Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Vague Dilutes Leadership

I am bound to furnish my antagonists with arguments, but not with comprehension........ Benjamin Disraeli

Zeroing in on small innovations leads to big breakthroughs and that is the hinge for doing more with less. Instead of becoming obsessed with big, ask yourself questions like, “What’s the smallest change we could make in our product, our delivery, our distribution, our organizational structure, or our communication?”

Questions that force you to add by subtraction: “What could we take away from those same areas to make them better and simplify the process?”

Lets look at communication:

Fuzzy writing allows fuzzy thinking;

Clear writing uses well-organized, active-voice sentences to explain what is happening, what ought to happen, and what people need to do.

Conversely, inexact and passive language reflects gaps in thinking.

Requesting clear, direct, active language has two benefits. It forces writers to think through what they really mean and the arguments they can use to support it. If you prize clarity, the clear thinkers will rise to the top.

A culture of clear writing makes managers more productive while vague writing dilutes leadership.

Case Study -
CEO Marissa Mayer email to staff on the sale of Yahoo to Verizon: “…our incredibly loyal and dedicated employee base has stepped up to every challenge along the way….The teams here have not only built incredible products and technologies, but have built Yahoo into one of the most iconic, and universally well-liked companies in the world….I’m incredibly proud of everything that we’ve achieved, and I’m incredibly proud of our team. I love Yahoo, and I believe in all of you.”

That’s four uses of “incredible” or “incredibly” in a single paragraph. It all reads like misdirection and the happy, vacuous language certainly would not inspire the workers to stay. (The rest of the email is similarly vague.)

Clear leadership, expressed in writing, creates alignment and boosts productivity.

For example,
In writing email; the CEO down to the managers must set an example by communicating exactly what they want, clearly, in the subject line or title and the first two sentences of everything they write.

See You at the Top