Micromanage Clarity

Earlier in my career a senior leader (I’ll call him Devon) accused me of one of the great business sins: “Tim, you’re a micromanager!” he declared.

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Devon had seen a room full of flipcharts in my handwriting, talked to my team and learned that this was our detailed plan of action.

I never shook the moniker with Devon. He sent me articles about the evils of micromanagement and bought it up several times in my review. I was labeled.

What he missed was that the team generated this plan. We had brainstormed our project approach together and I had captured the action items on flipcharts for all to see. It’s something I do at least once a week to this day.

Devon was right about one thing though, and it’s the one thing I think everyone should micromanage: Clarity.

In fact it is one of the most important lessons I have learned in business.

Clarity Is The Secret To Execution

We all know the scenario: we meet for an hour then everyone leaves, and we all have slightly different versions of what we agreed to do. There’s no clarity and, inevitably, you don’t get results. And you just can’t risk that in business.

I use those sticky flipcharts and put them on the wall where everyone sees it – you’ve got your own approach, that’s great.

Just make sure it’s clear, it’s visible and it answers the most important questions: What, Who, When? Spend at least 10 minutes of a 1-hour meeting on clarity and ask every person, individually, to confirm their action items before they leave.

Then start the next meeting by reviewing the flipchart from your previous get-together.

While you are micromanaging clarity it seems so obvious; unnecessary even.

But you already know it’s not obvious. Otherwise every team would get results, every time.

Next time I’m accused of micromanaging I’ll hope it’s because I am managing clarity. And then I’ll take it as the biggest compliment.

Thanks for reading,

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One Response to Micromanage Clarity

  1. Joe Craney says:

    Spot on Tim!

    Reminds me of the story of the founder of Spanx. The day before she applied for a patent she realized that the thick drawl of one of the suppliers lead her to list an ingredient as lacquer when the actual ingredient was lycra.

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