Sesame Street Clarity

By 17 May ’13Blog

The authors of the HBR book, Strategic Speed found that companies that execute their goals have three things in common.

  1. The vision of the company is communicated and understood with absolute clarity.
  2. The people in the company agree that what is being aimed for is right. This results in unity.
  3. The people in the company are willing to switch tasks to get the job done. This means the team has agility.

The funny thing they found was that the companies who tried to execute faster, actually ended up moving slower. While the companies who moved slower actually ended up moving faster! Why?

In Lencioni’s book The Advantage, we learn that there are smart companies that execute slow and there are healthy companies that execute fast. The smart ones have a good vision, good finances etc… The healthy companies have clear communication, minimal politics and minimal confusion. Here is where we find why the healthy companies execute faster – they talk to each other!

I was talking this issue over recently with an executive friend of mine in Southern California. He told me the reason confusion, miscommunication and lack of execution happen is because leaders didn’t aim for Sesame Street Clarity.  

How do you get Sesame Street Clarity? You have to slow down and ask questions. In the end, this will make you faster.

Here’s a simple tool for you to help you better lead your people. Simply ask them this question. “What would it take for you to better execute our vision this next quarter?” They way they answer will tell you how you can resource them and it will show you the way in which you need to lead. Doing this will slow you down at first. But in the end, it will speed you up.

Many times the folks on your team already know what needs to be done, but the problem is, no one is slowing down to ask. When we don’t slow down, assumptions are made and in the end this causes people to be confused and work in different directions.

Slowing down to clarify the objective and ask questions will give people clarity on what they need to do and it will give you clarity on how you can better lead to people entrusted to your care. The result: People will be fulfilled, your company will execute the vision and you will have done something that mattered! Now that’s Sesame Street Clarity.