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:

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.

  1. What does improved collaboration look like?
  2. What roles are included across which teams?
  3. All 2015 product launches?
  4. 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

  1. What do we mean by X (word)?
  2. What would Y “look like” if we were  very successful?
  3. 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.