It’s easy to get stuck in a rut of doing things just because that’s how you’ve always done them. Maybe your group meets every Tuesday no matter what. Maybe you give a presentation to your junior families every year when the PSAT scores are posted. Maybe you run the same employment ad, or provide training to your tour guides, or mail packets of information to families who express interest in your school.
One way to not just improve, but also to make sure you’re doing the right things for the right reasons, is to ask, “What is the desired outcome?” What exactly are you hoping will happen as a result of whatever it is you’re doing? And what actions are you taking to achieve that desired outcome?
At Collegewise, we give hundreds of presentations each year at seminars, high schools and conferences. Depending on the audience, our desired outcomes are usually:
1. To be so good that we get invited back.
2. To attract families who appreciate and might benefit from our approach to college counseling (they can sign up for our newsletter, read this blog, buy our book, or hire one of our counselors).
Identifying those two desired outcomes completely shapes the presentation, from what we share, to what examples we use, to what we hand out to audience members at the end.
When I write an employment ad, when our counselors attend regional admissions events, even when we all get together at conferences or for trainings, we always start by asking ourselves what the desired outcome is. Then we can focus on the process we’ll use to accomplish it.
I’m not suggesting that the end result is the only thing you should care about (In fact, I think the process is often more important than the outcomes). But starting with your end in mind helps you decide what really matters most and what you have to do to get there.