Clarify First, Then Commit

Fostering commitment within an organization is a major responsibility for all leaders. Without commitment to a clear vision, there’s simply not enough determination to achieve great things.

One subtle “gotcha” is when you think the vision your people should commit to is clear, but it isn’t clear to them! Commitment builds enthusiasm, but what good is that commitment, if it’s not clearly focused towards a common goal?

BHAG Case Study


A few years back, I started working with a client who had established the big hairy audacious goal (BHAG) of growing 50X by opening 20 new stores in seven years. I love big ambition, and I’ve observed that what seems to be impossible can become manifest through sheer tenacity and grit. However, in this case, I was skeptical. My client’s management team lacked the experience to pull it off and they simply were not sharing their vision throughout the company, most likely because they didn’t really believe it themselves.

We added their goal to their V/TO™ (Vision/Traction Organizer) and began a quarterly Meeting Pulse™ in an attempt to make it come to life. However, it didn’t take long before they recognized that their goal was unrealistic, leading them to reassess and reestablish a more achievable, yet aggressive, 7-Year Target of 10X growth with fewer stores.

Lack of a clear vision can lead to wasted energy. While my client’s team was committed to growth, they never really clarified their goal and then they hesitated to share it. However, once they made the adjustment to a goal they could commit to, energy and enthusiasm grew and their attention was purely focused on achieving an exciting vision. On top of this, each employee better understood their role and was excited about the opportunity.

Clarity First – Commitment Second

As a leader of your business, you’re responsible for developing and articulating a vision that everyone understands and can follow. The key is to gain clarity first, commitment second. This will foster the alignment and enthusiasm that will get you there faster!

Next Steps

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This post originally appeared on the BlueCore Leadership Blog on June 21, 2017.


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