Leaders spend a ton of time trying to get their message across to their teams. They experiment with all sorts of delivery channels, tones, and messengers to make their point. But it's all for naught if the message isn't clear enough for the team to understand, or if the message doesn't lead to the right goal.

YPO member Brad Deutser wrote the book on clarity, literally. Deutser is the founder and CEO of Deutser, a consulting firm focused on creating order from the chaos of business. After more than 20 years in the business, he published Leading Clarity, which helps leaders precisely define their priorities and purpose. Deutser's technique, which he calls "the Clarity Process," has helped many Fortune 500 companies reach peak performance using sustainable methods. Clarity improves people, profit, performance, and sustainability.

Without a straightforward approach, competing interests will cloud instructions and push your team off course. Here is Deutser's advice on how to lead your team to your vision:

1. Get Inside the Box

Deutser knows that to improve performance and clarity, you need to start at the beginning. "The foundational phase of the Clarity Process is 'thinking inside the box,'" he explains. "During this phase, leaders seek to understand the true drivers of business success in the framework of a box." In order to lay the right foundation for success, Deutser says, "first they must define success." The box provides the start of the roadmap, allowing everyone to work from the same plan.

2. Analyze the DNA

Once you've defined the box of success, the next step is to determine what your company's box will look like. Deutser elaborates: "This step establishes the standards that are unique to your organization and market. It includes, but goes way beyond, the values and mission statements that a company grows on." Deutser encourages leaders to get down to the granular level, explaining, "In nature, DNA works by replicating the organism's genetic code. Similarly, understanding your company's DNA allows organizations to operate with clarity, defining success from the inside out and effectively communicating the message, both internally and externally." Make sure that your company's DNA is clean and ready to build upon.

3. Get Aligned

Next, leaders need to make sure all that all this preparation generates real improvement. The goal of understanding the DNA, Deutser says, is to "enable leaders to define their organization's priorities, and create a code that demonstrates it as one interconnected whole." Every element of the company must line up according to the DNA. It may not come naturally, Deutser warns, explaining, "Unfortunately, it's common for organizations to have their messages identified, but without tying them together in a sustainable construct." Leaders must align the whole organization, because it's fine to talk clarity, but you have to walk the walk, too.

4. Design Performance

After alignment comes intentionality. Deutser is effusive about this stage, saying, "This is where the DNA comes together to define and drive purposeful performance." Here's how Deutser says it's done: "Once clarity has been established, leaders learn to effectively communicate their company's 'box' to their employees. Having this clarity around the box makes that communication far easier and engagement far deeper." One of the most exciting outcomes of this state, Deutser says, is that "you can achieve operational excellence." Once you get aligned, you have to make sure you stay aligned.

5. Humanize It

The human touch helps make Deutser's process sustainable. At this stage, Deutser will "leverage the company's DNA to create the distinctive look and personality that define your company," he explains. Deutser says, "Making the organizational DNA come alive in the values and mission statements improves company culture. It infuses positivity into the DNA, which acts as a profitability catalyst." When you lead your company with clarity, your business runs more smoothly and efficiently.

Each week Kevin explores exclusive stories inside YPO, the world's premiere peer-to-peer organization for chief executives, eligible at age 45 or younger.

Published on: Jul 13, 2018
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