Control the Control-ables!

There are two types of jobs – task-oriented jobs and outcome-oriented jobs.

A task-oriented job requires an employee to do a certain number of tasks which leads to a predictable range of results.

For instance, a sales person might be required to make 100 calls in 1 day; a web designer might be expected to build 10 landing pages in 1 day. In essence, you are assigned some tasks and if you do those tasks well, you’ll get an expected or predictable result.

You are paid for completing allocated tasks because your employer knows that such tasks leads to predictable results.

On the other hand, outcome-oriented jobs are a completely different ball game.

In such a role, you are expected to achieve a certain outcome, but you are also expected to figure out the tasks on your own.

For instance, while handling a product portfolio to me, my former Japanese employer said he expected me to earn eight hundred thousand U.S dollars from the Sub-Saharan region of the company’s market within one year.

He said, “Congrats Charlie, I need you to sell 100 engines or earn about 800k American dollars by this time next year,” “Good luck my friend”.

Outcome-oriented jobs seems to be a freehanded animal where you’re not micromanaged, and you are literally allowed to go whichever direction you want to achieve your target. However, it is the riskiest, because even if you take all the right steps, things don’t always work out well, because “stuff” happen in life.

The reality is that many things could go wrong, your star employee leaves the company, your key account or customer decides to exit the business, currency fluctuation or government regulations might affect export or import operations, you experience a health scare. You see, a thousand and one things could derail your best laid plans.

You’d be left with the option of either absorbing adversities to continue on your track or you might be tempted to abandon the ship all-together.

So how do you navigate these murky waters?

Here is an idea worth considering.

Control the Control-ables!

It is true, several aspects of an outcome-oriented job are out of your control. But, some aspects are within your control.

The strategy is to control the things that are within your control.

This is especially true when you’re faced with a crisis.

Your reaction, your reflex actions, the decisions on what to do next lies with you.
Too many times, your focus is directed at the adversities and your problems.

CEOs of multinational companies were freaking out when the U.S economy took a beating and lost up to $400 million in 2008. They forgot that there was still $14.6 billion circulating within the economy.

A report published on Harvard Business Review sampled CEO opinions from 2008 to 2012, the result suggested that companies whose CEOs saw the 2008 economic crisis as an opportunity to grow emerged from the crisis stronger and more financially buoyant while most companies with cynical and reactive CEOs went bankrupt or emerged from the crisis weaker.

When faced with crisis, the human instinct is to fear and stand still while witnessing an adversity we can’t control.

Whereas, the productive thing to do is to quickly assess what else we have remaining that is STILL in our control.

Just like the successful CEOs, focus on the remaining $14.6 billion within your reach rather than the $400 million foregone.

In every aspect of life, especially in times of adversities and crisis.

There is always something left within your control.

You didn’t ace the job interview, consider other job opportunities.

That person turned you down on a date? Ask yourself, how many other person in the world could be your date? Statistically speaking, your chances are high.

If Plan A is not working out, as QUICKLY as possible mentally shift your focus onto Plan B, focus on your remaining $14.6 billion potential.

What I’m trying to tell you is that – life is much more productive and enjoyable when you control your reaction and what’s in your power to control.

In fact, this gives you the ability to mentally and sometimes physically work around things you cannot control.

Dear friend … Go ahead and flourish, don’t be held down in your presumed helplessness, focus on what’s remaining. It is enough for you to step back up.

Good luck!

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