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Input Over Output

Updated: Jan 25, 2022

Input and Output. Which one should we focus on? In a world where our results, final numbers, or Output defines our measure of success, I guess it makes perfect sense to focus on the Output of the process.

As a result of this thought, my focus was highly on the output of the process. When my target was the output, I found myself placing a hindered effort only on the results. Even my solutions became output focused. Imagine the limit this puts on your strategic solutions. How often have you been given the instructions, “If it doesn’t get done, just start writing people up”? This is a common direction when we only focus on the output. As a result of this error, solutions are only output focused. Now you’re the one at the end of the line with the “stick” hoping that the process will improve as a result of your efforts. Don’t get me wrong - using disciplinary actions is, in some cases, a needed method. Consider the solution a two-pronged approach. Focus on the Output AND the Input.

When I started to focus on the input, I began to ask different questions. I asked about the process, tools, training, personnel, and the like. You find yourself asking, “Are we training the personnel correctly? Do they have the right tools to complete the task?” An Input focus aims our efforts towards being proactive instead of reactive. This is a more powerful position and produces more wins in the long run. As the focus is placed into the input, the process begins to produce the true desired output.

Now that we are targeting the input over output, our process can begin growing towards success. If we solely examine the output, then we're only being reactive to many of the issues. By focusing on the input and being proactive, our efforts will have a higher yield. Neglecting the input will keep you trapped in the reactive stage.

What have you been focusing on? Do you currently focus on the output, input, or both? What’s working for you and what's still a challenge? Share below in the comments section to benefit you as well as the Sigmasmith community.

Thanks for reading.

Rick V.


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