Maximizing your personal speed to clarity

Feb 8, 2011

How as a business leader do you maximize your personal speed to clarity?Three things*:

How's your speed to clarity?

Note: If you’re viewing this in your RSS reader and cannot see the image above, please click here to view it online

1. Get a personal productivity system

As a basic principle, you can’t have clarity about anything if you’re swamped by data. This is such a fundamental concept I’m going to devote a separate post to it.

2. Get right with your environment

I’ve known many leaders who can speak (and think) with crystal clarity when we’re at lunch or in a nearby Starbucks, but who dissolve into a puddle of vagueness or procrastination when we get back to their office or factory.

When that happens it’s nearly always because their physical environment isn’t optimized for clear thought. They hate their office, or it has no windows, or their key people are miles away, or they don’t have the right technology to hand, or they’re looking right into an unadulterated mess of a warehouse.

Your mileage will vary of course, but if you find yourself inexplicably and perpetually fuzzy-headed at work, but clearer about things elsewhere, then your physical surroundings are almost certainly the problem.

3. Practice ‘inbox zero’ with your emotions

It’s relatively easy for me to earn my keep by helping business leaders be better at what they do…until it becomes clear that the underlying issue is an emotional one.

Telling someone they’re not thinking clearly (or not thinking clearly fast enough) because of unresolved legacy emotions isn’t easy. But the truth is, if you’re harboring annoyance at a team member, fear of pulling the trigger on a decision because of past failure, bitterness after shabby treatment by someone else, or have any other form of significant emotional undertow, then you’ll have a poor speed to clarity.

* Hat-tip to my constant friend and occasional muse, Robert Peake for sending my mind in this direction. Robert speaks more truth in jest (and in rhythm) than I can think in dogged prose.