Clarity is a crucial strategy for business growth. I worked for an organization where the CEO was all over the place. He thought he was clear, that a direction was set. And for him, I suppose it was. The chaos that reigned under him was proof that absolute clarity was desperately needed. I think he was so excited about his vision. He forgot to bring everyone else along for the ride.
So how do we become inclusive with our Vision for our business? I propose clarity is an essential component. And you will need to be clear about where you want the company to be in three areas:
- Clarity of Vision, Goals, and Priorities
- Clarity in Communication
- Clarity of Accountability
Clarity of Vision, Priorities, and Goals
If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there? And if your team doesn’t know where you’re going, how will they ever be able to make decisions? That was the challenge of the leader I discussed in the opening paragraph. He wasn’t clear on where we were going. And that makes it nearly impossible for teams to come together under the leader and drive the business to success.
First, the leader needs to create a clear vision of success within a reasonable time horizon. I like three to five years. And I like a lot of specificity around revenue, profit, headcount, product set, and more. Vision paints a vivid picture for your organization that shows what success will look like.
Second, once that longer-term vision is established, the leader must set the short-term metrics of success. In year one, what numbers need to be hit around revenue, productivity, clients, etc.? And I am looking for numbers here. It is not a goal if you can’t measure or graph it. This allows your team to make decisions on deals, hiring, and productivity that best enable the organization to meet its goals.
Third, what are the priorities for the business? Under this heading, I am looking for the projects that will help the team deliver on the one-year goals and the three-year vision., what is the work to be done? This lets your team know where they should expend their most significant effort and make decisions.
Clarity of Communication
Many people think they are great communicators. They are comfortable standing up in front of a room. They speak concisely and can elicit a great response from their audience. And that is great. It’s also not what I’m talking about.
Communication brings clarity when it helps the team understand everything I outlined in the last section. It requires intentional efforts. Because as much as you think you’re communicating enough, you’re not. People need to hear something at least twelve times before it sinks in. When you are sick of talking about it, your audience is just beginning to hear it. So, what do you need to do?
- Create a consistent set of talking points around your vision, goals, and priorities and work them into every speech or presentation you make to the team.
- When your leadership team meets and makes crucial decisions for the business, agree on how that decision will be communicated and provide a set of talking points they will make to their teams.
- When you meet with individual team members, talk about vision, goals, and priorities and how they are relevant to their specific job. Help them to align their role to the greater good of the business.
Remember, it’s nearly impossible to over-communicate. Stay focused on it!
Clarity of Accountability
When we speak to our teams on goals and priorities, we want to be very clear on who is responsible for achieving them. Of course, as the senior leader, you bear ultimate responsibility for everything. But who on your team is accountable for delivering on goals or executing business priorities? As the leader, you need someone to provide updates and troubleshoot for every problem related to the purpose or focus. And, most importantly, the person you help celebrate the success as the goals or priorities are achieved.
Too often, leaders settle for a shared responsibility or don’t identify anyone at all for accountability. And when that doesn’t exist, targets are easily missed. Assumptions are made on who was doing the work, and unfortunately, it can turn out that no one is doing the work.
Every successful organization has clarity around who is tasked with getting things done. They have a go-to person for each objective and every project. And this accountability ensures that problems are seen sooner, resources are aligned efficiently, and projects get done on time and budget.
Being clear is so essential for leaders. When they can cast a strong vision for the business, the team quickly aligns behind it. When they communicate effectively, everyone knows what is critical and makes the best decision possible for business growth. And clearly defined responsibilities holds people accountable and ensure that the good work gets done.
It’s not easy, though. It requires self-awareness, intention, and diligence. And even the best leaders need help with that. How about you? Would you like to be a leader of clarity, ensuring your team is aligned effectively around you? I can help. Let’s set up a quick call and see how.