How To Turn Office Ambiguity Into Organizational Clarity

Author

Jeff Boss

March 1, 2017

A clear organization is a healthy organization. Actually, a clear organization is a fit organization because clarity informs decisions and decisions enable execution. Clarity emboldens and empowers because when there’s clarity, organizational chaos is mitigated. Roles and responsibilities are clear, which means turf wars don’t incite. Expectations are clear, which means there’s accountability. Goals and objectives are clear, which sets definable parameters for risk.

Clarity is invaluable. However, it’s not easily achieved.

If clarity is elusive within your organization, try the following three tactics:

Be courageous.

Asking difficult questions isn’t easy—but then again, nothing good ever is. To unearth the root of any problem requires two things: the courage to acknowledge that a problem exists and the courage to do something about it. Angela Sebaly, leadership coach, consultant and author of The Courageous Leader, said in a conversation we had together that, “courage is what makes the difference between being a good manager and an exceptional leader . We all have the ability to be courageous; we just have to decide to do it.”

And that’s just it, there’s no easy way to be courageous. Exercising courage is a choice—you either do or you do not. Those who do will find clarity—clarity in themselves, clarity in the situation, clarity in the solution. Those who do not will find themselves living in the same bubble of ambiguity in which they’ve always been comfortable, making empty promises to themselves and hoping that something “better” will magically appear.

Here’s a quick test: If something feels “easy,” it’s probably the wrong choice. If something feels uncomfortable, it’s probably right. At the same time, remember that there’s a difference between simple and easy. Simple is good, but simple isn’t easy.  Steve Jobs once said, “Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” Simple will push you outside your comfort zone. Easy won’t. Easy will help you do things because they’re easy, but they won’t help you be any better, because they’re easy.

Simplicity forges clarity, but only through courage.

Notice behavioral patterns.

If office fires constantly incite every day and lead to yet another competing priority, the greater issue to examine here is why. If you’re constantly reacting in your workplace then that means you’re not proacting, and that means you’re not making any progress. If the competing demands of the day “prevent” you from accomplishing real work (I use quotation marks because the only thing that “prevents” you from doing anything is you—you choose your focus and you also choose your distractions) then consider what must happen for those fires to cease. Chances are, mitigating those fires isn’t easy—simple, but not easy. All it takes is just a little courage.

Test understanding.

Feedback is the key to clarity.  You may not want to hear feedback but avoiding something that you don’t want is an exercise in arrogance because you’re placing me and “what I want” before we and “what’s best for the team/company.” Test your employees’ understanding of company core values, quarterly objectives, the strategies to achieve those objectives and the criteria for success. If there’s ambiguity in any of these then the likelihood of achieving them in the time allotted will be just as ambiguous.

Each person should not only know their job roles and responsibilities but also how their job aligns with corporate strategy, the objectives those strategies are set to achieve, the definition of success for their team/department/company and the core values that inform decision making.

A lack of clarity amidst any of these elements only stalls progress and, ultimately, organizational relevance. Forge clarity, and you forge competitive advantage.

 

This article was written by Jeff Boss from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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