A compelling outcome is like an opening gambit in chess. It sets the scene for the rest of the game, and the attention we bring to defining the outcome has a direct bearing on the flow towards achieving the desired results. A well-formed outcome can be compelling and makes the difference between wanting something in theory, and making it real.
Make large, clear mental pictures of the outcome to work towards, with yourself doing what you are compelling yourself to do. This alone keeps the intention and enthusiasm on track, providing momentum and motivation.
A well-formed outcome describes something we want, in sensory based, positive terms. It includes a description of what we want it for and the terms, conditions and contexts in which we want to have it. It includes consideration of different approaches and time frames, costs and consequences to interested parties, and whether it is within our control.
How to create a Compelling Outcome (NLP Well-Formed Outcome)?
1. What do I want?
Ask this question about the context you are considering. State what you want in positive terms, i.e. what do you want, and what do you want it to do? Where do you want it? When do you want it? E.g. I want to be, do or have X’. If the answer forms as ‘I do not want..’ then ask ‘What do I want instead of …’.
2. Is it achievable?
Is it possible for a human being to achieve the outcome? If someone has done it, then in theory you can do it, too. If you are the first, you can find out if it is possible.
3. What will I accept as evidence that I have achieved my outcome?
What evidence will you accept that lets you know when you have the outcome? Ensure that you describe evidence in sensory based terms i.e.: What you can see, hear and/or touch that proves to you and/or others that you have done what you intended.
4. Is achieving this outcome within my control?
Is it under you control, i.e. can you, personally do, authorize or arrange it? Anything outside your control is not ‘well formed’. Instructing your broker is within your control. So is buying in expertise. Asking your employer for time off is not. The time off will only become well formed if you get it.
Ensuring personal control and other people’s consent draws attention to preparing the project. If an outcome depends on another’s consent, it is not well formed. Any permission should be negotiated early, or it can become a sub outcome. Outcomes can be nested at different logical levels. Nesting parts of an outcome can ease its passage and completion, often sooner than we thought.
5. Are the costs and consequences of obtaining this outcome acceptable?
Ensure that the outcome is worth the time, outlay and effort involved in achieving it and you include any impact on important others and the environment. ‘Ecology’ describes whether an outcome’s costs, time frame, and consequences including benefits are acceptable. Is the outcome worth the effort, time and other costs involved in getting there, including strain on valued third parties, and is the result worth having and keeping? Does it support or detract from our life style, relationships, and other factors that matter? Does the time frame fit?
6. Do I have all the resources I need to achieve my outcome?
Do you have or can you get all the resources, tangible and intangible that you need to achieve your outcome? Resources include knowledge, beliefs, objects, premises, people, money, time. Are all the necessary resources available to achieve the outcome in the time frame and within cost?
7. If I could have it now or at the appropriate time, would I take it?
Are all costs and consequences of achieving your outcome, including the time involved, acceptable to you and anyone else affected by it? This is known as ecology. Then consider the costs, consequences, environmental and third party impact of having your outcome.
An outcome is stated in positive terms and so helps our thinking about what we want, not what we do not want. If we describe what we want in detail we can recognize it when it happens.When defining evidence of the desired outcome, we need to describe something we could see, hear or feel and point out to someone else. That is sensory based evidence. It is the only reliable evidence for a well-formed outcome. We can apply it equally to £10M in the bank or to happiness, love or peace.