I have a terrible sense of direction, but like many of you, I have accommodated this flaw through a deeply personal obsession with my GPS. I have come to depend on it, and this remarkable tool has saved my backside from time to time and definitely lessened time spent adrift and wandering. It is amazing how this innovation has quickly advanced to become a universally-prized clarity tool for orientation and direction. Value add…there is very little thinking required.
Finding a clear path forward in business is a complex process. It isn’t easy and requires navigating diverse channels of chaos, and knowing which direction to head is often terrifically challenging for those leading organizations. Regrettably, there is no “magic” GPS system for business management that can do the navigating with no thinking required, but there are some concrete, proven ways leaders can properly orient themselves and gain the clarity needed to make strategic decisions that enable growth and success for the organization:
Conduct a system-wide review.
You have to know your organization before you can lead your organization. It’s one thing to establish a vision for your company, but knowing what team members need to help the organization achieve that vision is another thing altogether.
Most leaders I know have a vocabulary for describing what they are doing and where they are leaning in to lead. Most often, however the objectives expressed don’t always connect to the needs of the entire organization and fall short in offering compelling traction to those who follow. The challenge? Most leaders see themselves as experts and may not see the need for building the bridge of clarity for others. Others simply don’t have the patience to fully allow their teams to understand the foundational underpinnings (the “why”) behind planning and direction.
Learn to ask, and learn to listen.
How much time do you spend pulling from the human capital in your organization? Most leaders are quite skilled in pushing wants and needs from a “command and control” perspective, but are often less adept establishing common ground among those across the organization. Listening first is an essential leadership skill and must become the habitual response for leaders wanting to go further.
Discover the best instrumentation for each member of the team and delegate.
Leaders can’t do it all themselves. Delegating the right task to the right person is the way to scale and grow, but it takes time and intentionality to really understand who’s the best person for a particular job, as well as help the team coalesce. Building relational community is certainly not the fastest way of taking your organization from good to great, but successful leaders know the only way to achieve success is with a team who works together, each member from his or her strengths.
Welcome outside influence.
Remarkable perspective can be gained from external advisors. W. Edwards Deming is considered one of the fathers of modern management. He taught that “Profound knowledge comes from the outside.” Most of us spend our personal and professional lives within similar tight circles of influence. As a result, and overtime, our personal and organizational tendencies creep into the habitual and do not always assume positive consequences. Inviting strategic outsiders to guide and challenge our biases and unconscious patterns has proven extremely successful for leaders lost in clouds of complexity and desiring to rise upon the balcony of objectivity. In all sectors of influence, the greatest performers evolve because they demanded trusted outside advisors.
Consider the value of humility.
Lastly, consider the thread common to all leaders worth following: humility. Having the courage to look at the whole of your organization and not only ask what people need to feel safe moving forward, but really listen and build common ground based on what you hear requires humility. So, too, is humility required to delegate the work of achieving the vision you’ve created and trust others to help. And it’s especially necessary to invite others from the outside in to help you see things you might not on your own.
Are you interested in gaining personal clarity for your future? Does your team need organizational clarity in order to move forward? Contact us to learn more about our Leader Intensive and Team Intensive Experience.