Goal Setting Redefined! The Power of the Well-Formed Outcome

May 18, 2023

In today's fast-paced world, setting goals and achieving them has become increasingly important for salespeople and entrepreneurs.

However, the journey towards these goals can be accompanied by a range of negative emotions when expectations are not met.

That's where the concept of the "well-formed outcome" comes in.

I've been engrossed in the book "NLP: The Essential Guide" by Tom Hoobyar and Tom Dotz, which, in one of the chapters explores the power of the well-formed outcome when it comes to goal setting.

As natural go-getters, we are driven by ambition and the desire for control and autonomy in our professional lives.

But when we fall short of our goals, disappointment, frustration, self-doubt, and demotivation can set in, causing unnecessary stress and pressure.

The well-formed outcome offers a structured approach to address these challenges. By breaking down our goals, understanding the resources required, and developing a comprehensive plan, we can increase our chances of success while avoiding the negative emotions associated with failure.

With the well-formed outcome as our guide, we can navigate setbacks, stay motivated, and pave a path to achieving our goals effectively.

This approach involves a 6-question process aimed at creating a clear outcome for the completion or achievement of your goal. The questions are as follows:

  1. What specifically do you want?
  2. How will you know when you have achieved what you want?
  3. Under what circumstances, where, when, and with whom do you want to have this result?
  4. What is currently preventing you from already having this desired outcome?
  5. What resources will you need to create what you want?
  6. How will you go about achieving this result, and what is the first step to begin?

The author further delves into each question, helping you gain a deeper understanding of each element of the goal you are striving to achieve. By doing so, you can gain real clarity on the outcome you expect to reach upon accomplishing your goal.

When creating a "well-formed outcome," the first step is to precisely identify your problem, goal, or desire. It is important to state the goal in positive terms, focusing on what you want rather than what you don't want. The goal should be within your control and chosen by you. Describing it in a sensory-specific manner and keeping the size or scope manageable helps you connect with the goal on a deeper level. Consider what you will see, hear, or feel, and think about what others might notice.

If you have a large goal, it is beneficial to narrow it down and create smaller, focused objectives that align with the overall goal. For instance, instead of aiming to list and sell 50 properties in the next 12 months, you could break it down and set a target of listing and selling 10-12 properties in the upcoming quarter.

It is important to ask yourself what achieving this goal will do for you. Take the time to explore the levels and the overall impact achieving this goal would have on your life. Ask yourself additional questions, such as what else achieving your desired outcome will bring you.

For example, if you successfully listed and sold 12 properties this quarter, it would enhance your presence in the local marketplace, attracting more potential sellers to your business. It would also provide extra income to invest in marketing and prospecting activities, supporting your efforts to list and sell 12-16 properties in the following quarter. Additionally, it would improve your current bank balance and overall financial comfort, allowing you to spend more freely on your spouse, children, and home life.

The next step is to proceed to question 2, which is "How will you know when you have achieved what you want?" This question requires you to establish tangible evidence that will indicate whether you have achieved the goal or made progress towards it.

As the saying goes, "A goal is a dream with a deadline."

Addressing this question becomes easier now that we have thoroughly broken down the specifics of the goal in question 1.

Returning to our goal of listing 10-12 properties in the upcoming quarter, one aspect to consider is how soon you want to secure the first listing. While the immediate response might be "right away," it is more realistic to identify a timeframe that allows you to take the necessary steps towards achieving the goal without leaving things in a vague "someday" holding pattern.

For instance, you might assess that there are warm leads currently in your pipeline, and with focused management, you could confidently expect to successfully sign up at least one of them as a listing within a two-week period. Simultaneously, during that same timeframe, you could implement your marketing and prospecting plan, aiming to generate genuine seller leads from your marketplace.

In addressing this question, set a specific target date and establish benchmarks to track your progress along the timeline.

Now, let's proceed to question 3, which is "Under what circumstances, where, when, and with whom do you want to have this result?" The purpose of this question is to ensure that the goal is ecologically sound.

We have all heard stories of individuals who, upon achieving a goal, realize that it wasn't worth the sacrifices made. It is better to consider this in advance and ensure that you do not choose a goal that could potentially have disastrous effects.

Take a moment to try it on. Imagine it. Create a mental movie of the desired outcome. Consider the income potential and the costs associated with achieving the goal. Ask yourself important questions such as: How could pursuing and attaining this outcome become a problem for me?

Ecology checks are in place to protect you.

Another positively oriented ecological check is to assess how your desired outcome will affect your life. Consider its impact on your health, family, friends, and work. Reflect on the ripple effects that achieving what you want may have. Will it affect the people who are important to you? Could it change your behavior and subsequently alter some of the friendships you enjoy at work? Would your teammates become more competitive?

Seek input from people who know you well, such as your spouse and children. It is important to anticipate these possibilities and consider their perspectives.

Now, let's examine question 4: "What stops you from having this desired outcome already?" Explore any thoughts, feelings, or circumstances that appear to impede progress towards your desired outcome.

This question serves a dual purpose. Firstly, it helps you create a list of action items that need to be addressed to make progress towards your goals. Secondly, it allows you to uncover your thoughts and emotions, aiding in the identification of any limiting beliefs you may be holding onto. This presents an opportunity to address and overcome them.

The answers that emerge from this exploration simply become tasks on your to-do list. By distinguishing what is real and what is not, you can develop a practical strategy for achieving your goal. Asking questions like these helps you reassess and refine goals that have been generating mixed feelings.

The second-to-last question is "What resources will you need to create what you want?"

According to the author, resources in NLP also include knowledge, time, money, contacts, support, and more.

This step has two parts. Firstly, identify the resources you already possess that will contribute to achieving your desired outcome. Secondly, determine the additional resources you will require to attain your goal.

If you find yourself encountering difficulties with this question, consider brainstorming with your teammates, peers, advisors, and family members for input and ideas.

And finally, the last question in NLP's "Well-Formed Outcome" is "How are you going to get there, and what is the first step to begin to achieve this result?"

Without taking action, a goal remains merely an idea. A well-defined plan breaks down the "who, what, how, when, and where" into manageable steps. It is crucial to have various options for accomplishing a goal. NLP operates on the principle that more choice leads to better outcomes. If your plan restricts you to only one way of doing something, it may result in disappointment. Instead, view your plan as a roadmap that guides you toward your destination, allowing for alternate routes to be considered.

To conclude this question, determine the first step you will take to achieve your goal and reach the desired outcome successfully.

So, in conclusion, the well-formed outcome framework outlined in NLP offers valuable guidance to avoid the negative feelings that can arise when goals are not achieved. By following the structured approach of the well-formed outcome, salespeople and entrepreneurs can enhance their chances of success while minimizing disappointment, frustration, self-doubt, guilt, regret, and demotivation.

The well-formed outcome process starts with clearly defining the goal, ensuring it is stated in positive terms and within your control. By breaking down the goal into sensory-specific details, it becomes more tangible and easier to connect with on an emotional level. Considering the impact on your life and the potential ripple effects helps you assess the ecological fit of the goal.

Next, identifying the resources needed for goal attainment becomes essential. This includes both the resources you already possess and those that require acquisition. By brainstorming and seeking input from others, you can expand your options and find innovative solutions.

Finally, the well-formed outcome emphasizes the importance of creating a well-defined plan with multiple pathways to success. By understanding that a goal is more than just an idea and requires action, you can develop a roadmap that outlines the steps, milestones, and alternate routes. Taking the first step becomes crucial to initiate progress and maintain momentum.

By following the well-formed outcome process, salespeople and entrepreneurs can align their goals, resources, and actions effectively. This structured approach not only enhances the likelihood of achieving desired outcomes but also mitigates the negative emotions associated with unmet goals. Ultimately, the well-formed outcome empowers individuals to navigate setbacks, maintain motivation, and create a path toward success.