The Cycle of Control – How Decisions Influence Outcomes

The Cycle of Control – How Decisions Influence Outcomes

A few weeks ago I mentioned this cycle as something to remember:

  1. You cannot control outcomes
  2. You cannot control other people
  3. When it’s your turn to make a decision, you HAVE to make a decision. Get it wrong if you must, but make a decision. (Read why its OK to be wrong here)

This isn't a new concept and it pretty obvious, but it’s the obvious things that we never think about which tend to stump us when it matters.

So - why is this a cycle?

Glad you asked..

My branch of the company (e-commerce) had grown from 0 to over 1-million in revenue with no marketing budget. But it seemed evident that, in order to get to 2-million in revenue, we were in need of marketing help.

I talked to other business owners, did my research, and chose a company which seemingly would further my business in ways I could not on my own. This marketing company was supposed to work with me, as my counterpart, to do a job my team and I did not have time to do.

I knew the outcome I wanted, and found the counterpart which I believed would help me reach said outcome.

Inevitably and repeatedly, as a business owner, you will be in a position of making decisions where you have a counterpart.

Any time you have a counterpart, you are your counterparts.... counterpart.

And any time you have a counterpart, they have the ability to influence outcomes - just as you do.

In other words: when someone else is the variable that can influence the outcome you want - and you know you cannot control them (which you can’t) - you are the same to them.

In the case of my search for a good marketing company, we were each other's counterpart.

My outcome was set on a better marketing strategy and increased sales; their outcome was set on increasing their customer base and sales by retaining me as a client.

My decision to choose their company was matched by their decision to serve my company. They would deliver advertisements that led to sales for my company and I would continue to pay them for this service.

This is all great in theory; however, it quickly became evident that my desired outcome for my company was not matched by my counterpart.

The company we choose did not align with our vision, and delivered extremely poor results.

This led to me make the decision to purse other companies who may better share my vision for the desired outcome of my company.

When I made this decision, I (as the counterpart to this marketing company) changed their outcome and left room for them to find other counterparts.

Because I made the decision to move on and find a new marketing company, I made the decision to not waste either of our resources - time and money - trying to make something work that was never going to work.

If I did not choose to leave them, I would continue to see poor results from my investment and would not increase my spending with them. This would be bad for both of us - not just me.

  • They would be stuck with a static, frustrated customer who didn’t want to increase their revenue.
  • And I would be stuck paying for a service that did not move us closer to our goals.

This is why remembering the cycle matters.

If I chose to continue paying for a service that did not get us closer to our goals and did not make the decision to move on, I would be relinquishing all of my control and influence of the outcome to someone else.

One of the best qualities to have in a negotiation for an outcome is the ability to make decisions.

When you are someone else's counterpart, you are their uncontrollable variable. Your inability to make decisions makes you a liability to the outcome you want.

Outcomes happen when everyone involved has made the decisions needed to progress.

You cannot directly control outcomes that involve other influences (i.e other people), but you can be a valuable influence by staying engaged and active in the process of making decisions.

The Takeaway:

1/ You cannot control outcomes, but you can control your influence on the outcome by actively making decisions as they are required.

2/ You cannot control other people, and they cannot control you. But you can influence outcomes by actively engaging problem's with decisions.

3/ When it’s your turn to make a decision, make it; get it wrong if you must, but make a decision. It is detrimental to both the outcome of you and your counterparts if you do not do this.

Photo by Samuel Chenard on Unsplash