Results-oriented thinking: Is it really providing the right results?

The release of the Auditor General’s 2018 reports highlight that “the federal government has a culture problem that makes meaningful change difficult.”  Part of this is due to the fact that “politicians think from election to election, which can undermine public servants’ efforts to bring in a longer-term plan.” This drives a culture of short-term thinking that places more emphasis on trying to prove quick results rather than on trying to change the inefficient ways of working.

This short-term thinking is often associated with being results-oriented. While it is important to focus on performance and accomplishments in the short-term, we need not lose sight of the bigger picture. While quick results are important, knowing how these results are being achieved brings the most benefit in the long run.

So, what can we do to ensure that results-oriented thinking can deliver sustainable results? I decided to look at the specific characteristics of results-oriented thinking and noticed a few gaps. Below highlights the characteristics of results-oriented thinking, as well as some ways in which we can ensure long-term sustainability.

Performance and results are important

Of course, outcomes should be reviewed and measured to evaluate success, however, the way in which you achieved these outcomes is of greater importance. It’s not about cutting corners to save time or money. It’s about cutting process waste to ensure long-term results. To name a few; this means cutting down on unnecessary reviews and focusing on the most important path for approval, utilizing talented staff who have yet to be given the chance to shine, and spending less time waiting for documents to proceed to the next step of the process.

Focus on goal achievement

It’s not just about checking the box, it’s about how you got there. You may have started out peddling branded lanyards but where you end up is what matters. If you didn’t study for an exam, but you reached a passing grade, would you follow that same process each time? Most people would say no, they would change their way of studying. Change your process so you can reach your goal more successfully next time.

Rewards are determined on the basis of results of processes

Incentives are often rewarded to those who achieve a certain quick result, however, managers should also be rewarded based on their longer term thinking and efforts.  Taking into account their time management, skill development, participation and involvement, morale and communication efforts can often provide a bigger picture and greater long-term sustainability.

Control behaviour is more common

In order to achieve results, involving everyone in the process to create efficiencies not only provides a supportive and collaborative environment, it also boosts productivity and creates efficiencies. Who wants more than a happy environment that actually delivers what they promise?

Many of the terms I have referred to stem from Kaizen, which means a change that is calm in Japanese. Kaizen is the practice of continuous improvement through everyone’s involvement. If we consider the processes success, more than only focusing on quick results, then we can achieve more repeatable and sustainable results.

Lisa is a consultant with over four years of experience with a focus on business process and service design. She has completed a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Marketing from the John Molson School of Business in Montreal, with a semester abroad at the Copenhagen Business School in Denmark.


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