Clarity: it guides every aspect of your company from employees and daily activities to investments, long and short term decisions and virtually every facet of the organization. Without it, success will be minimal.
We often see leaders in organizations that believe their purpose is clear; however, in many instances, it is only clear to them. They wonder why the organization is struggling to achieve its goals. These leaders need to begin to peel back the onion to determine if there is truly clarity across the organization.
Clarity needs to start at the top, with a defined purpose of the organization. By providing clarity of purpose, you establish the basis for which all decisions and activities will be made. As decisions are made and actions taken, the fundamental question that should be asked is – Does this align with the company’s purpose? If it doesn’t, then the action shouldn’t be taken and people should move on to more critical issues that support the purpose.
If there is ambiguity in your purpose and too much left for individual interpretation, decisions may conflict with the purpose and may not be aligned with others who have interpreted the purpose as something different. Activities will be uncoordinated and while they will likely be based on sound business logic, they may not be in line with the organizational objectives.
We often hear the word “silos” in business. This is when different pieces of the organization are operating separately and truly by themselves. Silos tend to happen when there isn’t clarity of purpose at the organizational level. People spin off and begin doing what they “believe” is right without fully understanding the broader impacts. This often creates conflicting strategies that then compete for the same resources and drive additional inefficiencies.
Organizational roles & responsibilities must also have Clarity. Without this clarity, people become confused as to what expectations are on them and how they are impacting the overall success. Without a strong understanding of their individual purpose, people will become less engaged in what they do and thus less effective. A number of studies show that employees want to be engaged and supporting success.
Clarity of roles & responsibilities is critical not only at the individual level, but also across the organization – having a clear understanding of what others are responsible for. With this understanding people will know who to leverage and team with to accomplish objectives. By clearly tying each individual’s purpose to the broader purpose, you will create a stronger and more cohesive team with known objectives and linked goals.
Clarity also helps with accountability across the organization. With a clear sense of purpose and defined roles & responsibilities an organization and its individuals are more likely to hold each other accountable to achieving goals and objectives. Too often we see organizations that lack clarity which makes accountability difficult to achieve. If individuals are accountable, they are more likely to be driven toward success.
If you lead an organization, take a moment to ensure that you are driving clarity across all aspects of your business. I would even ask you to validate your belief by surveying your team and asking a few simple questions:
- What is the purpose of our organization?
- Do you understand your role in driving the success of this purpose?
- Do you understand the roles of others and how they are linked to the success of this purpose?
While you may find some interesting responses, all of the information you gather will allow you to ensure yourself of clarity.