The point is that while projects should naturally be measured on the successful delivery of outcomes, these outcomes need to be set and agreed at the outset in relation to the agreed desired business outcomes. That almost never happens
"When you focus on your true 'desired business outcomes' it changes your perspective and ensures you deliver your strategy," Simms says.
And the neuroscience? "When you get very clear, definitive, present tense, active statements that are also measurable so that you can determine where you are trying to get to and when you've got there, the brain takes those in and helps people align to achieving those goals," Simms says.
"Firstly, the definition of desired business outcomes is based on neuroscience research and techniques," the e-book says. "You can't just ask someone to define their true desired business outcomes because they're not in our conscious brain but in our non-conscious brain. The desired outcomes definition process therefore taps into people's non-conscious to construct and extract their true outcomes - this is a very specific process.
"Secondly, even with tapping into the non-conscious, people rarely can define their true desired business outcomes first time. They'll define a starting point. This starting point needs to be refined, critiqued, added to, amended, verified and validated. Each of the steps after the initial outcomes definition can cause a word here or there to be changed, for whole new outcomes to be discovered or irrelevant ones to be discarded. This is a very iterative process that progressively brings everyone onto the 'same page' in terms of what is really being targeted to be delivered. It is a process to be carefully managed. Subsequently, the project's outcomes can then be agreed in relation to the agreed business outcomes - they can be the same or a subset."
Thirdly, all outcome statements need to conform to a set of 11 rules including, for example, that each is:
- stated in the present tense as if it existed now
- measurable by a true/false question, eg Can we or can't we?
- positively impacting business performance, and so on.
This is not a case of neatness but of effectiveness, Simms says. Neuroscience research has found, for example, that the brain not only understands present tense statements best but that your brain then actually non-consciously takes action to fulfil such statements. So, by defining and publishing your project's desired business outcomes correctly you actually can get everyone non-consciously working towards their realization. This is not semantics, but rather is the most powerful tool you can bring to bear on your projects.
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