As a business owner, leader, or manager, your first job is clarity about what your business stands for, who your customers are, what they need, and how you communicate to the marketplace. Many good things can come from the bottom up in an organization, but clarity can only come from the top down.
This is the advice of management thought leader Donald Cooper. Cooper is a Toronto-based speaker and business coach. Based on his experience as a manufacturer (Cooper Canada sports equipment) and an award-winning retailer, he has helped hundreds of companies in over 40 industries around the world to create compelling customer value, clarity of purpose, and long-term profitability.
Cooper offers a list of 10 “clarities” for managing any uncertainties a company might be facing. They include reviewing the fundamentals of your business, such as being clear about who your target customers are and what life’s really like for them. With that in mind, it’s also important to be clear about what compelling customer value and experiences your company is committed to delivering and how these differentiate you from your competitors.
Cooper is emphatic about the value of this process. “Most businesses lack this kind of clarity and it’s killing them,” he says. “Without clarity, there can be no commitment or urgency. And without commitment and urgency, there’s no accountability.”
Other areas that may need additional clarity? They can include how and where will you effectively brand, market, promote, and sell your compelling value story in a crowded, cynical and competitive market. There’s no point in being the best if your customers don’t know it.
Other areas that Cooper stresses include being clear about your company’s vision for the future and making sure you have the technology, systems, processes, and equipment needed to be innovative, cost-effective, customer-centric, and profitable.
Delivering on these initiatives means having the right team in place. Focus on being clear about the employment experience, career opportunities, culture, and organizational structure. That way, you’ll be better able to attract, lead, and retain a talented, dedicated, top-performing team.
“Do we have clear and well-communicated structures, responsibilities, authority, and accountability?” Coopers asks. “Is there clarity about how we measure and reward performance? And how do we deal with non-performance?”
(Has a lack of clarity created a vacuum of uncertainty at the top of your business or department? Are you, as a leader or manager, unclear, indecisive, or overwhelmed in any way? If so, sit down with your team and use Cooper’s list of “10 clarities,” offered here at no charge to you!