Interpersonal Clarity - A Business Imperative

Interpersonal clarity is essential for healthy, engaged, performing teams. Where there is a lack of clarity there is much unnecessary confusion, which can greatly impact business performance through time spent trying to make sense of what is really going on. Confusion distracts from people's ability to focus and depletes the energy of employees and leaders alike. This results in them being less available for their work. Given salaries are a significant cost you're already incurring, this is a very avoidable inefficiency of business, yet it is rampant.

Would you consciously avoid an opportunity to gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace? Why not invest in resources that are within reach where you already have influence with a willing audience? Gain efficiency from within. By capitalizing on your competitors' blind spot to this 'low hanging fruit' you can build a differentiating competency that is sustainable and will always be relevant. This is a particularly attractive strategy in challenging times, but smart at all times.

Is this a blind spot?

Surveys of companies that have experienced one or more acquisitions indicate that most executives acknowledge the importance of addressing issues related to people, culture and talent integration. However, these same executives admit that these topics are often neglected, to the long-term detriment of the company. Source: RHR International's Feb 2009 Executive Insights

How does this happen?

To gain clarity, in times of intense change or otherwise, you must be able to speak your truth, or, communicate your experience of what is going on for you, and be curious about others. Exceptional leaders inherently do this. Doing so makes transparent what was hidden from view thereby stopping the confusion and non sense-making, and allowing productive dialogue to take place as others feel invited to do the same. This is particularly important for leaders as they are in a position of power over others. So why don't they do it? It's not from a lack of good intention or caring. Most leaders are working themselves to the bone to improve performance.

The main reason is they simply don't know how. This is the norm rather than the exception. It is not taught in most homes, schools, universities, religious institutions, or, businesses. Consider the investment that has been made in this area of your education given the importance of clarity; not just in business but across all aspects of life? The typical answer is: very little. Even when you know there is a mess that needs clarification; when time is tight, do you ignore what's being avoided like everyone else and do what you feel confident doing?

Attempts to seek clarity in our personal lives may have ended in frustration or even blown up due to the emotional content and intense attachments there. Such experiences can make it scary to try in the workplace, particularly without knowing how or distinguishing the differences of addressing personal vs business issues. And, it can be embarrassing as leader to not know how to lead this kind of learning. Yet a long line of leaders not knowing how, creates a culture that is uncomfortable seeking clarity. So it can feel like a risk to share your experience honestly if nobody else is. These are barriers to clarity, but it doesn't have to stay this way.

You can create a culture of clarity in your team or organization. See What We Offer for more information on how.

learn more - the connection between clarity and 'experience'

It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.

- Alan Cohen

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