Halfway through a recent nine-mile Sunday morning run, I encountered a plumpish woman at the Oceanside Harbor who barked, “Get those shoulders up!” I resisted the urge to respond, “Lose 20 pounds!”

I refused to allow her rudeness to interrupt my enjoyment of a beautiful morning doing what I love amid squirrels, seals and seagulls. I saw no purpose (other than revenge) to ruin her day by disparaging her appearance.

I remembered the valuable lesson my life coach Julie imparted a few years ago, when I was on the cusp of sending an email to a potential client that I would have regretted. She pointedly asked, “What outcome do you want to achieve?” Once I realized that I hoped to initiate a productive, long-term working relationship with the client, I revised my email accordingly. I got the gig!

Now, I ask clients that penetrating question. What outcome do you want to achieve … with your website, social media, internal communications, media relations and overall marketing program?

In helping a school district craft updates on frequently contentious employee compensation negotiations, I presented objective facts within a neutral context. I emphasized that although we had not reached agreements on specifics, we concurred on the overarching goal of driving student achievement.

Responding caustically to the Harbor woman would not have achieved a positive outcome, for her or me. Pitting the district against its employees would not have achieved a positive outcome for anyone – least of all the students.

Before beginning any new marketing program, ask yourself: What outcome do you want to achieve?