As a leader, driving for clarity can help you and your team block out the chatter and focus on what will really accelerate your business.
By Jenny DuFresne
In this three-part series, I’m going to help you think about some crucial things you need to do to build an amazing company or organization. At my business growth training firm, Leaders Transform, my goal is to help leaders really understand what happens when they are growing their companies and give them the tools they need to succeed. In this space, I’ll talk about three levers all leaders need to up-level their leadership: strategy, accountability, and clarity. Today, we’ll focus on clarity.
You may think this one sounds obvious, but leaders struggle with it. After all, when you are in the throes of your business—it’s probably even more intense since the pandemic—it’s akin to standing in the middle of a blizzard and trying to catch a snowflake with chopsticks. There’s just so much going on. There are so many things competing for our attention. And so it becomes really important to start to narrow the scope of what it is you want to try to get accomplished inside of your company.
I have some really important questions you should ask to start to clarify what you’re doing: Is our strategy the right strategy? Are the goals that we identified in our strategy the right ones? Are we really driving accountability in this community, or this team, or this company? Or are we missing the boat because we have so many things competing for our attention, especially as we’re trying to expand our companies?
There’s so much going on when you’re in the mix, working inside your business. You need to know which things are important for you to clarify. What are the specific goals or objectives that you’re looking to achieve in the next 30, 60, 90 days? Or, one of my favorite questions is: What do we need to stop doing? Or what do we need to start doing to achieve our goals or our strategy or even accountability on our team? This is super powerful. If you’re leading a team or leading a company right now, and you just feel like you’re pulled in a thousand different directions, I would strongly encourage you to sit down to do this. I love to journal to clarify my thoughts.
When you do this, it’ll very quickly help you become crystal clear on what’s chatter and what’s actually accelerating your business.
This will also help when people are over-extended. Maybe you have a great business line and people are working as fast as they can, but it’s an opportunity for you to invest more resources into that particular business line, bringing in more people or bringing in a leader of that team or whatever might be needed. The other question to ask is which team members are underutilized and how do you know? And the reason we put that out there when we’re thinking about clarity is because sometimes when you’re scaling quickly business can start to outpace the communication and the creation of the systems and processes that will help people to understand how their talents can be used.
And sometimes team members, if they’re tired, are going to take a step back and the burden might shift to other people. The question to ask is: Are we working excessively long hours? Because if you are, it’s an opportunity again, to get clarity on why. Why are we working so many hours? Is it because we idolize long work hours and talking about it around the water cooler? “Oh yeah, I put in all-nighter. Awesome.” Is that why? Or is it that we are spending too much time on the wrong things or the wrong things are taking up too much of our time? What do I need to say “No” to? What do I need to say “Yes” to?
Clarifying your objectives, getting clarity in your leadership as a lever to actually level up your leadership, is a crucial step to your business success.
Clarity is just one of three pillars you need to up-level your leadership. You also need strategy (part 1) and accountability (part 2). Check them out for the big picture.
Jenny DuFresne is the chief executive officer of Leaders Transform, a business growth training firm that has served over 3,500 leaders and teams across the U.S. and internationally. Learn more at LeadersTransform.com.