Decision Making with
Well-Formed Outcomes

Well-formed outcomes are described in sensory based, positive terms that address both motivation and the impact on others.

What is 'well-formedness'?

The first stage in effective decision making is to make sure that your outcomes are 'well formed'.


Well formed outcomes are derived by working through of a set questions that generate a well formed outcome.


Well formed outcomes are described in sensory based, positive terms. This means that unlike SMART objectives, they address both motivation and the impact on others.


If your outcome is poorly formed in your mind or you cannot see it clearly then it is very unlikely that you will achieve it.


Your outcome is well formed if:

  • You know clearly what you want and it is specific enough that if you gave it to someone else they would immediately understand what you wanted.
  • Achieving it is totally within your control.
  • You are motivated by the benefits that this outcome will get for you.
  • You are congruent with the consequences to other parties
  • You know what the first step is and are willing to take it.


The process is likely to be iterative. Whenever you reach a question that you cannot answer positively, you must review the outcome statement and refine it. This is particularly likely in terms of whether achieving it is within your control. Either you must create a new outcome - to obtain necessary resources or permissions - or you must change the outcome to creating the circumstances most likely to enable a successful outcome, rather than the original outcome itself.


Sometimes the question "What stops you"? can reveal something that is fundamental, but surprisingly easy to resolve.

As well as supporting decision making processes, setting well formed outcomes is an excellent basis for delegation. It can also be a key process within coaching.

Creating a well formed outcome

Creating a well-formed outcome is an iterative exercise.


Answer the following questions and keep repeating the exercise until you can answer all questions satisfactorily.

  1. What do you want? State your outcome specifically. You can define a multiple outcome by using the word AND. Never, ever, use BUT. Check that your outcome is stated in the positive. Then ask what would be a better outcome than this?
  2. Is the achievement of this outcome within your control? What do you need to achieve it?
  3. When and where do you want this?
  4. What will the achievement of this outcome do for you? How will achieving this outcome benefit you?
  5. What might stop you achieving this outcome? Why have you not already achieved it? What might be the benefits of not achieving it?
  6. How will you know when you have achieved this outcome? What evidence will you use to let you know that you are achieving this outcome?
  7. How will achieving this affect other areas of your life? Is this outcome acceptable to you and to other people?
  8. What is the first action you must take to achieve this outcome?

Find out about decision making training workshops

Brefi Group possesses a unique combination of maturity, professional skills and human qualities required for supporting managers and directors, whether they be in commercial or public organisations or running a small company.


We would be delighted to create a customised decision making workshop or creating special sessions in partnership with you. Regular training and facilitated away days contribute significantly to the effectiveness of any team.


If you are still undecided and would like to know a little bit more about us before making contact, please visit our home page to consider our impeccable credentials and the many benefits we could offer to you and your organisation.


When you are ready to move forward, the next step is easy.

What to do next

If you would  like to know more about how we can support your personal development as a director, facilitate an away day or corporate retreat, or assist with your board's corporate governance, contact us or call +44 (0) 7970 891 343.

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