Two words that when combined send our mind scanning back to times when we lacked the clarity to see that we all have a long futures ahead us. Such as...
“If only I had known what lies ahead for me, I would have done things differently”, says the little voice in our head.
Yet with great clarity, many high school students take advanced placement classes, graduate with a 4+ grade point average, and move on to college with their major already picked out. That’s not my story. For me clarity came much later in life.
In working with clients, I’ve also found that I’m not alone. A lack of real clarity affects many business owners, and in turn their businesses.
I didn’t have clarity when I launched my business 17 years ago. For me, clarity has been an evolution. Clarity has been dynamic. It shifts as life and business events shape a business owner’s life.
How have I found better clarity in my life and business? By leaving behind the old fixed mindsets that before justified my lack of action on ideas I had.
We all have that little voice in our heads. It often works to hold us back. Yet by evolving how you think about your business you will begin to act on things you’ve held off on doing. Then, you will be on your way to reaching your full potential.
Clearly Communicate Your Vision
As the business leader you have an idea in your head of what GREAT looks like for you. Yet is it clear enough for you to communicate that vision to those who work around you? Is it documented in some way?
Clarity is about knowing what you want and being able to communicate it clearly to others.
Based on my experience I have found a lack of clarity on what owners want for their business might just be the single greatest factor for why they and their businesses don’t reach their full potential.
It’s lack of clarity that creates chaos and frustration in your business. True clarity creates simplicity.
Define What Great Means For Your Business
Let me provide a quick and familiar example. Every business has in their mission to provide GREAT customer service. Right? All of us pride ourselves on our ability as a business to take care of customer needs.
But what exactly does GREAT mean or look like for your business? What feeling does GREAT customer service emote in your customers? Without defining exactly what GREAT is for your business and for your customers it’s just a word in a mission statement.
Create clarity about what GREAT means specific to your business, and make sure it speaks to the feelings your customer has when they interact with your business.
If you WANT your team to deliver great customer service, then you need to define exactly what they need to do, AND it must be specific to what your customer wants. That’s clarity.
A job of the leader is to foster clarity.
Small businesses take on the personality, preferences and values of the business owner. Although, most business owners are notoriously silent when it comes to sharing or putting into words how they feel, what they value, and what they want for their business.
Why did you start a business? Why this business? What does success look like for you? What does it look like for your business?
Yep, these are some deep questions to be asking yourself. And in all probability, you’ve answered them in your own mind.
But how can you expect your team to know all this if you haven’t shared it with them?
Your challenge is how to introduce a strong dose of clarity into your leadership style.
And that’s NOT an easy task for most of us. It forces you to reflect deeply and really understand what’s most important to you. And it comes with risk:
- What if my vision for my business turns out to be wrong?
- How much of my personal feelings do I really want to share?
- Am I ready to be held accountable to my vision?
These are some legitimate concerns for an independent businessperson who despises accountability (speaking for myself here but been around enough of you to know the real deal!).
Why You Must Provide Clear Direction
A lack of clarity leads to confusion. It breeds options. It fuels procrastination. And it stops you from unlocking your full potential.
Without clear direction, clear objectives, or a process or framework to follow, the options to getting things done can be endless. And with no clarity and lots of options comes indecision.
Indecision stalls progress and creates procrastination. It clouds your ability to take advantage of opportunities, and it slows your response to potential threats.
If people don’t know what you want to accomplish, they can’t help you achieve your goals. Instead they will act on their own accord based on what they think is best. Or they may not act at all.
Confusion. Indecision. Procrastination. Not good for business growth. It won't help you reach your full potential.
Clarity allows passion and purpose to come together.
People who work in your business will never have the same level of passion for your business as you do. Your passion is contagious though, so let it show and watch them follow your lead.
Purpose -- why we do what we do, on the other hand, is something everyone on your staff should understand. That is, if you have clearly shared your thoughts on this with them.
When passion aligns with purpose you create an unstoppable business. But it doesn’t come easily or without a heavy dose of clarity.
Clarity is a habit that takes practice and requires constant reinforcement.
Start your practice by unpacking your mind.
This is where you get clear about what you, your customers, and your employees want out of your business. Yet they all have frustrations, including yourself, about the current situation, and it’s important to acknowledge that too. Download this free worksheet to simplify this task for you.
Turn it into a practice by making it routine.
Once you begin exploring the opportunities you uncover by gaining clarity, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Remember, this is an evolution where you will need to continue to practice working ON your business in this way. Schedule an appointment with yourself at least once a week to explore other why, what, and how questions for your business.
Some of the best brands in the world, Apple, Disney, Starbucks, and Ritz-Carlton, have created cultures where everyone, top to bottom, understands the business purpose and what’s expected. Clarity is the ingredient that makes it work in these businesses, and it’s the key ingredient to help you gain better control and unlock the full potential of your business.
Please don’t assume people already know and understand all ‘the whys’ of the business.
This is your business to lead. Being clear about what you want and communicating it clearly to others is a leadership trait others want to follow.
Click here if you’d like to explore how this what might work for you in your business. And if you found this article useful please share it so others can learn how clarity can help them in their businesses.