Discipline #2: Create Clarity
As we continue to discuss the disciplines involved in building and sustaining Organizational Health in accordance with Pat Lencioni’s The Advantage, let’s reflect on a concept I discussed in an earlier post. Clarity is foundational to keeping your employees happy. When you are clear about purpose and vision, it allows your employees/followers to enjoy what they are doing for you without the pain and frustration that comes with confusion. Happy employees are generally productive employees; productive employees are generally a requirement for a profitable organization and for this reason Creating Clarity is an invaluable discipline for boosting an organization’s Organizational Health.

I am sure you can relate to a situation where you were working for someone who had a difficult time communicating the purpose of a project, task or assignment.  You probably tried to connect the assignment to a larger goal or purpose, but had trouble doing so and unfortunately, your boss wasn’t much help.  You tried to accomplish what you thought was being asked for, yet knew it was like shooting in the dark with no visible target in sight. Do you recall the frustration, you felt? The root of that frustration comes from a very disabling lack of clarity. Obscurity takes its toll and you are unable to be productive, which is frustrating in itself. Generally speaking, this obscurity is caused by an easily-correctable misalignment in the leader-follower relationship.

Believe it or not, a lot of organizations have members that suffer with this very real problem, which falls heavily on leadership. I face it very often in client organizations were we work. When leadership does not create clarity with those they lead, the result is confusion, uncertainty and anything but productivity or employee engagement. Set your organization apart by simply creating clarity.

Although truly easier said than done, even the slightest bit of daylight from the leadership team can make a world of difference for the organization. Broaden your employees’ view by shedding light on what you as the leader see. To gauge this, Pat Lencioni suggests six critical questions that your employees ought to be able to answer.

1.    Why do we exist? – Employees at every level need to know that at the heart of what they do lies something grand and aspirational; something they can easily relate to and know they have a part in achieving it.

2.    How do we behave? – Employees need to know the rules of the game, the values the organization stands for.

3.    What do we do? –  Employees need to know what the organization as a whole does and what part their specific unit or department plays.

4.    How will we succeed? – Employees need to know the organization’s plan for success.  These can and will change as outside factors, such as changes in demand or customer preferences, change.

5.    What is most important, right now? –  This helps to overcome “organizational Attention Deficit Disorder” such as having too many priorities or changing direction every week

6.    Who must do what? – This provides the division of labor and should never be assumed or taken for granted.  This must be clear.

These questions address some of the most basic but essential matters on the hand of any organization. It is imperative to make sure your organization as a whole is in tune with these questions. You will find that by clearing up even these basic matters, your organization will be significantly healthier for it.

Our next post will deal with the next discipline of Organizational Health – Overcommunicating Clarity