20 thoughts on “Outcomes vs. Activity”

  1. As a startup this is a critical problem. since you have limited ressource to operate and anything that you do will impact your business.

    This is the art of Boostrapping, knowing what to spend, when to spend and usually on what you should focus.

    I would strongly advise you to do 2 things when you are in a bootstrap mode, growth and generate a flow of income. both of them are criticals for your business even if you have funding and you think you dont need revenue yet.}

  2. That was a very useful article. I believe every one in their life should know this difference between outcome and activity. Most of the time we spend our energies on things that give no outcome and wonder what happened to all that time!!}

  3. Absolutely amazing article. I have to admit, that I was skeptical at the beginning, but as I read through, I am now convinced. Thanks!}

  4. It took me the same amount of time. I never had a problem on the technical side, however the business side eluded me for a long time. Outcomes is another word of execution. The key to both is a laser like focus on what matters most and invariably that boils down to either cash flow and or customers. The rest is activities.



  5. Howzit.

    Thats the truth isnt it. Sometimes i get so cuaght up making wonderful plans and designing logos that i get scraed to put the stuff up in the window. After all no one pays me for the work i didnt present and like the great Wayne gretsky said.. you miss 100% of the shots you dont take. Like everything else in the world, reuslts are what matter. but of course its important to properly define results and tie them to what matters, making money now.}

  6. Chris,
    Great post! As an entrepreneur and co-founder of a social network aggregator – ProfileLinker, I couldn’t agree with you more.

    The following two statements were spot on and were reminiscent of the teachings from my MBA program at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth:
    1) “It is all about outcomes — and not activities. This business truth is simple and obvious…Unfortunately, it remains strangely elusive for many founders…”
    2) “The pressurization of Military.com leadership forced me to choose only those activities that drove key outcomes: cash-flow, membership growth, and monetization.”

    As a company, I believe founders have to make it their mission from day one to create a results-driven culture. It begins at the top…and employees will ultimately follow their lead. Also, companies need to focus on the activities that will make it viable in the near / long term. To accomplish this the company must focus on its business model. The problem I find when speaking to many startups is that a viable business model is not defined outside of Google AdSense. Don’t get me wrong, many sites create revenue using contextually targeted ads, but there has to be more to monetization than AdSense. Thus, when trouble strikes, it is hard to execute on key outcomes that do not exist.

    As a founder I am challenged every day to focus on tasks that will yield the greatest results and drive my company to its end goal. It is this pressure to succeed with limited resources that oftentimes create the necessary culture and laser focus seen in great companies. Again great post! Also, thanks to Om Malik for linking to it!

    Craig Dixon

  7. Excellent read, an eye-opener of course. Beyond any doubt, that outcome is more important then the activities. Focus should be on the outcome and not on the activiites. However without the activity there can be no outcome. Of more importance is to identify the correct activity to be performed at the appropriate time with the desired result in order to obtain the desired outcome.
    In the case of military.com the euphoria overtook the rationale of the activities which led to the drowning of the desired outcomes.}

  8. Chris, it is amazing to read this today when we just did – exactly this – at blip.tv this week. I agree it is essential you set clear goals for a company and then tangible benchmarks at three-month (or so) increments so you can clearly guage how you’re doing. It’s motivating because (a) you know exactly where you need to get to and also because (b) this allows every single person at the company to see where they fit in in relation to the goals of the company. Thanks for a great piece and for the continued inspiration.}

  9. Informative article Chris! Hind-sight is 20-20, and cut to the continuity of the one consistent vision (or not).}

  10. Nice article Chris!
    I’d say that the lessons you learned could be applied to lots of situations-not just for leaders/founders.

    I particularly liked the closing comments that it’s not about the hours worked but ownership,trust and accountability.}

  11. Thanks Chris,

    Your article was very timely and given your experience with Military.com, it spoke directly the key issue. A coach once told me that life is like a football game, rarely is it staying the same. It is either getting better or it is getting worse. Even if it is just a yard or two every day or every week. whether you are gaining or losing you are generating a result but one thing for sure, you better be paying attention. A little bit over time not measured will equate to a huge result either way.

    I work with Traumatized Veterans and their immediate and extended families to help through the trials of homecoming. The only thing that matters are the outcomes. Are things getting better?. Are they drinking less, sleeping more, relating to their families better?

    We are not professional visitors, either go big or go home.

    John Henry

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