Clarity is a word that has been talked about so much, it almost sounds like a slang but the truth is that to get anything done, you need clarity – both at a personal and organizational level.
It is important to know exactly what you are trying to achieve in your life and business, for whom and why it is important at this time.
Before I share my view on how to achieve clarity, here are two examples of how clarity or the lack of it impacts everything in an organization.
At Foodpro, one of our key pillars is high quality and safe products. We have clearly defined what these two things mean and it is clear across our organization. We hired a new sales manager who had extensive knowledge in the informal retail market and wanted the company to branch into cashews in bottles. This was a significant revenue opportunity; however, it clearly goes against one of the key pillars of our business, which is quality and SAFE products.
We decided that until we can find a cost effective and hygienic way to produce cashews in bottles, we cannot play in that segment of the market. Imagine the type of tough and chaotic decision-making process the company would have gone through if there was no clarity across the company on what it stood for. Clarity helps to guide decision making and action in any organization.
I recently had a coaching session with a client who wanted my advice on how to improve their packaging to a similar quality as Foodpro’s and wanted some guidance on the required machinery. The first question I asked the client was “Why do you want to do that?”.
I wanted to understand how upgrading packaging would support the purpose of their organization and also whether it would create value for their clients. I discovered two things during the session
Now you see how having organizational clarity is crucial to delivering strong performance and results.
So, the question is how do we achieve clarity? It’s important to have both personal and organizational clarity.
As a business owner, you need to be clear on who you are, what you want and why you want it. This clarity will help you determine your priorities and where to focus.
Asking questions with a curious mind is a very important tool here. I recommend finding time alone to do this because once you know why you do what you do, it will drive your focus and as the saying goes ‘Where focus lies.. Energy flows’.
Once there is personal clarity the next step is getting organizational clarity. The business leader’s behavior drives the culture of organization hence it is important to achieve personal clarity first before seeking organizational clarity.
In her book ‘Clarity First’, Karin Martin talks extensively about how a high degree of clarity creates high performing organizations. A simple framework is to ask “what does the organization do and why?” It’s important for business leaders to define this and then, cascade it across the organization.