Clarity is a good thing


After a particularly manic week on all fronts, it’s good to take a few minutes out and reflect.

One thing really strikes me about my experiences this week, and the more I think about it, I can see it applies to every job I’ve had, client I’ve worked for and project I’ve done: clarity is a good thing.

We waste a huge amount of time, effort and emotional energy at work because we’re not clear about something. A bit more clarity would really go a long way towards making us more efficient at work.

Here are four examples of what I mean:

1) Briefings from clients
How many times do we accept a loose or poorly considered brief from a client, only to end up having to rework or change the project deliverables later on. Of course there’s a direct cost involved with doing this.

Granted sometimes clarity is difficult to achieve early-on, but in my experience lack of clarity in briefing is often down to lack of time and effort on the client’s part, rather than a clear brief being an impossibility at the outset.
2) Crisis management

Dealing with PR in a crisis situation is a great challenge, and one that draws on a wide range of PR and management skills. Having dealt with a couple of crisis PR situations in the past month, what both had in common was a lack of clarity among the key players within the organisation.

Most of the effort in dealing with the situation was focussed internally within the organisation, rather than communicating with valuable stakeholders (both internal and external). Clarity about the situation and the organisation’s response would have meant the PR professionals could have focussed on communicating, rather than trying to resolve internal politics and cut through to the real information.

3) Clarity of roles
Most professionals don’t work alone – they usually work as part of a team, particularly in the connected world of social media. But how many times have you seen a particular task or piece of work fall between two people because they’d assumed that someone else would do it.

When managing a team one of the most valuable things a leader can do is to be clear with team members about what they should do, when and how. Yet so often this clarity isn’t achieved, leading to wasted effort or missing work.

4) Clear delegation

In our busy world it’s all to easy to delegate or be delegated to without a clear communication of what’s actually expected. I’ll put my hands up now and admit I do it – I delegate something without being 100% clear about what the task is – which inevitably means confusion and wasted effort.

The value of working in a team is that tasks can be shared and work undertaken to each team member’s strengths. Yet without the leader having a clear understanding of what tasks are necessary, what these comprise and being able to communicate them effectively, the team won’t be as efficient and effective as it should be.

Having reflected on this I think I take away one thing I’m going to do differently next week – I’m going to make sure I’m absolutely clear on what I’m doing, why I’m doing it and how other people are involved.
I’ll make a conscious effort to do this, and it’ll be interesting to see if it has an impact on what I achieve in the weeks to come.