Over his years of leading innovation projects, Scott has often been struck by how using a desired outcome to shape a path to success frequently leads to better and faster results than sticking to “tried and true” approaches.
He was reminded of this once again by a recent press release describing Underwriters Laboratories’ New High-Tech Safety Standard IEC 62368-1. What piqued our interest most was that this new standard is designed to apply to a wide range of devices and the current environment of rapid technical change by focusing on performance standards that a device has to meet to demonstrate safety rather than by prescribing specific features or design attributes. By setting the standard in terms of what has to happen rather than by particular features or technical approach, “performance-based testing accommodates future advancements and a faster time to market for products,” according to the VP of UL’s High-Tech Division.
Extending this logic, it makes sense to take an outcome-based approach to leading our organizations as well, since the world is changing so quickly that the most effective technical performance happens when we focus on what needs to happen rather than getting mired in a choreographed set of procedures.
Outcome-focused leadership is fueled by a free flow of both strategic and tactical information and insight up and down the organizational structure which provided workers at all levels a sound context in which they act in real time that will best fit the needs of the organization. The more that employees at every level understand their roles, accountabilities, and responsibilities in the framework of big picture goals for their area, the better they can make decisions about the fastest and most effective way to accomplish their goals.
Moving from “tried and true” leadership based upon what has worked in the past to a performance-based approach founded upon achieving critical objectives can take some getting used to. However, it can yield big dividends when implemented effectively. A first step for leaders who choose this path is to take a moment to assess the content and style of their communication to employees about the organization’s priorities and circumstances. The more consistent and credible your communication is, the more likely your organization will be able to take in and act on the information to achieve the results you want and need.