You’ve heard the old tale. Two people are walking through a field. They come to a gigantic brick wall as tall as the sky that spans from one side of the horizon to the other. The first person backs up and slowly begins banging their head against the wall, hoping to knock it down. The other person starts looking for a door.
Both of these people are doing their best to adapt to an obstacle, but one is working a lot smarter than the other.
The clients I work with at Working Voices are intelligent, capable people who are dealing with challenges and obstacles on a daily basis. Each one of these men and women is a problem solver who knows that, to succeed, one must adapt to, or be more flexible to, challenges that arise. The thing that separates the great leader from the good leader, however, is the quality of adaptation. The key to this advanced way of responding to difficulties is an understanding of Outcome.
An Outcome is the result that you’re looking for in any given situation. Before entering into a business (or personal) situation, I counsel my clients to consider what they hope to achieve, their desired outcome. When the client is able to pinpoint that outcome, then they can adapt to any brick walls that stand in the way of their goals.
For example, a client may be planning to give a speech to a large auditorium of people. They plan the speech using the Impact and Influencing skills we teach at Working Voices. They make sure that they are relaxed and prepared. They have practiced their presentation skills. They’re ready. But there are still a few more questions to ask, including: What do they hope to achieve with the speech? How do they want their audience to react and feel? What’s their desired Outcome?
The client may decide that the ideal Outcome is an audience that is on the same page and, by presentation’s end, energized to take action. They know that, along the way, they may not reach every single member of the audience, but they’re prepared to adapt to that challenge.
The client goes to work prepared, ready to address that large auditorium of people. However, when they reach their destination, they find that the auditorium full of people has been downgraded to a small room with 20 people. This is where their advanced ability to adapt and be flexible comes into play.
Yes, the turnout may be smaller. The method of speaking to the crowd may have to change. But the Outcome (connection and action) is still the same. This recognition of the bigger picture allows my client to adapt and succeed, despite the obstacles.
Why? Because they’re more focused on the goals than on the challenges. They’re focused on content, not excuses. As long as those 20 people (19, if you don’t count the gal sleeping in the back) that our hypothetical leader is addressing walk away informed and ready to take action, the speech has been a success. The circumstances may have shifted, expectations may have altered, but that doesn’t take away from the overall success of the presentation.
The next time you have a large project to face, how will you respond to the obstacles, or brick walls, that appear? If you’re focused on the Outcomes, as opposed to the problems, and you’re able to adapt, then you’re on the path to practicing a smarter kind of flexibility.