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Wednesday, 1 December 2010

The 3 C's - what and why

Anyone who has worked with me for any time will know that I continually bang on about the Three C’s - Clarity, Commitment, Capability.  Why?
Because every success and failure I have experienced in business seems to have revolved around these three big issues.  And the biggest one is Clarity.
Clarity is about getting everyone (and I mean everyone) understanding what you are trying to achieve.  And not at some easily achieved superficial level.  Deep, very deep understanding is required otherwise people wander off doing their own thing, because they fancy it, or because they just want to carry on doing what they have always done; it’s easier after all.
Call it purpose, vision or mission or whatever you like; I really don’t care The harsh reality is that you have to give your business a laser like focus on something really valuable: valuable to your customers so that they want to buy it, and valuable to you so that you make money out of it.
Clarity focuses resources, mindset, energy, skills, behaviour, people, suppliers …. Clarity focuses everything.  
Clarity removes waste more than any smart assed accountant can ever achieve, however much they cut and chop bits out of budgets.
Clarity provides a decision making filter  for everyone in the business to use.  That means you make better decisions at board level, but more importantly it means that your teams can make decisions on their own, without continual reference to you.  And that means they can do things quicker; they  become more capable; they are more motivated; they look after your customers better and your business becomes more reliable and effective 
Clarity means that your customers understand what you are about and what you offer them.  If makes them confident to come back and buy more because they know how you will behave and what you will do.  They also feel confident to recommend you to their friends.
Indeed you know you really have clarity when your customers relay the same picture about what you do as you do. 
And if you haven’t got it?  Often you will see conflict and hear flatulence.  Neither are much use.  Conflict arises out out competing agendas rather than shared beliefs and distracts from delivery and execution.  Flatulence shows up as wind and is evident to staff and customers alike and normally is experienced by way of unreliability, false promises and a failure to deliver.
So, love clarity with a passion.
I will come back to how you achieve this depth of clarity in the next few editions.  Equally, I will come back to Commitment and Capability in later editions and for now will just provide a brief overview.  
Once you are clear where you are going, you have a chance of winning the commitment that is necessary to execute your plans in a sustainable way.
Commitment shows itself in an unswerving determination and perseverance to deliver.  It is a passion to perform amongst all your staff and a passion to buy repeatedly amongst your customers.  It is motivation and pride and energy.  It is about people being innovative;  innovative in how they do they job, how they find solutions, how they manage and lead, as well as being innovative in delivering new products and services.
It is all these things because it is about lots of people doing something together that they believe in and want to see succeed.  
But that success is shared; it is an aspiration for success for the business and for themselves personally. Therefore to win commitment you must ensure that you focus on the reward for the organisation and for your staff.  And in this regard, I mean reward in the widest sense; motivation, growth, opportunity, recognition, personal development as well as pay.
And finally, when the wheels hit the road, your business and your staff have to have the capability to perform and deliver your aspirations. That will mean you have the skills, culture, knowledge, resources, know-how, controls, experience, connections, distribution, technology, processes, products, cash, brand and leadership to succeed.
The next article in this series will cover, Getting Clarity - how far and how deep?

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