outcomesOne of the things I’ve learned in consulting is helping people make the shift from focusing on outputs to focusing on outcomes.

What’s the difference? Outputs are related to the activity you’re doing. Outcomes are focused on the results you want to get. An example of an output is doing an outreach event. An example of an outcome is what percentage of those who came took the next step toward increased connection. An output is conducting a class on spiritual gifts, while an outcome is how many of those are actually using their spiritual gifts now.

With outputs, it’s easy to report a lot of activities that sound good. You kept busy, but did it make any difference? Thinking about this distinction is a good reminder for us to not just focus on all we’re doing in hopes that it accomplishes what we want… but to look at what we’re actually accomplishing in terms of changed lives and following Jesus.

To start, unpack your preferred future. What are you really hoping to see happen? Define the results you’re looking for. Then ask yourself what are the measurables that would accurately reflect that preferred future.