Saturday, December 29, 2007

PRIEST for Well-Formed Outcomes

The acronym PRIEST provides a framework for evaluating outcomes. In Brilliant Nlp: What the Most Successful People Know, Say & Do, David Molden and Pat Hutchinson share the PRIEST framework for well-formed goals.

PRIEST for Well-Formed Outcomes
Molden and Hutchinson write how to use PRIEST for goals:

  • P is for Positively Stated.
  • R is for Resources
  • I is for Initiated and Maintained By Self
  • E is for Ecology
  • S is for Sensory Evidence
  • T is for Time.

P is for Positively Stated
Molden and Hutchinson write:

"A feature of the human mind is its inability to process a negative. Consider the following instruction, "whatever you do, do NOT think about a pink elephant," Oh! Too late, you thought about one didn't you? We know you did because you have to think of the thing you are not supposed to think about! Beware of your capacity to "get what you focus on." If your main focus is on what you don't want you may end up getting it! Make sure that your outcomes are clearly stated in the positive -- in other words what you do want, not what you don't want (a pink elephant.) "

R is for Resources
Molden and Hutchinson write:

"This includes internal as well as external resources. Do you have the courage, confidence, staying power, commitment, determination and other internal
resources you may need to succeed? If not there are NLP techniques you can use
to acquire them. What external resources will you need - finance, people, knowledge?

I is for Initiated and Maintained by Self
Molden and Hutchinson write:

"Is the achievement of this outcome totally in your control or does it depend on something outside your control? You may want to adjust your outcome if you are not fully in control. Even if you involve other people to help you, make sure you keep hold of the responsibility for your choices, even when things don't go according to plan."

E is for Ecology
Molden and Hutchinson write:

"Have you considered the consequences of achieving your outcome? What are the likely impacts on other people and other aspects of your life? Are they acceptable to you? This is known as an 'ecology check.' "

S is for Sensory Evidence
Molden and Hutchinson write:

"What sensory evidence will tell you that you have successfully achieved your outcomes? What will you hear? what will you see and how will you feel? Take
some time to imagine how things will be in the future having achieved what you
set out to achieve. How will you know you have been successful?"

T is for Time
Molden and Hutchinson write:

"What timescale are you working to? How long will it take you to achieve all the outcomes attached to your goal? If you write out your goals it is very easy to miss something.

Key Take Aways
Here's my key take aways:

  • Leverage sensory evidence. I think this is a hidden gem. Hard measures aren't always the best way to show progress, particularly when it's not obvious or it's tough to measure. For example, if you're losing weight, what you see and feel might be more promising feedback than what you see on a scale. On the flip side, if you're not seeing or feeling results, your approach might not be working and it might be time to change your approach.
  • Leverage your resources. I think this is another key to success. I see too many people go it alone without figuring out what they need, beyond just motivation. Knowledge is key. One of the most effective ways to succeed is to use reference examples and model their success. Mentors are all around you. Figuring out the resources you'll need up front can really help you over hurdles downstream, particulary if your lacking a resource like knowledge.
  • Focus on what you want. This sounds obvious, but it's easier to stay on course if you keep your attention on where you're going versus where you don't want to go.
  • Know how the system will react. I really like the ecology check. You can affect a lot of change in your sphere of influence. Anticipating what the downstream chain of reaction might be, can be motivating or it might inspire you to take a different course.
  • Use time to your advantage. Do you need to be a tortoise or a hare? Is is a marathon or a sprint? Can you chunk it up and get incremental results sooner? Do you personally thrive on building momentum? Can you scale back Rome? Keeping perspective on time, anticipating results, and choosing the right pace go a long way for effective results. One of the most important things to remember is that consistent action over time produces profound change. Most of the meaningful changes you want probably go beyond a short-burst effort.

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