It has always been critical for leaders to be clear on their goals and to communicate goals clearly. If you are leading digital transformation, this is exponentially true.
If you’ve ever had the unfortunate experience of accidentally plugging the wrong location into your GPS and found yourself far from where you intended to go and running late, you know how easily things can go awry if you have vague information. If you aren’t clear on where you’re going, you can’t map the best route there.
Being clear on your goals is critical at every step:
- Choosing the right tool: If you don’t have clarity on what you are trying to achieve, you won’t be able to identify what digital tool or platform is best to achieve that goal. Goal fuzziness easily results in choosing the shiniest or most familiar tool, rather than the one that will truly serve your purpose. If you know what you are aiming for, you can then select the best tool to accomplish that.
- Measuring success: You can’t measure progress if you don’t know what you’re aiming for. Once that goal is clear, you have an accurate method for measuring your progress.
- Leveraging data: Big data is available, but how and when to use it requires knowing what you are trying to achieve. Without clarity, data is simply information, rather than a powerful tool for progress. Leverage data with the goal in mind.
- Communicating your goals: If you don’t have clarity, you can be certain the people you lead don’t either. Without clarity, there is no inspiration or impetus; there is only inefficiency. Without goal clarity, others have no way of knowing whether they are aligned with the goal or how their contributions affect that goal. Communicate why this tool or platform has been chosen, and how it serves the goal. Communicate more than once and in more than one way. Leading others through digital transformation is messy. Goal clarity is one of your best methods for adding sanity and fostering engagement, not to mention actually achieving your goals.
Clarity is key, so how do you get started?
- Give yourself time to focus. Become clear in your own mind what needs to be achieved and why.
- Write your goals down. As the Pulitzer Prize-winning author David McCullough states, “Writing is thinking. To write well is to think clearly. That’s why it’s so hard.”
- Share your ideas with others to help refine your thinking and ensure you aren’t missing any blind spots or opportunities.
- Consider how best to communicate the goals to the larger team or organization in a way that will create clarity for others and engage them in achieving these goals.
This is the perfect time of year to look back and review how well you were able to achieve your 2017 goals, digital and otherwise. Celebrate each milestone, even the ones that were messier than you would have liked. And as you look ahead to 2018, start with the end in mind and create a clear picture of where you are headed. A year from now, what do you hope to have accomplished? Hold onto that clarity and share it with others to create progress you can be proud of.
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