Clarity Is King. 6 Ways to Create Clarity in Your Organization.

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Clarity, clarity, clarity. Clarity is king. One of the biggest challenges that I find inside organizations is confusion. People are confused about the mission, vision, values, roles and responsibilities. Confusion leads to a series of bad behavior, hidden agendas and a lack of accountability. When there’s a lack of clarity coming from the top, a variety of behaviors that are less than positive start to show up such as silo mentality, information hoarding, overload, ever shifting priorities, conflict, job insecurity, blame and so on.

Often we live in our heads as if we know what our roles and responsibilities are and what is expected of us and what gets acted out is something totally different than that. These situations are a key indicator that clarity is not present. If the rumor mill wastes precious time and productivity is off the mark, in your organization it is highly likely that your employees are confused. Other signs of lack of clarity include employee comments such as, “It is not fair” or “This isn’t my job.”

One of my colleagues recently worked with a manufacturing organization where new products would be finished but the packaging wasn’t ready. The artwork had yet to be approved. Over the course of time different people were the final artwork/packaging approval person and in this case these different approval people thought someone else owned the final signoff and so nothing was moving forward. The subordinates were too afraid to ask the different people to approve the artwork more than once for fear of getting blamed for the process not moving forward. This confusion, extra cost of inventory sitting in the warehouse and sales revenue delay was all because no clear roles and responsibilities (and thus accountability) had been established.

What can leaders do to create more clarity in their organization?

  1. Be clear of what your mission and vision are and that you articulate them in a way that other people can see them and buy into them. The mission and vision need to be integrated into every level of the organization.
  2. Have each person in the organization, starting at the top; define what they think their roles and responsibilities are.
  3. Have a meeting with the key players and discuss those roles and responsibilities and make sure they are clear or if there are blurred lines create some clarity around that.
  4. Clearly define your values. And my suggestion is to keep your values at 3 max 4, and define your values and behaviors that are easy to identify and manage and integrate into the culture.
  5. Integrate your core values into every fiber of the organization from your recruitment, hiring, branding, performance improvement, coaching, and succession planning that everybody is clear that these values are what make our culture unique.
  6. Communicate the same message consistently throughout the organization. I suggest you communicate key messages a minimum of three times to make sure they are clearly understood and each team member see how they fit in and it impacts their area. The mission, vision and values need to be repeated consistently over time.

These are some key steps to reducing organizational confusion and creating clarity. Please let me know your thoughts and what you’ve done in your organization to increase clarity.

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