There’s an old saying in the sales world. “The confused mind says NO.” Clearly that has big implications when trying to sell a product or service. A prospect who gets confused by your sales pitch will revert to a NO answer all the time. On the other hand, a clear, concise explanation of the thing you are trying to sell will help close the deal.
The same is true of leadership responsibility. A confused mind says NO. If you confuse the people around you, the overall performance will be greatly reduced or even eliminated.
An employee’s willingness to perform is centered on their ability to clearly understand expectations and directions.
Clarity may be your best secret weapon to achieve better team performance.
It’s a Complicated World
There’s no denying the increased complexity in business these days. Whether you blame the exponential growth of technology or just the deeper understanding of things around us, it’s much harder to operate a business today than it once was. However, operating a highly specialized or technical business should not distract you from trying to make things simple for your team to comprehend.
Military people learned the KISS principle; Keep It Simple Stupid. When giving orders, it is the leader’s duty to make the instructions as simple to comprehend as possible. In combat, confused minds get people killed.
In business, the smartest guy in the room shouldn’t be rubbing that in, especially if they are the boss. Rather, if you think you truly are the smartest guy at the table, then you should be able to figure out ways to make directions and instructions easier to understand.
What To Do
Sometimes in figuring out what to do to make things more clear for your team, it is valuable to talk about what NOT to do. Here are a few big ideas to follow.
First, don’t be vague about directives. Masking your meaning immediately leads to confusion. The odds of your people going off in the wrong direction are far greater when you are unclear about your own expectations. Think of 360 degrees on a compass (in a circle). The direction you need people to take is likely on one of a few degrees on that compass. If you are vague, your team has a minimum of 350+ other directions to go. If you’re not exactly sure about the direction you want to take, invest the time and energy in getting your own clarity first.
Next, watch your communication style. In times of high stress and urgent deadlines, lookout for accelerating your own reactions to things going on around you. Create more measured responses.
Don’t react, respond instead. There is a big difference.
Lastly, remember the acronym FAST to increase your leadership effectiveness.
International leadership guru Gordon Tredgold coined the term FAST for his book by the same name and his teaching on effective leadership.
FAST is an acronym that encompasses all the best attributes for finding success. Whether your dreams are personal or professional, FAST can help.
FOCUS. You must be able to focus your vision and view of the goal you are trying to achieve. Too many business leaders are fuzzy on the exact expectation they have. If you’re not clear on where you’re going most any road will get you there.
ACCOUNTABILITY. You must be accountable to the team, the cause and the process to get you to your goal. Look at the organizational setup. Does everyone know what they are supposed to be doing, do they know what is expected of them, and do they have the right skills, tools, and training to be successful.
SIMPLICITY. You must find the simplest ways to make things happen. It has been said complexity is the enemy of execution. Trying to reach the desired destination with too many complex and conflicting pieces of information or procedure can only interrupt the desired results.
TRANSPARENCY. Transparency allows the leader to be genuine and clear for the benefit of everyone around them. Look at the progress tracking. How easy is it to check that progress is being made and was outcome-based rather than just recording effort spent? Is the information accurate and fact-based, or just based on gut feel? How often is it shared with the teams? Do they know how they are doing, or are they just running blind?
Eliminating confusion can bring greater results. Remember, the confused mind says “NO” every time.
When was the last time you experienced being confused by what the boss said? Were YOU the boss creating confusion?