Best Possible Outcomes

by Jim Jensen, FSA

Most of us set or are given goals at work each year and it’s a good idea to set goals for things like family time, our health and other things that are important to us.  Unfortunately, such goals to often focus on an activity rather than on the end result and we often set goals that are either too easy or ridiculously high.  Using healthy living as a personal example that too many of us need to work on, our goal is either “I’ll work out at home once a week if time permits” which allows you to do nothing and be successful or it’s “I’ll work out two hours every day at the health club without exception” which isn’t possible for most of us – and note that neither of these really get at the goal of healthy living which takes more than just exercise.

At Think2Perform, we think that goals should be set using a “best possible outcome” approach.   “Best” means that we’re going to purposely push ourselves in our goal, “possible” means that we’re also going to be realistic and select something achievable and “outcome” means that we’re going to stay focused on the end result we want to achieve.  Under a best possible outcome approach, our outcome might simply be to “adopt a healthier lifestyle” which we tactically do by selecting achievable changes such as eating more balanced meals, having an annual check-up, limiting alcohol intake, scheduling at least 30 minutes of quiet time each day and adopting a regular exercise routine – all consciously selected to support the goal of a healthier lifestyle.

Best possible outcome goals work make sense in the office too.  When my goal was to “respond to regulatory challenges in a timely manner”, I lost sight of other compliance issues that impacted our business and which led to a low rating and I didn’t really challenge myself or my team to think about improving our process.  When I changed my goal the next year to “find effective ways to prevent and effectively manage our compliance issues”, it led me to engage our full team to prevent issues rather than just respond to them, to identify and address issues ourselves rather than have regulators do that for us and to have a resolution process that appropriately included others in the organization.  Our regulatory issues went way down, our new approach took less time than before, it was much more fun and engaging for my team and, not surprisingly, our performance rating went way up.

If you or your firm need help setting goals that drive best possible outcomes, Think2Perform can help.  Please feel free to contact us at

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