Have you ever had the feeling that something in your head or heart was so clear you were convinced it must be clear to others? Only to realize you had deceived yourself, what was crystal clear to you was NOT clear to others. That is the context for today’s question: How do you achieve clarity with your team regarding what’s most important?
How to help a team or organization stay laser focused on what matters most is a universal and eternal question for every leader. It doesn’t matter if you are leading a scout troop or a multi-national conglomerate. Clarity is a precursor to alignment and alignment multiplies impact. As leaders, we should always be in the pursuit or preservation of clarity.
The list of strategies and tactics is virtually endless. Some of these I’ve written about before. Think of today’s post as a quick survey of a fraction of the possibilities.
It starts with you. If you are not clear on (Fill in the Blank), your organization can never be clear. Clarity or confusion: both emanate from leaders – you get to choose. You and I must be clear on the things that matter before we can begin to cascade those ideas or messages throughout the organization.
Find your themes. If you think about it carefully, you can probably identify some overarching themes to help underscore your message. These may be rooted in your purpose, your passion or perhaps your values. Regardless of the source, once you find your theme(s), stay with them. Ronald Regan started talking about the theme of “less government” in 1954, a decade before the same idea would help him become the Governor of California and later the 40th President of the United States.
Hone your point of view. Once you know what you what to be clear on, practice saying it, get feedback on your message, then refine it and refine it and refine it again. I once had someone tell me my point-of-view on a particular topic was well conceived and succinctly presented. I thanked him and confessed it was no accident; I had been working on how to share my idea for many years.
Say it over and over and over again. If clarity is your goal, saying it once will never be enough. Some leaders talk about the feeling they are a grade school teacher – saying the same things over and over. If you’ve ever felt like that, congratulations! [Tweet “”Great leaders use strategic repetition: They intentionally repeat key messages.” @leadersserve”]
Say it differently. Not everyone receives and processes information in the same manner. I wrote about this idea in a post entitled, 7 Ways to Help People Catch Your Vision. The bottom line for leaders: the inadequacy of any single method. Our approaches need to be driven by the diversity of learning styles, not our personal communication preferences.
Make heroes of people who get it. What gets recognized and rewarded gets repeated. If you want to make your ideas clear, make them visible. One approach is to put names, faces and stories on your ideas. Shine a spotlight on people who embody your ideas. What you call out will get the attention of others. People always watch the leader.
How clear is your team regarding what matters most? If you really want to know, just ask them.[GLS_Shield]