Is that clear….

training primary care NHS Is that clear

The Tories said leave and, backstop, agreement, extension… blah, blah and ambiguity.

Labour said election, or peoples’ vote, or stay and blah, blah… ambiguity.

The Brexit Party said, Brexit… full stop. Crystal clear.

The Lib-Dems said dump the whole idea… and guess what… we all knew what they meant.

Political parties with a clear, simple message did the best.

Tory wanna-be prime ministers; there’s a baker’s dozen to chose from. Their problem, they have ambiguous messages; lead the country out of the EU fine… but no clarity about the ‘how’.

All the ideas they have stood for and voted for have failed. What have they got that’s a clear, new message?


Politics, selling, planning, bringing up kids, diplomacy or management, only one thing counts… clarity.

A confused public have no idea who to vote for. In the workplace, confused colleagues, departments and teams will never deliver anything.

Clarity counts. Crystal clear, clarity.

Caring for people like we care for our own. Treating the people we work with, as one of our own and remind them, they are never on their own, we say we will support you and mean it.

Is that clear enough? Without clarity we have chaos. How to avoid it?

Good management has clarity running through it like the stripe in the toothpaste.

Make sure everyone is singing off the same hymn-sheet. Clarify the purpose. Paint a picture of the common purpose that everyone can see, share and understand.

In management speak; that’s the mission…

… and leads to the second point. It’s all very well knowing the end point, but how are you going to get there?

The best plans are co-created. Tell people where you want to end up and let them figure out how to get there.

You have the mission but you want the team to have the tactics and techniques of how to achieve it.

Management speak; objectives and the key results.

Next; be clear about who is responsible for what. Make sure everyone knows what they are expected to do… each action having an owner. Definition of roles.

Management speak; accountability.

Along the road, the unexpected can create ambiguity. The trick is to make sure that it doesn’t phase people. Clarity, however well focussed, is unlikely to be perfect. Be sure the team can be nimble.

Management speak; resilience.

Being clear at the beginning does not mean abandoning people to fend for themselves.

Create clear and accessible check-ins, way-markers and conversations about progress and issues. It’s important to keep sharing the bigger picture.

Management speak; support.

I learned that the US software giant, Adobe, in 2012 abandoned annual performance reviews. Instead they opted for informal, regular conversations, to maintain the contact with clarity and common purpose.

In her book, ‘Clarity First’ Karen Martin talks about;

• Purpose; understanding why the organisation exists

• Priorities; spell out what matters right now

• Process; design how the work gets done, with the people doing the work… coproduction

• Performance; keep in touch with what is happening at the front line, that’s where performance succeeds or fails

• Problem solving; when issues arise, get onto them, lightening fast

• People; care for them, maintain clarity of purpose and celebrate success

Ambiguity cannot explain what success looks like and leads to ambivalence, chaos and frustration.

Only clarity can do that, it creates a power, a strength and arises out of simplicity. It brings a focus and puts you in control.

Clarity helps you work faster and at a higher quality.

Complexity creeps in because the convolutions of the day-to-day invites us to solve our problems with twists and turns and curlicue thinking.

It’s a hard lesson to learn but in management speak… less is more.

Is that clear?

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Reproduced at by kind permission of Roy Lilley.