Have you ever been in a situation where you had difficulty explaining an important concept to a team? Situations where it is so very clear in your own mind but your audience just don’t understand. And you felt like you just wanted to throw in the towel with frustration. No matter how much you explained, it was as if they were missing key parts of it. And now you feel that your efforts at conveying your enthusiasm are just not working. It is just so difficult, so complex. And no matter how you tried, you were just not able to convey your point or make them understand and get excited about what you are thinking and dreaming of. ‘Your’ excitement just never converted into ‘Our’ excitement.

Now make the problem even more complex. Take not just the concepts or dreams of one individual, but that of a whole group (such as a Board, or the Senior Management Team). Consider the complexity of asking multiple teams to understand and execute the results of a collective deliberation process which may have occurred over multiple planning sessions. And to boot, this is the first time the team hears of the plans, and execution starts now!

It happens every day, in every organization. And every day there are individuals and teams who proceed with actions on plans and dreams. They even measure their progress towards those unclear goals. With an unclear end result in mind. All because the senior leadership never took the time to go and explain the detail of their plans. Or provide a milestone that is still in the future. Never considered the relationship of all the moving parts of the business. And didn’t explain how team members need to support each other to make the company’s dreams an ultimate reality.

Importance of Leadership Direction

The job of leaders is to provide leadership direction that not only explains the end goal, but the WHY behind it as well. Providing leadership direction is time well spent, and has major benefits, such as:

  • working out which routes those responsible for execution should not even consider and explaining the rationale to the team;
  • identifying areas of weakness in understanding, and obtaining that understanding now, in order to make better plans;
  • deciding which resources will be required when, and ensuring it is ready and allocated properly before the need arises;
  • resolving differences of opinion on strategic priorities and which areas to focus on. This can and should not be left up to management to decide. Leaders, it is your job.

Leaders, go and properly articulate the full extent of the required end results. Go play in that future desired state. Touch it and feel it. Consider how the moving parts balance each other. Especially when you are asking your team to execute in a direction that is completely unknown to them. Help them overcome the paralysis of uncertainty. Set them up for success.

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