You can be the most organised individual on the planet but when it comes to prioritising the right things to focus on at the right time with limited resources… that’s a different story.
Aberdeen’s Economic Outlook 2010 identified that 68% of organisations surveyed expected a revenue growth of 10.5% in 2010 over 2009. Over the same time period, these organisations anticipated their head count would only grow 4.3%. So balancing short-term efficiency without losing sight of future growth is going to be a key challenge for organisations of all sizes in the coming year.
It almost goes without saying that a good leader needs to be able to provide clear direction to his/her team, particularly in times of crisis or major change. Sounds easier than it really is especially when things are moving quickly and time is a resource in short supply. Providing role clarity has to be the role of the leader and not, as is often the case, a job delegated to HR.
Not everyone is able to see their role in its entirety, particularly with regard to the interdependencies within a team. And all too often, we see leaders confuse providing clear direction for their team with micromanagement. The Aberdeen report on Onboarding showed the most powerful way of engaging employees are in ensuring they have clear individual goals, that they know the goals of the organisation and their impact on those goals, and that they are given the opportunity to be recognised for their success in achieving those goals. Essentially, role clarity!
Pulling a team together and facilitating a role clarity session effectively may not be within the capability of all leaders and nor does it have to be. However, participating in this process does have to be. Any work you can do to keep communication and direction clear in what can be stressful and uncertain times, is time well spent.
I really like the work of best-selling author Stephen Covey. He talks about putting “first things first,” an approach that I believe is very relevant, especially in today’s world of immediacy. Role clarity is one of those first things. During periods of rapid change, as a leader ask yourself:
- Am I doing all within my power to ensure communication is clear and people are held accountable to specific deliverables?
- Are expectations of all the stakeholders clear?
- Does my team understand the interdependencies within the team?
- Am I sure that my team are focused on doing the ‘right’ things. Efficiency is not the same as effectiveness.
- Do we have a process in place to review this as needed, embedded as part of our modus operandi?
What are your experiences with being involved in or being witness to a change scenario where confusion reigned supreme?