Clarity is an extremely important concept. It is one many CEO’s and executives don’t focus on until it is too late. Without clarity a CEO will quickly find himself and his organisation in trouble.
Lacking clarity is a leadership failure, but it is a temporary one. It is one which can be easily resolved and clarity can be regained by using some simple yet effective tools and regularly putting in place some preventative and corrective measures.
Do you want to learn more about what clarity is, why it is so important for the CEO, and how you can regain and maintain clarity?
What Exactly is Clarity?
Clarity is somewhat of an abstract concept. It’s a word which is easy to use yet difficult to pin down and define. It is also one of those concepts which can mean different things to different people coming from different perspectives. Therefore, it will help to define clarity so that the concept of what we are aiming to explore is crystal clear.
When seeking to understand something it is often helpful to understand what it is not. Looking at the opposite of clarity – confusion – can help us more accurately understand what clarity means in the context of being CEO.
Confusion is a state of mind in which you do not know what to do. You are snared by uncertainty and blocked from taking effective action by self-doubt and second guessing. Confusion often creeps in when we are caught by surprise, are inundated with multiple conflicting issues, or don’t have all of the information we need to make sense of a situation.
Does any of this sound familiar? If so, you are not alone! You can rest assured that experiencing a lack of clarity is a normal part of holding a position of leadership. The good news is that there are tools at your disposal for overcoming confusion and restoring clarity.
So now we have a better concept of clarity and what it is. It’s the opposite of confusion. It is knowing what to do, and feeling that you are capable of moving forward, based on understanding the situation and having a good grasp of all the variables.
Why “Clarity” is Crucial to Your Success as a CEO
You probably already know why you need clarity. It is essential to the functioning of a successful organisation. As a leader you are constantly being watched, measured up and assessed by those both under and above you. This can be tough, but nonetheless it is your role and you’ve simply got to lead.
There are some great benefits for a CEO in regaining and maintaining a state of clarity which may not be immediately apparent. Let’s explore what they are.
- Increased confidence. Regaining clarity will give you the confidence you need to grasp both where you are and where you are going.You’ll need this to make effective decisions. Seeing these decisions turn out for the best will grow your confidence further, which will in turn increase your ability to take more decisive action. This is a positive feedback loop which can only lead to fantastic things for you as a CEO.
- Increased respect. Followers may not always say it, but they do not respect leaders who are unclear about the direction they’re taking and where they aim to lead the team. Creating clarity and being able to effectively communicate the direction you intend to take the organisation in will increase the respect your team has for you and the trust they put in your leadership.
- Better physical and mental health. Confusion leads to stress, anxiousness and sleepless nights. Nobody wants to experience the ill effects of stress. It can impact every area of your life from relationships to your physical well-being. Regaining clarity will help you snap out of this state, make sense of your world, feel capable of moving forward, and enjoy a greater sense of well-being in all areas of your life.
So as you can see, clarity is extremely important for the CEO. As you become more successful and the complexity of the challenges you face increases, regaining and maintaining clarity will be even more essential. It’s not only important for your business and its survival, but it’s also important for you. Everybody stands to gain when the leader creates a sense of clarity, including the leader himself.
How to Regain & Maintain Clarity
Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of working with CEO’s and leaders in many fields. I’ve helped them regain clarity and have seen the positive effects this has on both their lives and organizations. Through these experiences I’ve been able to get an insider’s glimpse into what works and what doesn’t. Let’s look at the most effective tools for regaining clarity.
- Walking is a great way to reflect. This may sound simple, but it is a highly effective tool for gaining perspective and clarity. Many have likened walking to meditation in motion. The legendary French military General Napoleon Bonaparte would take time to walk every day while forming strategy and planning the next steps in his next steps in various wars. Taking daily time to get out of your everyday surroundings to reflect, such as by going for a walk or taking a swim, can do wonders for your sense of clarity. If it worked for one of the greatest military leaders who ever lived, it will likely work for you.
- Taking your team off-site. If your team is not performing there may be a problem with morale. You may be confused about what to do about this. Taking your team off-site and on an excursion can be a great way to gain insight into your team. You’ll learn a lot about the dynamics of your team and the relationships between them by taking them off-site and letting them break role and be themselves. Just getting out of your everyday surroundings and taking a trip can refresh everyone, most importantly yourself!
- Harnessing the power of a mastermind group. Meeting regularly with a group of peers is an invaluable tool for creating clarity. The value of regularly meeting with a group of people you respect and trust is in the multiple perspectives they can offer and the insights they can share into how they have handled similar situations. The fact that often a healthy discussion between peers can help unearth hidden gems which were buried in the subconscious all along can trigger an insight and help regain a sense of clarity.
- Individual coaching. A professional coach can help you restore clarity by meeting with you regularly, one on one. Brainstorming, evaluating and sharing ideas is very energising. It can be amazing what a professional and experienced coach can help you do through the kinds of insights they can provide. Having a coach who is tuned-in to your needs as an individual, and who understands how you think and the type of challenges you face, is an extremely powerful tool you can make use of. A coach often serves as a mirror, reflecting the gap between your current and desired realities, helps you clearly see the most important actions you can take.
10 More Ways I Personally Regain / Maintain Clarity
As a professional coach and expert on clarity, I regain and maintain my sense of clarity by:
- Having a set of four Lifetime Goals.
- Having and maintaining a detailed and documented vision of what my life looks like on the 5-10 year horizon.
- Having a strategic plan for each of my businesses that balances long-term (5 year), medium-term (3 year) and short-term (1 year) priorities.
- Maintaining a mind map of the project portfolio my teams and I are working on this quarter.
- Using a collaborative project / task management platform that enables me to see the status of each of the projects that my teams and I are working on.
- Having massages on a regular basis.
- Taking morning walks (45-60 minutes), either in silence or listening to a podcast or my favorite music.
- Confronting and resolving issues with team members and people in my personal life promptly.
- Getting eight hours of quality sleep per night.
- Taking a holiday / break out of town at least once per quarter.
So there you have it. We now know what clarity is, why it is crucial, and how you can regain and maintain it if you’re feeling confused.
Don’t overlook the importance of keeping a sense of clarity. It can be easy to get so involved in the day to day running of things that you can no longer see the forest for the trees.
Explore Additional Resources:
In this blog post we mentioned the following resources:
- Book: Visioning by Glenn A. Williams
- Video: Start with Why by Simon Sinek
- Special Report: Why COEs Fail by Glenn A. Williams
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