Clarity Is King

I recently participated in a half-day meeting with the senior executive team of a multi-billion dollar international company.  During the meeting one of the executives presented a proposal for a project that had the potential to save the organizations between $40M and $70M per year.  The executive laid out his expected outcome for the presentation which included a go-no go decision to proceed with the project, recommendations on an alternative approach (if no-go), and approval for the human resources required to implement the project (if go).

I watched in amazement as this (11 person) senior team invested 45 minutes of their precious time listening to the presentation and providing valuable feedback.  Afterward I asked the presenting executive what marching orders he took away from the meeting.  He wasn’t exactly sure.  He believed that overall they bought the approach, but he wasn’t sure if they had reached a decision or if he had to come back to the team with a reworked approach.  Further he wasn’t at all clear on the resource commitment.  He was going to need to go back to them during the next meeting (next month) and clarify.

This team failed to follow guiding principle number three – Clarity Is King!  In order to achieve consistently great meetings we must take an active role in brining clarity to our conference rooms.  Look at the inefficiency and waste exemplified in the simple example presented above.  Think about the investment of eleven senior executives time.  Consider the opportunity cost of delaying this project by at least a month.  What other opportunity costs are at stake?  Please leave us a comment with your thoughts.