Getting clarity and how to help others to get clarity

clarityPay-off: how to get clarity or help someone else get clarity to move forwards

Investment: 2.5 minutes

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Many problems are a clarity issue, nothing more.

The less clearly we can see from A to B, the less likely we’ll attempt to advance from A to B. If you can’t see where to step, you’re unlikely to step forwards.

But increase the clarity or visibility and we reach a tipping point where we can move forwards. We become clear that it’s probably worth the effort and risk (and we are rewarded with increased clarity and confidence to keep moving ahead. Getting clarity increases with progress).

The problem for many is getting enough clarity to take that first step.

Take a group of people who are being expected to sell or bring in business (or perhaps need to do that) but whose wheels just aren’t turning. The easy/lazy reasons suggested for their lack of ‘sales’ activity are often around their low motivation, that they’re too busy, or that it’s just not their personality to go out and sell. It’s a shame that we are so unclear on the real reason.

But when I speak with them 1:1 and explore how they’re thinking about sales or business development activity, it becomes very clear to me that it’s often a lack of clarity on their part about what activity they really need to do, and how to best do it.

It’s a costly clarity issue.

They think they have to behave like a stereotypical salesperson to sell, but they don’t.

They think they have to be extrovert when they’re introvert, but they’re wrong.

They think they’ll be asked to cold call, but they probably won’t. And perhaps shouldn’t.

They don’t think that there’s a comfortable way to do it, but they’re unclear because there is.

They’re foggy on this, because…well, why should they be clear? They’ve never really done it. And their mind defaults to the nasty feelings they remember from bad sales people they met over the years. And once those emotions are released, well, it’s game over. They become paralysed. They’re not even going to take that first step I mentioned above that opens up their visibility.

There’s two important points I want to make here.

  1. Increased clarity is often the overlooked solution to inaction or poor performance (how many people in your organisation are crystal clear on what they have to do in their role?) Low motivation is often a byproduct of being unclear. When we’re not clear, we tend to assume and make things up. And when we make things up, we often make scary things up – the things we fear. It’s just the way we’re wired. It’s the same reason you thought there was a monster under your bed as a kid. Of course, we won’t move forwards when we’ve just created lots of very believable monsters in our path.
  2. You can’t usually solve the clarity issue just by clarifying ‘on paper’. It absolutely requires action and experience – stepping along the path you were previously unclear about. You don’t become clear on what a new food tastes like from a description. You have to eat it.

Getting clarity: How to help others get clarity to move forwards

Someone close to you right now is unclear about something, and they’re struggling to get the wheels turning, even though they feel an urge (or pressure) to do so. They’re going to need enough clarity to reach the tipping point where they step forwards.

You could help them if you want by doing this:

  1. Talk to them. Find out the questions they’re asking themselves and the answers they’re telling themselves.
  2. Use your expertise to ask them the questions they should be asking themselves, and help make it easy for them to find some answers
  3. Help them to take a small step forwards into the unknown (but now slightly better known). Hold their hand if they want. (Metaphorically speaking, just to be clear)
  4. Discuss the rewards and positives they just experienced or learned. Where does it feel good, or promising?
  5. Repeat these steps at least twice a day if you want your efforts to compound and get wings.

Note: file this in your mind under ‘how to sell’, ‘how to persuade’, ‘how to coach’ and ‘how to lead’. And let me know if I can help your team at work to implement this. My main ‘sales for non-sales’ site is here.

Please share if you think others will find it useful.

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