In his book The 8th Habit, Stephen Covey wrote about a poll of 23,000 employees from a wide variety of companies and industries. The poll found:

  • Only 37% said they have a clear understanding of what their organization is trying to achieve and why
  • Only 1 in 5 was enthusiastic about their team’s and their organization’s goals
  • Only 1 in 5 said they had a clear “line of sight” between their tasks and their team’s and organization’s goals
  • Only 15% felt that their organization fully enables them to execute key goals
  • Only 20% fully trusted the organization they work for

Ouch. And this book was published in 2005….

Anyone think those numbers have gone way up since then? I don’t.

Chip and Dan Heath wrote about this in their book Made to Stick. They noted that, while those statistics are sobering, they’re also pretty abstract.

What if we made them more concrete?

After sharing those statistics, Covey then superimposed a metaphor over them. He wrote, “If, say, a soccer team had those same scores, only 4 of the 11 players on the field wold know which goal is theirs. Only 2 of the 11 would care. Only 2 of the 11 would know what position they play and know exactly what they are supposed to do. And all but 2 players would, in some way, be competing against their own team members rather than the opponent.”

Can you imagine playing on that team?

Too many people are, but it’s in their workplace.

What’s the solution to this?

Clarity and Focus.

Two words that too often are buzzwords thrown about haphazardly, but they are in fact the solution to this problem.

Clarity is the ability to cut through the noise and clearly identify the problem, enabling you to formulate the appropriate solution. Clarity helps us to increase our productivity, improve our effectiveness, and align the efforts of our team to accomplish more than we currently are.

Focus is the ability to remove the distractions, the “shiny objects” that want to pull our attention away from the main thing we need to do. Focus is the discipline of staying attentive to that main thing.

Clarity and focus are two of the major areas that I work with coaching clients on as I help them to develop and intentionally grow as leaders. Why are these so important? Because their effects are outsized.

No organization, no team, no leader drifts into clarity and focus. Ever.

You must choose to intentionally move toward and lead into clarity and focus.

When you do, you’ll find the results are greater than you might have imagined.

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