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Do you have absolute clarity on where you’re taking your company?
June 29, 2009 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments
No-compromise leaders must be grounded in their understanding of where they are taking the company. Absolute clarity ensures that the company doesn’t wander off course or make decisions that are not in alignment with its vision, such as expanding too fast or entering unknown markets. Decisions or course changes remain true to the vision and mission. I must drive this point home because entrepreneurial leaders are notorious for justifying whatever it is they want to do. Compromise resides within that justifying behavior. Absolute clarity deters this behavior. If it’s not taking the company toward its intended vision, it doesn’t happen.
I just completed teaching a No-Compromise Leadership Boot Camp course. On day one I introduced leaders to the ten tenets of no-compromise leadership. The very first tenet is, “Have absolute clarity on where you’re taking your company.” I then challenged leaders to construct their own statement of clarity for their companies. I’m not talking about the construction of standard vision or mission statement. I want leaders, in their own words, to craft a detailed statement that defines their company’s quest for greatness. This clarifying statement must encompass what their company will look like when it reaches the top of the success mountain. As in all previous courses, these leaders found this seemingly simple challenge quite daunting.
On the morning of the second day, each leader presented their statement of clarity to the group. In every case, it was determined that their statements of clarity were far from complete. What they learned from this exercise is that their own lack of clarity, or inability to communicate that clarity, creates uncertainty and confusion throughout the company. Simply put, the vague and unclear destination of the company is open to all sorts of interpretation based on each employee’s perspective. Without clarity, a company can wander off course and get lost, or find itself on a long and inefficient course that may or may not reach its intended destination in time.
Here are some no-compromise thoughts to achieve and communicate clarity:
- Take a 30,000-foot view of your company: Taking a high altitude view allows you to objectively assess where your company is, what’s working and what needs to change. The point is to get “out of your box” and explore all the possibilities – and do so without limitations.
- Think small – stay small. Think big – inspire change! Having absolute clarity on where you’re taking your company should be framed around a lofty goal. Lofty goals will get you and your team’s innovative juices flowing, build momentum and create excitement. You’re not going to capture the imagination of your team if your intent is to be average. What the heck, think big and go for the grand prize.
- Sell your clarity statement to yourself first: If you can’t get excited about your company’s potential and ability to achieve great things, don’t expect others to get excited. Furthermore, if you’re not committed to go the distance, those you intend to lead will know it. People follow leaders that are committed and passionate about achieving great things. They quit leaders that fear the work true success requires.
- Relentlessly communicate: Here’s a simple formula I use to illustrate how vital information flow is to the growth process. Increase your current level of information flow 100 fold. That’s right, dial up the intensity your communication systems 100 times. Everyone needs to know where the company is going. Everyone needs to be on the same page. Everyone needs to know the score.
In these crazy economic times, having absolute clarity where you’re taking your company is a non-negotiable. To be considered a no-compromise leader, you must have clarity. Otherwise, you may find that you’re leading your company to mediocrity.
Pass this email on to your business colleagues, managers and friends.
Neil Ducoff, Strategies founder & CEO and author of No-Compromise Leadership
Categories: Monday Morning Wake-Up