Clarity Drives Results

I woke up this morning and asked Siri, “How does my day look today?” Her gleeful response: “It’s another busy day!” I’ve come to the conclusion that Siri doesn’t have much sympathy for my packed calendar. If you’re anything like me, it’s easy to equate “a busy day” with thinking that you’re helping to drive organizational results.  That’s not always the case. My teammate’s say I’m a bit cliché, but when I speak to folks about AchieveIt, my go to line is that you can’t mistake being busy for being strategic. You can literally fill your entire day up with activities that don’t directly relate to your organization’s performance.  As I scan my calendar, I know exactly what I need to do to ensure my day is successful. It’s my conclusion that executives at every company are looking to ask Siri a similar question, not about their individual calendar, but around the health of their organization. “Siri, how is my company doing?” Why? Leaders desperately need crystal clear clarity in order to make the right decisions. The problem is that clarity is extremely elusive.  The good news is, it’s not impossible to obtain.

Clarity seems like a simple concept when you’re small but as your organization grows the harder it becomes to keep it all together.

I’m writing about clarity because without a clear vision of success you’re doomed to experience low performance which can jeopardize achieving your dreams. Justin Rosenstein wrote an excellent article in Fast Company Magazine that sheds some light (http://www.fastcompany.com/3040710/the-key-habit-of-highly-effective-teams) on this concept. Rosenstein contends that any team he’s worked with, be it a fortune 100 company or a three person project team, achieved great things because they committed to clarity. He states that, “Teams armed with clarity know exactly what they’re doing, why they’re doing it, and who’s responsible.” Think about that for a moment. Think about all the things you’re working on that fill up your day. Can you answer those three questions? If so, congrats you’re ahead of the game. If you can’t you’re not alone.

Rosenstein states that you should have three types of clarity:

  • Clarity of purpose
  • Clarity of plan
  • Clarity of responsibility

If you take those three ideas and distill them down further it all becomes even clearer. If you’re doing something: understand why you’re doing it, how it relates to the organization’s goals, and who’s going to get it done. This means you’ll need to throw out the idea of assigning items by committee. You know as well as I do that if you “assign” something to a group of folks things typically don’t get done. If you’re worried about whose feelings you may hurt by assigning one person’s name to a complex initiative think of it this way: we’ve all worked in group assignments in high school. You would bring all your desks together, work on problem set, and reconvene as an entire class. If your school was anything like mine, the teacher would tell each group to elect a spokesperson to share the team’s finding with the class. Treat the responsible party for a project in the same way. It has nothing to do with ego, it has everything to do with ensuring the work gets done.

Before you commit to your initiatives, plans and projects for 2015, scan it to ensure you can easily answer the three questions listed above. It’ll ensure you have the best year possible and drive results for your organization.  If you’re anything like me when it comes to clarity and getting the right things done, I invite you to share – for clarity’s sake.

Joseph Krause
Joseph Krause
Joe Krause is currently the VP of Business Development at Achieveit. He serves as his client’s dedicated resource on strategic planning by providing a wide range of consulting services. In his spare time you can find him at the various restaurants in Atlanta or at Crossfit trying to work off those meals.