If I had to pick one word that was most critical to defining and driving the success of an organization, it would be CLARITY. Clarity is of vital importance to every aspect of an organization at a business and personal level. Setting the overall direction of a company, roles, and responsibilities, setting goals and recognizing success are all areas that can all be improved with clarity.
Through my experience, I have found that most companies, large or small, suffer from a lack of clarity at some level. While it may manifest itself in different ways, I believe that clarity is an underlying cause of many challenges. And, while a major issue, it truly isn’t impossible to overcome. If companies understand the importance of clarity and drive it across the organization, success will improve.
Here are a few key areas of critical importance to success:
- Purpose – By establishing a clear purpose for an organization or company, you drive an understanding of what the company is about and what it will take to be successful. This clarity of purpose can be trickled down throughout the rest of the company and departmental and individual levels. Each level of the organization should be able to look at the clearly defined purpose of the level above and be able to understand their role in success. This clarity will also drive a higher level of engagement because people want to know that they are part of a bigger purpose and that what they are doing matters at a broader level.
- Roles & Responsibilities – Once the purpose of an organization is clear, clearly defining Roles & Responsibilities becomes critical. By having this level of clarity, an organization can operate more effectively and efficiently with less of a chance for overlap and conflict within an organization or across organizational boundaries. Individuals will have full visibility of the roles of others and know how to help their success and when to lean on them for support.
- Communications – having clear and direct communications minimizes the confusion in the organization and provides a common understanding across all parties. While everyone has a different communication style, from short one-line messages to long drawn out explanations, it is important to encourage clear messaging. People should understand if there is action required or if it is for informational purposes only. If there is any question, then the message isn’t clear enough.
- Objectives – When setting targets and objectives at the company or individual levels, the more detailed and clear the better. The objectives should be clearly linked to the overall purpose of the organization and/or the role of the individual. This linkage will drive a higher level of connection and engagement.
- Accountability – This is a big one that seems to be missing. Once we have clarity on the overall purpose and visibility of our role in fitting with that purpose, we need to execute to drive success. Then be held accountable to that execution. Many companies I have worked with can get to a level of clarity of the purpose, but then fall when it comes to accountability. Part of a leader’s role is to clearly articulate the expectation of performance and the consequences of not performing. I will cover that in a later article.
What other areas can you think of that would improve with clarity? Make sure you make it a point to focus on clarity across your organization and on a personal level – I guarantee you will have a stronger impact and more success.