Why Focusing on “Inputs” is Better than Focusing on “Outcomes” | By Craig Groeschel

Christian leadership requires integrity, courage, wisdom, and focus. Developing effective “leadership inputs” leads to transformational growth.

As a leader, what you put in determines what you put out.

If you’re like many leaders, you have some frustrating outcomes happening in your organization — a list of things you would like to change, undo, redo, or rebuild.

Here’s the truth: We all experience undesirable outcomes because we have unhealthy inputs. Most leaders obsess about outcomes. But the best leaders obsess about inputs.

Your inputs determine your outcomes.

To improve your inputs, focus on two “whats” and a “who.”

1. What You Consume

The content you consume shapes how you think and who you become as a leader.

What comes into your mind comes out in your leadership.

  • Question: As a leader, what are you consuming? What are you putting into your mind that’s coming out in your leadership?

Many leaders are on a junk-food diet for their minds and souls. The majority of what we watch, read, scroll through, and look at doesn’t help us grow in our leadership.

As a leader, you conform to what you consume.

Much like how your physical body doesn’t improve while consuming carbs and candy, your leadership capacity is never strengthened by empty entertainment, negativity, or distractions.

As a leader, you need to treat your leadership development in the same way you would treat your physical development.

  • Question: What are you doing today that will strengthen your leadership tomorrow?

Every day, you should be consuming something that is strengthening your leadership. There’s no excuse for not consuming great leadership development material in today’s world. If you’re consuming junk, you’re going to have junk leadership. If you consume great leadership content, it’s going to help you lead yourself well.

2. What You Attempt

You don’t grow by doing what you did. So, how do you grow? You grow by either:

  • Doing more of what you already did, or
  • Doing something different than what you normally do

In the same way that you don’t expect to grow by doing the same workout at the gym, you won’t grow as a leader by doing the same thing you’ve always done.

You don’t get better by doing the same thing.

This might sound odd, but one of the best ways to grow as a leader is to grow in a new and unrelated area of life. This is important because we all have some leadership insecurity, something that makes us think, “I’m not very good at this.”

Trying something new will do three things for your leadership:

  • Trying something new increases your humility. It reminds you that you’re still learning.
  • Trying something new gets you comfortable being uncomfortable. The only way you can get better is by pushing through discomfort.
  • Trying something new builds your confidence that you’re always growing. It reminds you that you can still learn new things as a leader.

When you experience these three things, it shifts your thinking from, “I’m not very good at this,” to, “I’m not very good at this yet.”

3. Who You Surround Yourself With

It’s impossible to overstate the importance of surrounding yourself with great leaders.

You are generally the average of your five closest friends.

If you want to grow as a leader, surround yourself with people who are better, smarter, wiser, and more experienced than you.

When you’re around great leaders, don’t just study what they do, study how they think.

Ask them about what content they consume, what habits they have, and what questions they love to ask.

There’s no excuse to not surround yourself with great leaders.

Find a roundtable to attend, a counselor to see, or a great leader to take to lunch, and learn from them.

This article comes from the Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast and is part of a larger teaching. Learn more, visit www.craiggroeschel.com.

To learn more about leading yourself, listen to Episodes 97 and 98 of the Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast. Unpack how to develop your own leadership identity and lead yourself to live it out every day. 

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