More and more this summer, leaders are reporting to me that they are outside their comfort zone. Whether it is the warp speed of change that is happening right now, the digital economy, or that everything now is connected to the internet, they are just not feeling very comfortable and ready for the short and long term challenges before them. They tell me that there is little balance in their days, very little sense of order, and very few moments of predictability. In short, their world is more chaotic than they like.
At times like this, leaders need to focus on the Four C’s, namely building clarity, confidence, connections, and commitment.
The first step is to define clarity. Whenever this topic surfaces, I always turn to the first book that focused on this subject, namely Patrick Lencioni’s The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive, Jossey-Bass, 2000. Here, he explains that a healthy organization minimizes the potential for confusion by clarifying the following:
- why does the organization exist?
- which behavioral values are fundamental?
- what specific business are we in?
- who are our competitors?
- how are we unique?
- what are our plans for the future?
- who is responsible for what?
For leaders this summer, the above list of questions is a great place to start when seeking a new level of clarity. Reflect deeply on each question, and write out your answers. Then, sit down with your leadership team and share your thinking. The subsequent strategic level dialogue will generate a strong foundation for the future and help when things feel chaotic outside your comfort zone.