what roadClarity is the first step in developing your purpose-driven (and profitable) business. When you are clear on What you want, Why you want it, and what Impact you hope to create, you not only set the stage for your business goals but also for some very important life goals as well.

It is the job of the leader to foster Clarity, even though overall success of the business is a team effort. Clarity lays the foundation upon which the rest of your business is built. When you have clarity, everyone with the company understands the “Why” behind everything they do in the business. And when people are convinced of their purpose, they have a better understanding as to where to best focus their efforts.

Challenges

One of the challenges with smaller companies is that clarity is not always so easy to come by, especially during the early stages of a start-up company.  It’s amazing how many startups fail simply because they forgot to cover all of the bases during the planning stage. Key areas like marketing/sales, business development, staffing, skills shortage, and funding should be part of your business plan from the start. If you’re always chasing down the next best thing and running with it — without validating that it’s aligned with your strategic plan —  you’ll end up feeling unfulfilled and unaccomplished. You will also waste a lot of time which may lead to some form of regret later on. This is why having clarity that you gain through carefully defined goals is key to making the best decisions for your business.

Why Clarity is so elusive

The concept of business clarity can be elusive to grasp. Many business owners and executives spend more time working “In” their business rather than working “On” it, leaving them stuck in their daily routines and challenged to break free. Think about the “noise” that we are exposed to on a regular basis: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, emails, random meetings, etc. — all with experts and other business owners telling you what you should and shouldn’t be doing.

Aside from helping you and your team become better aligned and reach new heights, Clarity provides a number of essential benefits to your business as well.  Here are four examples of how Clarity will have a positive impact on your business.

Clarity helps to reduce conflict and stress while improving efficiency. We can all benefit from being less stressed about doing our jobs. Having precisely defined goals leads to more productivity from your entire team by clearly laying out the expectation of their role. When there are more issues that arise than resources to handle those issues, conflict arises which causes stress, and requires intervention (management) to resolve. Organizational Clarity provides the basis of a self-governing process that reduces conflict (prioritizing the work by its contribution to the company’s goal/objective) and the need for management is lessened. In this way, Clarity empowers individuals while saving time and reducing stress.

Clarity makes it easier to find and retain the right people. People are the backbone of any organization. Whether it’s hiring the right people for the job or determining the right partner for a project, having the right people in place is more important to the success of your business than another good idea. The easier and more clearly you are able to articulate what you want and where you want to go, the more powerful your appeal as an employer and/or partner. People who share the same values and purpose will be attracted to your company and are more likely to remain when their individual contributions are acknowledged as well.

Clarity provides direction and focus. Clarity acts as a compass, pointing you and your team in the direction you ought to go. You don’t want to waste time spinning your wheels or exploring options because the path is clear, your goals and objectives are clear and your team knows how to best support you.

Clarity sets the way for easier and better decisions. Good decisions are made by following a clearly defined process or framework. Making great decisions is difficult if the objective of a particular department or role is unclear. Great decisions are a function of how clear the objective is. Lack of clarity leaves room for too many options which can lead to wasted time and resources with no real way to determine which option(s) delivers the most value for the business or its clients.

Defining what you want your business to look like in the future is not easy. It forces you to reflect and to start to define what’s most important. Once you take the time to clearly define your vision or goal your actions will be measured against it.

Getting Started

Most business owners are too busy working in their business to tackle such a project.  When taking on a challenge like this, my recommendation is always to start with a few simple steps. Begin with one goal such as customer service. A simple example: so many businesses say they offer “Excellent” customer service. Any business can say it but what exactly does that mean to you? What does it look like? How is it measured? Excellent is an adjective used to describe something being near perfect but it is still very vague or unclear. How do you strive for something if there is no clearly defined method or goal.  Your first task then, becomes to put some words (and processes) to your definition of “Excellent” and what you want your customers to be saying about your company after they have done business with you. Test your “Excellent” definition with a potential or real life client and then share it with your company in effort to increase the horsepower of the organization. Your team can then work toward the specific definition you have given to the term Excellent. Not only will they value Clarity, they will help you figure out the best ways to deliver on your definition of Excellent customer service.

Clarity can come to your business in many ways. The key to achieving clarity is to make a concerted effort to clearly define what it looks like for your business. If you manage to foster a culture of clarity inside of your organization, you’ll see fewer problems, better execution, and happier, more productive teams. If you’d like to discuss strategies to achieve clarity for your business, Contact me to set up a no obligation, Business Strategy Session.