"I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”
- Mark Twain
I was at a non-fiction writing conference a few years ago. We had a writing exercise that required we describe the same scenario through a decreasing word count. As the word count shrunk, I just started using bigger words so that I could pack more information into the tinier space. When I read my most condensed statement with all the big words, the exasperated instructor said:
Just say the damn thing!!!
I seem to be recalling that statement from the instructor and the quote from Mark Twain all the time. We live in a world where it seems like most communication is happening about things that don’t truly matter and we’re using very few words wrapped in very little punctuation, syntax, or even proper spelling. (Evidence: most texting and twitter).
Because we seem to be drowning in the brief and unimportant, it makes it really difficult to say the things clearly that are truly important. We are helping a lot of people refine their message, their mission, and even the expectations of their employees. Simple, powerful, and direct language is an increasingly rare commodity.
The temptation, in a very noisy and superficial world, is to speak louder and more excessively. Ironically, the answer is the opposite. We need to simplify and be even more clear.
I think is interesting that when the Pharisees tried to trick Jesus by asking spiritual tongue twisters about the law, he instead responded with radical simplicity. He brushed aside their conundrum and simply said,
“Love God and love others as you love yourself.”
No conditions, no qualifications. No need to describe what it looks like, how it might apply in different situations, or if it was intended for only certain people. Basically, He just said the dang thing.
As the world gets more complicated and overwhelming, keeping your company messaging, your internal/external communications, and even employee expectations clear, is going to become even more essential.
Having a clear, specific, and powerful purpose statement has never been more important.
Being anchored is values that define and guide your work and team are more valuable than ever.
Having an inspiring vision that motivates and focus your team has never been more crucial to survival and future success.
Building a detailed strategic plan with accountability is no longer a luxury, but a necessity.
Is your purpose, values, and vision clear?
Do your employees really know what is expected of them, how they are supposed to achieve those results, and how they will be measured?
Is your messaging clear both internally and externally?
What is it costing you to not be clear on those things and how much more will it cost you as the world gets more noisy?