Sunday, August 8, 2010

Recognizing Results

Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.- Matthew 7:20 (ESV)

When it comes to ministry and business, we see a lot of people gauging success by results. The results let the people know what came about due to their efforts. The results come in various forms. Most assuredly, the results can be numeric and measured in quantitative terms. Also, results can also be identified as qualitative with intrinsic value. Yet, many may not understand or recognize the essence of their results.

Results are generated by effort, usually the work related with delivering a service or product through our ministry or business. Our efforts lead to results. We put in the work and expect to see results based upon what we have invested into the work. However, we must be realistic about our results in order to not repeat mistakes and to implement innovations based upon lessons learned in the field.
Our results can come about from what is intentional and what is incidental.

  • Intentional: These are the results that we have set as targets from the onset of the project or venture. They are the results that we have set up as measures with benchmarks and time-sensitive checkpoints for status and progress reports. These results speak to our ability to reach identified goals within a prescribed period of time with a certain allotment of resources. Obtaining intentional results deals with deliberate actions for desired outcomes. Our intentional results help us identify where we hit and missed targets along the way, allowing us to also identify internal and external factors that impacted the results. For instance, an external factor such as a recession and economic downturn can have drastic impacts on fee-based services and the acquisition of "new" business for service providers. Therefore, in reporting on results, the team and its leadership should research factors-whether internal or external- that impacted whether results were achieved or not.

  • Incidental: Results such as these stem from what occurs in the process of conducting business. Typically, these are unplanned and unexpected results that occur while delivering services and achieving desired results. For instance, your program may be designed to reach the children of low-income families and you discover that, in the process of doing so, you are able to assist single-parent households and at-risk students at the same time. You didn't intend to do so, but you were able to reach such people due to the broader audience you were seeking to reach. Such incidental success should be recorded and reported along with your intentional success, seeking to replicate similar success in the future as part of an intentional plan.

You are known by your fruit. In other words, your results tell a lot to others about what you have to offer and what you are able to achieve. If you have grant funding or donors, you need to be able to share about your results. In the case of business, where you have investors, stockholders or other interested parties, you should be able to explain your results in layman's terms. Demonstrate good stewardship by reporting on your results, recognizing what you achieved and whether your results were intentional or incidental.

People know you by your fruit. People know you by what you produce.

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