(Time to read this Blog is about 3 minutes)

Before we get to the main topic, here are a few things to get you thinking:

  1. My biz quote of the week:
    “We should all take what we do seriously; people are counting on us!  We just shouldn’t take ourselves so seriously.   We all need to lighten up.  The world needs more ‘silly’.   Less ‘stupid’ …but more silly!”
    …Donald Cooper.
  2. I have one virtual ‘Business Coaching’ spot open.  If you’d like to achieve some or all of these important outcomes in your business, perhaps we should chat about ‘Biz Coaching possibilities’:

1- Create and deliver compelling customer value and experiences that give you a clear competitive advantage, increased sales and increased profitability.

2- Market, promote and sell more effectively on a tight budget in a cynical and over-served market.  There’s no point being the ‘best’ if you’re also the best kept

3- Attract, engage and retain a dedicated, top-performing team.  Every business needs to become a ‘talent magnet’. Also, how to deal effectively with non-performers.

4- Improve management effectiveness, develop world-class operating efficiency, and improve profitability now and for the long term. How to delegate and grow without losing control.

5- Create a clear Vision for the future of your business, a effective Action Plan to get there, and a culture of commitment, urgency and accountability to make sure that you do. When required, this also includes developing a clear ‘succession plan and exit strategy’.

6- Help sort out issues in partnerships and family businesses regarding partner disagreements or generational differences in business goals, expectations, capabilities or management style.

If you’d like to chat, confidentially, I’m easy to find at 416-252-3703, or you can email me at donald@donaldcooper.com and ask for our Info Sheet on the virtual 4-month Biz Coaching program.


Now, to this week’s important topic:

Have you created a vacuum of uncertainty at the top of your biz or dept?

As business owners, leaders or managers, our 1st job is clarity about 10 specific things and that clarity must begin with us. Many good things can come from the bottom up in an organization, but clarity can only come from the top down.  So, if we at the top are not clear, who else in the organization can be?  The answer is…’nobody!’  Sadly, many businesses have created a vacuum of uncertainty at the top…and they’re paying the price!

I’m sorry that there are ‘10 clarities’.  That’s a lot.  It would be so much easier if there were just 3 or 4…but there aren’t.  Management is complicated and it’s what you signed up for.

The 10 clarities are…

  1. Clarity about who our target customers are and what life’s really like for them.  What they value, what they fear and what they really want from us.  When buying, using, maintaining or disposing of what we sell, are we clear about what they’re really trying to do, what they want or need to know, how they want to feel and about how much do they expect to pay?
  2. Clarity about the compelling customer value and experiences that we commit to always deliver. Compelling value and experiences that will give us a clear competitive advantage and make us the ‘wise choice’ for our target customers.  Value and experiences that will ‘grab’ our target customers, clearly differentiate us from our competitors, make us ‘famous’…and grow our bottom line.  If we aren’t clear about our compelling value, how can our customers be clear about why they should do business with us?
  3. Clarity about how and where we’ll effectively brand, market, promote and sell our compelling value story in a crowded, cynical and competitive market.  There’s no point being the ‘best’ if we’re also the ‘best kept secret’.  Every market, including ours, is over-served and under-differentiated.  That’s our reality.
  4. Clarity about the extraordinary future we commit to create (our 3 to 5-year Vision). How our business must be different in 3 to 5 years.  How big must we be?  How big do we want to be?  How ‘good’ must we be to be a market leader?  How good do we want to be?   Do we have the ability and the passion to do the work to become what we must become?

    How might our business model have to change?  What are the disruptive market-related, technology-related or societal changes coming down the road that could change how we do business, who our competitors are and what our customers value?  Will we become the industry disruptors, or will we become irrelevant?  What or who could replace us?

    There’s huge confusion about what a business Vision is, what it isn’t and whether it even makes sense to have one.  Businesses waste thousands of dollars to create vague, airy-fairy ‘aspirational’ Vision Statements that achieve nothing.  To be effective, our Vision Statement should be a clear, specific and measurable, 1-page statement of what we commit to become in 3 to 5 years. It will inform, focus, challenge and inspire everyone on our team from top to bottom…and contribute considerably to our ‘clarity’.

  5. Clarity about how we’ll get to that extraordinary future. Specifically, each year, what decisions we commit to make and what action we commit to take (our annual Mission) to get to our 3 to 5-year Vision?
    Note:  For help in creating:

    a) a clear ‘Statement of Purpose’,
    b) a 3 to 5 year ‘Operational Vision’ on one sheet of paper,
    c) an annual ‘Mission’…and,
    d) a specific, detailed step-by step ‘Commitment to Action’ implementation plan…
    …for your business, you can purchase our 34-page, step-by-step Vision Critical Guide as a downloadable PDF, for just $2400 at donaldcooper.com.

  6. Clarity about the extraordinary bottom line we commit to generate.  A bottom line that generates funds to reinvest in the business, pay our staff well and provide our investors with a competitive rate of return…or better.
  7. Clarity about the technology, systems, processes, equipment and facilities we need in order to create world-class operating efficiency and to be innovative, cost-effective, customer-centric and profitable industry leaders and disruptors.
  8. Clarity about the talent that we must attract and retain to make all of this happen. The real battle in business today is the battle for talent.  What talent and experience must we develop internally, or do we need to recruit from the outside?  Also, clarity about how we must grow as leaders and managers…and who is being trained to replace us.
  9. Clarity about the employment experience, career opportunities, culture and organizational structure that we commit to deliver in order to attract, lead, engage and retain a talented, dedicated, top-performing team?   Do we have clear and well communicated structures, responsibilities, authority and accountability?  Is there clarity about how we measure and reward performance…and how we deal with non-performance?
  10. Clarity about how we commit to behave along the way. The values, ethics and standards that we commit to live by and the culture we commit to create.

Most businesses lack this kind of clarity…and it’s killing them.  Without clarity, there can be no commitment or urgency and without commitment and urgency, there’s no accountability.

To access my revised Clarity Biz Tool #A-4, no charge, Click Here.   Using this insightful Tool, rate your business on the ’10 Clarities’ and calculate your overall ‘Clarity Score’ out of 100.  Then, have your managers and supervisors, individually, do the same thing.  Study the results.  Are you all aligned, is everyone ‘singing from the same hymn sheet, or are there widely divergent opinions about clarity?  What does this tell you about which areas of your business or department need work?

When we fail to create and communicate clarity, we create a vacuum of uncertainty at the top of our business or department.  And, because the universe hates a vacuum (I learned that in Grade 10 physics), something must rush in to fill the ‘emptiness’ that we’ve created.

What generally fills that vacuum are the fragmented and disparate goals, assumptions, ambitions, egos and power grabs of the other people in the organization as they attempt to deal with or take advantage of the uncertainty that we’ve created.  The organization then becomes fragmented, is without focus or direction, but is full of turf wars and drama.

Productivity slows, then grinds to a halt and there’s no accountability.  Instead of alignment, we have anarchy. The animals are running the zoo…and it will end badly if it’s not fixed quickly.  Your best talent will leave and your mediocre people will stay and take ‘I don’t give a dam pills’.  I’m coaching two businesses in exactly this situation right now…and, unfortunately, one of them is not rescuable.

So, 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 the list of ‘10 clarities and the no charge Clarity Biz Tool #A-4, Click Here to start fixing the problem. When you’ve achieved and documented ‘clarity’ in each of the 10 key areas, determine exactly what  needs to be created, fixed or eliminated to move your business or department down this clear new path.  This will take some time, but it’s the most important ‘management thing’ you’ll do this year. Remember, your first job is to create ‘clarity’.

For each thing you commit to do or fix, for each action you commit to take, get specific about what will be done, by whom, by when, at what expense, with what specific outcomes, measured how to implement your new-found clarity.  Finally, follow up, reward performance and deal with non-performance.  Lack of clarity and failure to deal with non-performance are two of the biggest problems in many businesses today.

That’s it for this week…

Stay safe…live brilliantly!       

Donald Cooper 


Donald Cooper speaks and coaches internationally on management, marketing, and profitability.  He can be reached by email at donald@donaldcooper.com in Toronto, Canada.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up for Donald's Free!
"Straight Talk" Business Coach Blog

Sign up to get valuable and insightful tips weekly!
Simple Share ButtonsIt's only fair to share
Simple Share Buttons