, show that he could implement lean manufacturing techniques within his team, and set ambitious work schedules. He began reading books on these subjects to gain the knowledge he needed.

When he began implementing his plan, however, his team members mis-took his good intentions, viewing him as an aggressive corporate climber, only out for himself. Bob became discouraged with his early results and thought that if he couldn’t effectively work with this small group of people, he would never be capable of running an entire company. He began to doubt that his desired long-range result of becoming CEO was right for him.

Evaluating Desired Results

Consider whether Bob’s desired results are worthwhile by answering these questions.

What long-range result is Bob seeking?________________________

Does Bob’s desired result fit the five criteria for worthwhile results? Explain why or why not for each.
















Does your desired result fit the criteria? In what way is your desired result:
















Author’s Suggested Answers

Bob’s long-range result is to become a CEO.

His result is strategic because he had several plans that would enable him to advance his position and contribute to his overall mission.

Bob’s result is meaningful because he values the outcome and believes it will contribute to a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment.

Bob needs improvement in balance because he focused too much on his own results without considering their effect on the morale of his staff.

Bob could use some improvement in creating selfless results. His motives appeared very self-serving to others. His desire to have independence and to “call the shots” did not consider the larger picture of how he would apply that power to a greater good. He wanted power for the sake of power, not for what that power could do to serve others. He needs to think about what he intends to do as a CEO (i.e., create more job opportunities, solve problems, invent something new).

Bob’s result was enduring. His short-range goals created residual value by contributing to a long-range objective.

Summary Chart

Criteria Questions Clues to Problem Proof of Success
Strategic To what degree do my results align with strategies for my overall mission and vision of my personal life or organization? Results are tied loosely or are nonexistent to strategies for business or life; results do not produce or add strategic focus or clarity Results are tied strongly to business or personal life strategies
Meaningful To what degree are my results aligned with core values and principles? Results feel like busy-work, without “reason,” and do not create a sense of importance or worth Results create a sense of purpose, satisfaction, and fulfillment
Balanced To what degree are my results balanced between organizational or personal result areas? Results were aimed too much in one area, creating a negative impact in others Results bring balance to the result areas and have a positive impact in others
Selfless To what degree are my results selfless, creating benefits for the whole community and increasing capabilities without playing politics? Results do not make the whole greater than the parts Results support the entire organization or community and are not just for individual gain
Enduring To what degree will the results last over time? Results are for the short term and will not last—the “Band-Aid” approach Results satisfy both short- and long-term goals and objectives

Off-the-Chart Results Assessment

This assessment involves answering 80 questions that reveal critical tasks in each of the four stages for reaching off-the-chart results. The italicized numbers identify the critical areas for organizational excellence as adapted from the 25-year Gallup Poll study of 80,000 managers in over 400 organizations.

Directions: Assess how you currently go about achieving results. Rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 5 and enter your answer in the appropriate space on the scorecard beginning on page 18.

5=almost 4=usually 3=infrequently 1=rarely

How often do you…

  1. question old methods regarding how you go about achieving what you want?_______________

  2. feel that what you want has importance?_______________

  3. break down what you want into written goals?_______________

  4. know what is expected of you at work?_______________

  5. have the materials and equipment you need to accomplish the result?_______________

  6. take the opportunity to solve problems that affect your goals and responsibilities?_______________

  7. identify and develop critical skills needed to accomplish your goals?_______________

  8. turn your best guesses into theories about how you can get the result(s)?_______________

  9. focus on output (what you want), not on input?_______________

  10. know how and when to use persuasion as a tactic to get results?_______________

  11. see challenges as opportunities for personal and/or professional growth?_______________

  12. look for creative solutions if your plan needs modification?_______________

  13. have a feedback system to assess progress at all times in the process?_______________

  14. receive praise or recognition for doing good work?_______________

  15. see all experiences as learning experiences?_______________

  16. feel gratitude when achieving goals?_______________

  17. ask “why” questions when unclear about the purpose of what you want?_______________

  18. recognize an opportunity to solve a problem or make a change?_______________

  19. align goals and objectives in support of the organization’s goals?_______________

  20. have a way to measure outcomes?_______________

  21. delegate responsibilites or tasks to free up time and energy?_______________

  22. have the opportunity to do what you do best everyday?_______________

  23. remain open to ideas, even though they have been tried before and didn’t work?_______________

  24. turn theories into written, stepped action plans with task deadlines?_______________

  25. try to restrict or minimize fear from sabotaging your efforts?_______________

  26. assertively ask for what you want without being aggressive?_______________

  27. implement your plan once created without undue procrastination?_______________

  28. use your intuitive intelligence to monitor and guide your action plan?_______________

  29. measure and evaluate results against standards and expectations?_______________

  30. consistently reward behaviors exceeding your plan?_______________

  31. identify success traits of outputs and outcomes?_______________

  32. enjoy each day?_______________

  33. question your current situation to fully determine what’s at stake?_______________

  34. have a clear, written vision of the ideal future when the result is achieved?_______________

  35. set realistic, achievable goals?_______________

  36. set the bar for excellent, acceptable, and minimal outcomes?_______________

  37. identify, gather, and utilize necessary information to achieve goals?_______________

  38. feel that your opinion counts?_______________

  39. remain teachable?_______________

  40. identify who will do what and by when with the full agreement of all others involved?_______________

  41. face tough challenges with optimism and a positive attitude?_______________

  42. influence decision-making criteria when necessary or appropriate?_______________

  43. keep your focus on the plan without getting distracted by lower priorities?_______________

  44. use logical creativity techniques to solve problems?_______________

  45. check the quality of your work before it leaves your area?_______________

  46. sufficiently reward others involved in the process, either formally or informally?_______________

  47. (in the last year) feel you had opportunites to learn and grow?_______________

  48. feel that you have a best friend (at work)?_______________

  49. ask questions to determine the root cause of the problem (s)?_______________

  50. write a clear and concise mission in support of the vision?_______________

  51. write down specifically what you will do each day to further your mission and vision?_______________

  52. establish deadlines or cutoff points?

  53. have someone who encourages your development?_______________

  54. speak up, confront issues, or disagree when necessary?_______________

  55. continually learn to stretch your capabilities?_______________

  56. have a contingency plan at the outset if “Plan A” fails?_______________

  57. address setbacks quickly to get back on track without floundering?_______________

  58. inspire yourself or others with enthusiasm?_______________

  59. watch for indications that the plan is or is not working?_______________

  60. recognize and resolve paradoxes?_______________

  61. conduct ongoing, frequent, informal performance reviews?_______________

  62. celebrate the result in some way, even if it’s not what you had planned?_______________

  63. recognize the unexpected wins?_______________

  64. demonstrate that character is more important than total control?_______________

  65. ask questions to identify roadblocks, inhibitors, and obstacles?_______________

  66. establish culture and core values that align with the vision/mission?_______________

  67. review your goals daily and make changes as necessary?_______________

  68. feel that others involved are committed to quality work?_______________

  69. feel that someone cares about you at work?_______________

  70. feel respected as a person?_______________

  71. develop your skills as a lifelong commitment to learning?_______________

  72. modify the ineffective plans throughout the process if not on target?_______________

  73. have the courage to face uncertainty?_______________

  74. have the ability to lead others when necessary?_______________

  75. have a way to monitor delayed results?_______________

  76. take calculated risks?_______________

  77. (over the last six months) have someone talk to you about your progress?_______________

  78. provide merit rewards commensurate with achievement and behavior?_______________

  79. have a way to direct poor performance?_______________

  80. realize that success is measured by how many you serve, not by how many serve you?_______________


Home Help
Question Mission Goals Standards Resources Empower Skills Action Plan
1_____ 2_____ 3_____ 4_____ 5_____ 6_____ 7_____ 8_____
17_____ 18_____ 19_____ 20_____ 21_____ 22_____ 23_____ 24_____
33____ 34____ 35_____ 36_____ 37_____ 38_____ 39_____ 40_____
49_____ 50_____ 51_____ 52_____ 53_____ 54_____ 55_____ 56_____
65_____ 66_____ 67_____ 68_____ 69_____ 70_____ 71_____ 72_____
Total Total Total Total Total Total Total Total

Challenge Prize
Attitude Check Influence Monitor Plan Creative Tinkering Results Rewards Learning Inner Wealth
9_____ 10_____ 11_____ 12_____ 13_____ 14_____ 15_____ 16_____
25_____ 26_____ 27_____ 28_____ 29_____ 30_____ 31_____ 32_____
41_____ 42_____ 43_____ 44_____ 45_____ 46_____ 47_____ 48_____
57_____ 58_____ 59_____ 60_____ 61_____ 62_____ 63_____ 64_____
73_____ 74_____ 75_____ 76_____ 77_____ 78_____ 79_____ 80_____
Total Total Total Total Total Total Total Total

Plotting Your Scores

Now total your scores for each column and plot them on the circular chart. If your score is beyond the boundary of the chart, then it is literally off-the-chart. That means you’ve reached a high level of proficiency or support in that area. If you score below 20 in a task, you’ve identified an area that may need development.

Assessing Your “SWOT”

Now identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) for each stage of the process. This will help you to identify your basic tendencies when seeking to achieve results.

Using your scorecard, complete the following steps:

Place a star next to all of the 4 and 5 scores in each of the 16 sections. These are your strengths.

Place a square around all of your 1 or 2 answers. These are your weaknesses.

Place a triangle around all of the 3s. These are opportunities for immediate improvement.

Circle the three lowest overall total scores. These are potential threats that, if left unchanged, can undermine your efforts.

Transfer all of your starred items (strengths) to the following SWOT chart. Enter the number of the assessment question, not your score, in the Strengths column next to the appropriate corresponding category.

Do the same for your squares (weaknesses), triangles (opportunities), and circles (threats). In this way, you have created a snapshot guide to your SWOT. This will assist you in creating a comprehensive strategic plan as you move forward.

Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats

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