Mind, Motivation

The Mindset to Getting Things Done: Think Result-Oriented

washing_the_dishes_zenQuestioner: “How do you take on the bureaucracy that damages so many organizations?”

Jack Welch: “Damages? How about deadens?
That’s a better word to describe what bureaucracy does; it sucks the life out of a business … Kafkaesque … kick bureaucracy: At every chance, poke fun at anyone who tries to install process for process’s sake; rib people who get all puffy about their positions or titles.What you want is…A business where an idea’s value has nothing to do with the stripes on the shoulder of the person behind it …” (source)

I recently made some changes in how I approach my daily work life. I switched more to a result-oriented thinking. Again. Since I already learned the value of result-oriented thinking when it comes to getting things done. If the productivity and time-management information is not really working for you it may not be the technique but the engine running it (source)

The Mindset of Getting Things Done
There are two basic mindsets about something we want to do:

Process oriented
What does the task mean? What will happen on the way to get there? How does it feel if I do it?

Those may be the questions we ask internally if we adopt this mindset. The problem: if you don’t feel very good doing the necessary things, you might not give the best you could. This could lead to always trying to go the easy way and to avoid the tougher but sometimes necessary ways.

Result oriented
How can I achieve this? What do I have to do now to get there? How does getting the result feel?

If you think result oriented, you tend to see the end in your mind and you are looking for the fastest way to go there. You want to have the result. This means that you become much more focused on action “flowing” towards the result.

There may be some other mindsets when it comes to getting things done, such as the relationship oriented where you ask yourself “What does this task mean to my relationship to the people involved?” I seriously think that in general woman are more into this mindset.

Advantage 1: Flexibility
But the basic difference is the process vs. result orientation. If you think in results, the way to get the result is not that important. What matters is the result itself. This means that your way to get things done stays very flexible . If approach one did not work, doesn’t matter much! The approach was not important, the result is. So we just change the approach to a better one. We don’t get stuck in a process or even in the thick of processes.

So flexibility is one major advantage in the result oriented mindset.

Advanage 2: Drive to Action
Another even more important one is the drive to action . If you want the result you usually want it now. This produces a lot of potential energy to invest into the actions to the result. What I experience is that the anticipation of the result is what makes the process actually enjoyable, even if the task in itself is pretty boring.

An example
Here is an example when you are about to “clean the dishes”:

Cleaning the dishes process oriented:

“Ahwww, what an awful boring task again! I have to take the plates and glasses and make them clean. Then use the towel, dry them and put them into the cupboard.”

Cleaning the dishes result oriented:

“I want to have a clean and nice kitchen. What do I have to do to get the result? I have to wash the dishes, the plates and glasses and I put them into the cupboard then. So let’s get moving! I want to have my sweet clean kitchen back. … hmm, cleaning the dishes is not that bad actually ;)”

While it may not be that unbiased it makes the point clear: if you know why you are doing it, you are more motivated to take action having your result in mind. The same applies to all kind of usually more complex tasks of the information-age. Result-orientation simply makes it faster and easier to succeed.

Result-Orientation and the Present Moment
But …

… let me share this little story from the book “The Miracle of Mindfulness ” by Thich Nhat Hanh (which I found on Kevin Rose Blog ):

The cup in your hands:

In the United States, I have a close friend named Jim Forest. When I first met him eight years ago, he was working with the Catholic Peace Fellowship. Last winter, Jim came to visit. I usually wash the dishes after we’ve finished the evening meal, before sitting down and drinking tea with everyone else. One night, Jim asked if he might do the dishes. I said, “Go ahead, but if you wash the dishes you must know the way to wash them.” Jim replied, “Come on, you think I don’t know how to wash the dishes?” I answered, “There are two ways to was the dishes. The first is to wash the dishes in order to have clean dishes and the second is to wash the dishes to wash the dishes.” Jim was delighted and said, “I choose the second way–to wash the dishes to wash the dishes.” From then on, Jim knew how to wash the dishes. I transferred the “responsibility” to him for an entire week.

If while washing dishes, we think only of the cup of tea that awaits us, thus hurrying to get the dishes out of the way as if they were a nuisance, then we are not “washing the dishes to wash the dishes.” What’s more, we are not alive during the time we are washing the dishes. In fact, we are completely incapable of realizing the miracle of life while standing at the sink. If we can’t wash the dishes, the chances are we won’t be able to drink our tea either. While drinking the cup of tea, we will only be thinking of other things, barely aware of the cup in our hands. Thus we are sucked away into the future and we are incapable of actually living one minute of life.” ~ The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh

Hmm.. this kinda contradicts my first conclusion, doesn’t it? I’m really curious. What do you think?
And secondly, do you honestly wash the dishes to wash the dishes or to have clean dishes?