“Right, turn right. No, left. OK, go to the end of this road and do a U-turn and then go round the roundabout at the end. No, better turn left before then and squiggle through the windy bit of road in front of you. Ignore the tree in front of you or go round it, either way cross over the motorway (make sure nothing’s coming) and go down the fifth hill on your right until you come to a sharp bend. Well, not so much a bend as a slight incline (not that an incline is the same thing as a bend but you know what I mean).”
NO I DON’T!!!!!!
Imagine a car sat nav that gave instructions like that. You might feel that yours does sometimes but, let’s be honest, most of the time your mechanical voice can get you from A to B without too many mishaps.
Clear instructions are vital to completing your journey, and so it is with business. Without clarity it’s very hard to achieve what you want to achieve. Being clear enables you and all your stakeholders to go on the journey together and arrive where you need to be at the same time.
At Bubble Chamber, we set great store by clarity, so I guess I’d better be clear in what I’m going to say or I’m going to lose all credibility! Let’s start with a dictionary definition:
Clarity: The quality of being coherent and intelligible
Synonyms: lucidity, clearness, perspicuity, intelligibility, comprehensibility, coherence, simplicity, plainness, lack of ambiguity, precision
All of these qualities are important for excellent communication, both internally and to the world at large. But it all starts with you, as the leader, being personally clear – clear on what you’re trying to achieve (the big result – purpose, vision and values) and on how you’re going to achieve it (via your strategies).
A sat nav can only offer you a clear route when it has a defined start and end point and you know your mode of transport.
It sounds simple but it’s extraordinary how many people get so immersed in the minutiae of their everyday tasks that they lose the clarity of their greater vision and the reason they began in the first place.
And how often do we think we’re being clear when we’re not? We need to be constantly challenged on this subject, so that we don’t fall into the trap of thinking: “It’s not me, it’s the others. I’m always clear”.
And if you are lacking clarity, you can bet that everyone around you is not clear on what you mean. It seems so basic and yet it can be so difficult to achieve.
In fact, only once you achieve that clarity of purpose (why you exist), vision (what you want to achieve) and values (how you act along the way), can you even start to design the strategies needed to reach sustainable growth and maximize your impact.
In other words, if (and maybe especially if) you are some way into your journey, it may be time to step back and check how clear you are being about your intentions and the way you communicate them.
If you want your social enterprise sat nav to tell you “proceed at an appropriate pace on the road ahead of you, avoiding hazardous obstacles and arriving where you want to be with perfect timing”, talk to us at Bubble Chamber about developing clarity for yourself and your organisation.