Clarity – Weekend Reflections for Leaders: June 18, 2022

Whether we are leading a large complex organization or a small start-up, the importance of aligning the team’s effort with clear, consistent communication around objectives, deliverables and responsibilities is critical. It sounds simple, but it must be pretty complicated given the fact that just about every academic study on corporate leadership would show that based on the point of view of those teammates being led, communication is not clear, direction is confusing and implementation is all over the map.

Have you ever walked out of a meeting and asked yourself, “What the H&%L did we agree to in there?” You are not alone.

The facts are clear that most often when a leader concludes a meeting with what seems like a sound, clear and well thought out game plan, when participants are questioned outside the meeting, there is a varied interpretation as to what was the “game plan.”

Here are a few steps that leaders can do to help minimize the inefficiencies of poor communication and follow-through.

  1. Keep the list of action steps small. 3 has been shown to be the limit of most people’s ability to get their arms around and actually remember.  Less is more, so always pressure test if it is just one thing we really need to get done…if so, just speak to that one thing.  
  2. Consistently reinforce verbal discussions/decisions from meetings with short written follow-ups. Again, the historical reality is brutal on all of us that no one knows what is expected after a nice meeting of smiles, high-fives and “let’s go get ‘em” speeches.
  3. Leaders need to provide consistent follow-up both one on one and with teams on the agreed upon action steps to not only reinforce/remind the team of the work, but also, and equally important over time, to ensure the team knows they are well supported to get the work done.

As we look to build and strengthen our leadership, we must continue to work on our ability to communicate effectively. We may be strong in our ability to make a plan, but it will be effective communication that lays the foundation for great execution and above trend results.

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