Output vs. Outcome

Since this conversation has come up more than once lately, I thought this might make a good blog subject.  The question central to the subject is simply put, do you know the difference between output and outcome?  I refer specifically to your work – though it could be easily applied, and often is, to strategic thinking/planning.

Output refers to productivity.  In my case, I’m working on social media exposure for recruiting people towards Officership.  I’m also developing a variety of other tools, mostly digital, to help Corps Officers.  These are outputs as it relates to my work.

Outcomes are only measured if the outputs are effective and cause people to apply for Officership.  Frankly, without an increase in the number of people considering and applying for Officership I have not created outcome.

Strategic planning often fails to identify and take this difference into consideration.  It’s easy for a stragetic plan to have outputs and no outcomes.

Output = activity or stuff.

Outcome = results.

GM had output…cars.  Toyota had outcomes…customer satisfaction. (Past tense as GM seems to be making some effort to create outcome.)

BlackBerry has output….gadgets, Apple has outcome…increased consumer market share…and….the cool factor!

Eatons has output…large stores, Costco had outcomes…people paying to be able to buy from them.

In farming…planting seeds is output…but only when their is fruit from the seed is there an outcome.

Got it?

If you supervise people – being concerned about their being at their desk or showing up on time is about output…being concerned about their effectiveness is about outcome.

Love to hear your thoughts.

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