Lack of clarity at any level in your organization diminishes the possibility of success. Being unclear about the purpose of your business, for example, no one knows what strategies to pursue.
If you do not know where you intend to go, any direction will do. Didn’t the Cheshire cat say this to Alice in Wonderland?
It is costly to operate without clarity. Talented people spent time, creativity and money on the wrong initiatives. When lack of clarity frustrates the people that you hire, they do not do their best work. This has an impact not only internally but also externally with customers as well. When you are unaware of the hidden costs of confusion in your business, there is little incentive to change.
Lack of clarity has three possible sources:
A. Do it on purpose—confuse people to make it easier to control them
B. Do not know any better—unaware that they are the source of confusion
C. Cannot do any better—lack the skills to communicate clearly
I recall overhearing the CEO of a small business say in an unguarded moment that he could keep his team in the dark with complex and ever changing stats. Without clarity about how the business was doing, the employees could not question decisions that significantly affected them.
Bring clarity to your business with these eight steps:
1. Tell the truth. Opinion is not fact.
2. Let the numbers do the talking. Identify the indicators that measure success, track them and report them.
3. Use simple language that is easy to understand. In other words, “espouse elucidation.”
4. Be clear in your own mind. When asked to make a decision about a candidate, a member of our search team said, “I am definitely wishy washy on this candidate.”
5. Use a picture to manage information visually. United Way uses a thermometer to show progress in the annual fund drive. It is visible on the outside of the United Way office building. I can tell at a glance how well the campaign is going.
6. Communicate. Repetition is the first law of learning. Don’t be afraid to repeat the same message more than once.
7. Everyone learns differently—some visually, some audibly, some experimentally. Use various methods and formats to communicate important information.
8. Align what you say with what you do. Remember your action speaks so loudly people cannot hear what you are saying.
The good news is that lack of clarity is largely self-imposed. If you create it, you can do something about it. Now that you know, the next step is up to you.
Where can you start to use the power of clarity to improve your results?
© 2014 Ann Elliott All Rights Reserved
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