When I was a teacher, I remember one day walking into the teacher common area and hearing a fellow teacher ask another “what are you going to teach today?”. An older, revered teacher on the faculty, perked up and said “Wrong question. It’s not what you are going to teach, it’s what are the students going to learn?” That moment has stuck with me.
For much of our lives, we have focused a lot of time on measuring inputs. How many hours did you put in? How much practice have you done? How many years of school did you complete? Miles run. Laps swam. Lessons prepped. How many credentials have you racked up? How much code have you written? How many years of marketing experience do you have?
This is an input driven way of looking at the world, when what we really want to know is, how did you make an impact or a difference on the slice of the world you were in at the time? What did you do that directly affected the experience of others or the experience of a new product?
When we ask people in the interview process, “what sort of experience do you have?” we mean experience influencing outcomes.
While there are generally flagship outcomes of companies, the best companies are built on a series of world-class folks influencing outcomes all along the way - big and small. It’s not what you’re going to do today, it’s what outcome you’re going to impact.