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These concepts come from Parick Lencioni's book Silos, Politics and Turf Wars and The Advantage. You’ll see significant overlap with the other models, like the Vision Frame or 4DX. However, there are some helpful additions and nuances to the creating clarity process. 

The clarity comes from answering six questions:

  • Why do we exist?
  • How do we behave?
  • What do we do? 
  • How will we succeed?
  • What is most important right now?
  • Who must do what? 

Why do we exist?

What purpose do I or the organization I’m a part of serve? How do we make the world better? 

Sometimes the answer is obvious, and sometimes it takes some work to get clarity. 

Take the time needed to answer this in a fundamentally compelling way. The rest of your clarity is built upon it. It’s ok if it sounds idealistic or lofty. As long as it is accurate and on target, then you’re good.

How do we behave?

We’re identifying values here. In the book, The Advantage, Lencioni identifies four types of values:

  1. Core Values. A few unchanging, central, and already true values.
  2. Aspirational Values. Qualities we hope to and are striving to have.
  3. Permission to Play Values. Fundamental, non-differentiating values, like integrity and hard work.
  4. Accidental Values. Common traits that grow unintentionally over time.

We’re trying to find the Core Values. 

I like Lencioni’s advice to name the values. This practice has been my favorite way to set values for the teams I lead. Here are the values of a team from a few years ago. I took the idea for the first one from Lencioni’s example, but it was already a core value of our team.

Willing To Sweep Floors 

Setting aside status and ego and being willing to do whatever was necessary to help the organization succeed. This value will play out in building proofs of concepts and doing the groundwork for alignment. 

Go To The Moon

We set high, measurable goals and map the steps but allow freedom for how we get there—seeking to collaborate across the organization and beyond it.

No Sacred Cows

Willing to take risks and cultivate an environment of creativity and innovation that is open to entertaining any idea if it will help us accomplish our goals. 

Give Away My Seat

We invite other voices into the process, advocate for them, and seek to grow our teams and replace ourselves with a more diverse team. Humility is the ability to learn something from anyone and everyone.

A 5-day journey to living from your priorities

It’s easy to spend our day reacting to what comes at us. What if you could be proactive, intentionally making decisions based on your priorities? It is possible!

Our five-day short course guides you through the process of identifying your life priorities and scaling them day to everyday decisions. You’ll learn how to establish a rhythm to build good habits and grow a team that will be with you in the journey.

What do we do? 

The answer to this question is the fundamental business definition. What are the core functions of the business? 

Don’t overthink this one too much. You should be able to write it in one straightforward sentence.

How will we succeed?

This question gets at the competitive advantage and core strategy at work. 

Lencioni suggests identifying three strategic anchors through a process of brainstorming followed by categorization and refinement. There is a significant similarity here with the Kingdom Concept found in the Vision Frame.

What is most important right now?

We’re finally setting goals. It was a long road, but now these goals will be grounded in our purpose, aligning with our values, and employing our core strategies.

Thematic goals are significant while still specific and time-bound. They are similar to the WIG in 4DX and the Objectives in OKRs

Each thematic goal will also have defining objectives, further clarifying the goals. The defining objectives are comparable to the Key Results in OKRs.

Who must do what? 

If it’s going to happen, somebody needs to do it. At this point, we’re taking the thematic goals, defining objectives, and deciding who will be responsible. 

This process creates clarity of ownership. No more, “I thought you were going to do that.” The accountability it provides helps the team stay focused on the Wildly Important Goal.

Next Steps to creating clarity.

Creating Clarity is comprehensive enough to stand on its own as a framework. 

It shares a significant number of elements with other frameworks. I often combine it with other frameworks, and I like to combine it with either 4DX or OKRs. In particular, I appreciate how it identifies values.

The Advantage is an amalgam of four of Lencioni’s books and has a lot more than just the creating clarity process. I encourage you to check it out.

Maximize Your Leadership Potential

Leadership isn’t a journey you should take alone. What if you had someone to come alongside you? I provide coaching to help you reach your vision, lead others and grow as a leader.

Schedule a Free Coaching Appointment

This post is part of Reaching the Finish Line: A Goal-Setting Guide for Everyday People. Knowing and crossing the finish line is essential to intentional living.