The last two weeks, we’ve been talking about setting a clear and compelling vision or strategic goal. So far, we’ve focus on two aspects:
- Starting from the future or the present state.
- Identifying whether your goal is a What, How, or So What goal.
Now the hardest part of all—getting really clear. I will cut to the heart of the challenge:
Language gives us the illusion that we are clear.
We construct a goal statement. People nod when we share it. And, we assume it’s both clear and has alignment.
Let’s use an example from last week. We created a “so what” goal of:
We will improve our cross-team collaboration so that
2015 product launches exceed target sales.
Seems pretty clear. However the words in bold leave a lot of room for interpretation.
- What does improved collaboration look like?
- What roles are included across which teams?
- All 2015 product launches?
- Exceed by how much? Would $2 be sufficient?
Some of the clarification is fairly easy. Others like what collaboration really looks like are not as easy. Getting that one clear will drive the work/development process.
3 Questions to Guide Your Clarity Seeking
- What do we mean by X (word)?
- What would Y “look like” if we were very successful?
- What would have to occur with key stakeholders (to this goal)?
The third question is a strong reminder that a truly compelling vision or goal most often has multiple stakeholders. Set the goal with their interests and concerns in mind.
Now, you can use this three questions for a big vision, strategic goals, a project milestone, or the next meeting in your week. For the latter, just jot down you intended outcome for a key meeting this week. Then, use the three questions to get really clear about what you want to create and the stakeholders who must contribute to that outcome.