USAA_OUTCOME - Outcome-Directed Thinking Makes A Difference...

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Outcome-Directed Thinking Makes A Difference at USAA* *[This article first appeared in the Inside USAA, September 11, 1996. Inside USAA is an internal company magazine for USAA. USAA is a large insurance and diversified financial services company with over 15,000 employees. This article has been adapted and reprinted by permission.] Where’s your focus? On what you want, are the possibilities, and opportunities? Or on what’s wrong, the limitations, and constraints? How you think affects your ability to work effectively and achieve successful result says consultant and professor Bob Bostrom. The key is to think in terms of outcomes. Using a technique called outcome-directed thinking (ODT), many USAA employees are making their work and meetings unusually productive and rewarding. And the benefits are spilling over into their personal lives as well. Outcome-Directed Thinking Outcome-directed thinking is a different way of looking at problems and goals -- both professionally and personally. It helps people move forward instead of getting "stuck." If you've ever found yourself running into the same brick wall, addressing a problem over and over (and who hasn't?), outcome-directed thinking can put a stop to it once and for all. Here's how ODT works: Think of a problem in your work or personal life. Now answer these five questions -- the typical questions most of us ask when we face a problem. 1. Why do I have this problem? 2. What caused this problem? 3. Who is to blame? 4. What stands in the way of a solution? 5. How likely is it that I'll solve this problem? How do you feel after answering those questions? Most of us don't feel very motivated or hopeful. We feel stuck. So try these five questions instead -- and get a feel for outcome-directed thinking. 1. What do I want instead of this problem? (Your answer will be your desired outcome.) 2. How will I know when I have achieved this outcome? (What will I see, hear, and/or feel to know that I've done it?) 3. What will I gain by achieving this outcome? What will I lose? Is it worthwhile? 4. What resources do I need to achieve this outcome? How will I get them? 5. What is the first step I can take to achieve this outcome? Did you feel different this time? Most people feel positive, energized, and confident when they try ODT. The difference is that ODT helps you focus on what you want rather than what's wrong (that is, what you don't want).
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Putting Theory into Practice One of the first uses of outcome-directed thinking at the highest level of management was at the 1995 Strategic Planning Conference. Bostrom coached briefers for the conference in ODT to ensure that their presentations were outcome-oriented and linked clearly to the outcomes of the conference. Then he used the outcome-directed questions and process extensively during the meeting to ensure the meeting ended with a clear set of strategic goals. "I had developed a combination briefing and discussion outline that addressed seven business
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USAA_OUTCOME - Outcome-Directed Thinking Makes A Difference...

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