I Hear You
As a leader who follows radical transparency in my daily interactions, I have been asked “why is this different today than it was last week”. The simple answer is that the world is complex and situations change. Adding context to information is key to understanding how it evolves from one day to the next. I believe that sharing your vision of the destination is equally essential to contextualizing information. We may be here today, and we are headed in this direction. There is an element of hope for the future. Let’s head in this hopeful direction, because together we can achieve a brighter future. Further, identifying your destination and an exemplar story of why this future is essential is “full-transparency”. Focus your messaging on these areas:
- This is where we are today.
- This is our destination (future).
- Here is the destination story.
Then invite participation in a future that makes sense to your organization or team. Sustainability of the work to achieve your destination happens when the future bright, and universally adopted. Ask your team for buy-in.
- Who is on board with achieving this destination?
- Then do it!
- How can you and your team help us move toward this brighter future?
Believing that we can be better and more when we collaborate and achieve a future is essential. Being clear about where you are, the work that needs to be done to achieve a brighter future, and how that future can look, are the basic elements to communicating reality and hope during changing times.
I have seen and heard messages that are dreadfully negative, which is not helpful for group morale. I have seen and heard messages that are so positive that it is clear that they are not based in reality, which results in lost credibility. And, changing messages from leaders are confusing, especially when context is not a part of the message. Saying things like “we will never…” or “we will always…” results in the possible need to change in the community, demands of the public/legislature, or devastation of resources. These are areas where leaders have limited control. When a promise is made and not kept credibility and trust are lost.
Focusing on your actions is even more essential that what you say. Once you have a destination and implement strategy to achieve that future. The future does not happen organically. It happens because we support the work and individuals going toward the brighter future and we do not support actions that jeopardize the prosperous future. It takes courage to identify and strive toward a future, wandering off on a side path is distracting and results in messaging that is confusing. Your actions are a message, in fact, what you do is a better indicator of how serious you are about leading to a brighter destination. This is not easy or comfortable – it is essential.
Therefore, I propose a more complete message with facts, context, destination, and requesting support from those that share your journey. Most importantly, I propose that your actions are your strategy and your actions stifle all verbal or written messages. Own the destination and make it happen!
Great read and reference: