I never did care much for the Army’s old recruiting slogan: "Be all that you can be." It seemed so shortsighted. I’ve always wanted to be more than I could be, and that’s meant a life of learning and struggling to look beyond my own limited viewpoint. Everyone should strive to exceed his or her inherent potential; that’s one of the characteristics that sets effective leaders apart.

Bureaucracy and social inertia are the greatest stumbling blocks in the path of a creative, inspired leader. If that leader is also saddled with a restrictive thought process in making decisions, he or she is doomed to the status quo or even long-term failure. There seem to be as many decision-making styles as there are leaders. However, careful research over the years has revealed a simple thought process that is fundamental to effective decision-making. It’s called Outcomes, Methods and Resources, or OMR.

The OMR thought process is simple and direct. When faced with the need to make a decision the first thing to consider—and the only thing to consider first—is the desired outcome; that is, the overall objective. Once a clear vision of this objective is at hand then the various methods for achieving it can be evaluated. Only after selecting a method for achieving the objective should one address the question of what resources will be required to execute the method.

At first glance this may seem out of order. Surely the old tried and true methods are already proven to work best. Besides, "everyone knows" you can only do what you have resources for. But in fact, most of this nation’s business leaders think in some different sequence; for example, RMO, MOR, MRO, ORM or ROM. These other thought processes, however, suffer from a lack of vision and imagination and place no challenge on the organization to excel. They are, by their nature, restrictive and can only lead to results that fall short of the OMR approach.

Here’s a simple example. We all need to travel to and from work. The objective is to get there on time and return home safely. The methods we can choose from include walking, driving, mass transit and flying. The resources required are determined by the choice of transport method. If we decide to drive, the resource—a car—must be acquired.

Once we’ve chosen to drive, obtaining the resource becomes a subordinate objective and we can apply OMR again at this level. But we have to be careful not to let achieving a subordinate objective subvert the overall objective. For example, there are various methods for acquiring a car, but being arrested for stealing a car will not get you to work on time! Any lower level objective must serve the ultimate objective, but they must not be interdependent.

It is essential to keep each of your objectives independent and results-oriented. Beware the subconscious elimination of methods if resources don’t seem to be available. Just as dangerous is the temptation to think of methods as objectives in and of themselves. Base your selection of a method not on what has been or could be done, but on what must be done to achieve a successful outcome.

Perhaps most importantly, work to acquire the resources to do the job; don’t be restricted to doing only the job that the available resources allow. Persevere in the face of resistance from unbelievers and the results will justify themselves.

Go forth, and be more than you can be!