Don’t Think Output – Focus on Input
Very often, while working with a business or an individual, one of the mistakes that I see them making a lot, is that they are focused on output rather than input. I believe this is not the right approach for two reasons: 1) There is no output without input; simply put. If you don’t put money in the bank – you can’t take any out! 2) Sometimes input will get you far better results than output. Let me give you an example. Recently I was working with a client who had a huge problem with one of their most valued clients. Immediately their focus became solely how they could solve the problem by putting out the least amount of money – essentially, they only saw output. I explained to them that the solution was to focus on the client – it didn’t matter how much it would cost, their focus had to be on putting all their resources into making the client happy, and to make sure that the same mistake did not happen again. Input solved the problem rather than output.
I’ve been saying it for years and I will continue to say it for many more to come. If you want quality output that makes a difference in people’s lives, then the quality of the input must be of the highest caliber. This always takes me back to my first computer lesson where the instructor told me – garbage in means garbage out! It still holds true today.
Let’s look at how we can increase the quality of our input, both on a personal and professional level.
Personal – While it might seem like I am exaggerating, it you are riding the coattails of knowledge and information that you learned, even as little as five years ago, the chances are, you are operating with old or even obsolete skills and/or material. The speed at which things are changing in our world today is simply amazing, especially when it comes to our own personal growth. Think about it – who would have thought fifteen years ago that we could do a ten-minute meditation during our lunchbreak with our phone! Continuous quality personal growth input, I believe, is essential to keeping ourselves vibrant, dynamic, and effective. One of the ways that we can do this is by reading quality books more often and by developing new interests that elevate us to a higher level. Another great way to increase personal input is to develop more passion about what you do – anything that drains your energy and passion needs to be released from your life as soon as possible. Another way to have superior personal output, is to make sure you manage your emotions successfully, this will allow you stay focused and calm during challenging situations. Inputting calmness and serenity pays high dividends.
Another way to maximize great personal output is to focus on developing a positive outlook and attitude. Be the kind of optimistic person who lights up a room with your energy when you enter it. Do it also by looking for the best in people and things. Smile freely, spread positive news, and uplift others in their endeavors. To emit output that builds confidence in others, also work on having integrity and be known for always treating people with respect. Having the reputation for being honest and true to your word will bring you the respect, esteem, and appreciation of those that you interact with – this is priceless! Your personal input should also include developing the qualities of a true leader. Leadership, however, does not mean the you give orders well, instead, it means that you are able to competently and effectively lead your subordinates to finish the task at hand. You do this by leading through example: hard work, coherent thought processes, and the willingness to always go the extra mile. Slacking off and simply delegating tasks from the comfort of your office chair will normally demoralize people to the point where their output starts to suffer.
Business – Many companies, especially small to medium sized businesses, struggle with input when it comes to training. Managers get mad at colleagues constantly because they feel that they are not doing things correctly, however, very often, when I have gone and analyzed the situation, I have discovered that the input into the quality of the training was minimum at best. Considering this, it’s no wonder that the output of the people who attended the trainings, is not up to scratch. Motivating and encouraging your staff and teams cannot be just lip service, if you really want to get high-quality output. Let me make something very clear – if the owner or manager is not serious about their input regarding the staff, it is only a matter of time before the colleagues in question become uninterested, unmotivated, and start looking for somewhere else to work! Well-chosen employees normally start out motivated, but time and again, research shows that these employees move on when they feel that input regarding their wellbeing and growth is superficial, or worse, nonexistent. Motivation is abundant in workplaces where people are treated as valued human beings. Trust, respect, civil conversation, and meaningful listening are the norm in a workplace where employee motivation is a top priority.
Input that must also be developed in a business to get the most powerful output possible must include: Senior staff members and supervisors who are focused on helping their colleagues to grow, prosper, be committed to action and capable of producing measurable results. They must also understand and carry out professional investment in themselves. This can be done through the learning of new tools and attending events and trainings that assist them in cultivating leadership qualities that facilitate the creation of high-performing teams. The business culture that is cultivated in an organization is essential to its success. Therefore, everyone within the company needs to be dedicated to promoting a culture where: a company policy has been implemented that focuses on the development of the individual, promotes personal growth and self-reliance for problem solving, seeks to improve specific skills and inspires behaviors for effective processes.
The message that I want you to take away from this article regarding your personal and business output is very simple – output will not be at its peak, if your input is running on fumes. Make sure, as much as you can, that you work on putting in the highest quality input into yourself and your business. Trust me – the rewards will be many!