Think Differently. Be Clear.

For teams to execute strategy brilliantly, a leader must be clear. Clear about the vision (the direction). Clear about the strategy (the way to move closer toward the vision) in a way that each person can understand the role they play to brilliantly execute that strategy. Clear about the purpose (why the company exists) and how the strategy aligns with this purpose.

One leader who inspired others, and connected to them with his communication in an actionable way, was Steve Jobs former CEO of Apple.

Steve Jobs Think different 1997

What stands out in this video, and what Jobs is well known for, is how clearly he communicates and how he emphasizes the importance of clear communication. This is what Clarity, which I simply define as Getting Clear & Being Clear, is about. Jobs is “Being clear” in his communication with his internal team, he is helping them “Get clear” about the vision, purpose and strategy (in this case for marketing), and he is also modeling how they might “Be clear” in their communication to the market.

Do you think that Getting Clear & Being Clear will support better decision-making? That is, decisions that are nimble (keep the company moving forward) and offer the clear direction that helps ensure brilliant execution of that decision? Exactly, yes!

Creating a “great” strategy is similar to making a “great” decision. Can you think of any decision that over time you look back on and say, “That was a great decision!” without actions being taken after the decision that made it “great?” A strategy may be great, but if not executed well – if the results are not as desired – then you are back to the start (or worse).

Results matter. As a leader you must communicate in a way that focuses the heads and hearts of people on their best next steps they can take to execute strategy and move, together, toward a shared vision.

Sometimes it is you and your leadership team who lack Clarity. You can’t always be clear, but you can adjust how you communicate with those who need to execute. And you can empower them to help everyone including you become more clear over time.

Apple lost Clarity between 1985 and 1996 and was no longer executing in alignment with the company’s “To keep things simple” brand promise. Complexity crept in. Products proliferated. Quality slipped.

When Jobs returned in December 1996 Apple was in a death spiral. Sales and market share were falling precipitously. Expenses were ballooning out of control. Departments battled one another. Some of the former CEO’s top managers were in denial; many of the most talented were leaving. The outcomes of the lack of Clarity were showing up as early as 1991 with a decline in profitability.

Upon Jobs’ return to Apple, he immediately focused himself and prepared to orchestrate a Pivot: from a proliferation of products that revealed the impact of a lack of focus on design or quality, to a focus on fewer products built with great design and quality in mind. His message to the team, “You are bright people. You shouldn’t be wasting your time on crappy products.” Perhaps you would choose different words. My point is that the company – and any successful company – places a high priority on Clarity. Getting clear and being clear.

Are You Ready for Performance Breakthroughs? Track these 6 Key Indicators

Aligned Momentum Key Indicators
Measure Readiness for Extraordinary Momentum and Performance Breakthroughs

Executing a plan requires alignment. Executing on time requires momentum. Executing brilliantly, including shifting quickly when the facts change while staying on track with strategic objectives, requires Aligned Momentum.

Aligned Momentum Key Indicators help you track progress in your Pivot from an incremental, traditional and/or rigid business culture to a culture with Aligned Momentum. Aligned Momentum leads to brilliant execution of strategy.

Aligned Momentum Key Indicators

To support brilliant execution of strategy

  • 1) Clarity: Getting clear, being clear.
  • 2) Mastery Mindset: Open, growing mind.
  • 3) Nimble Decision-making: Best next step.

To prepare you for a better future

  • 4) Strategic Thinking: Play the movie.
  • 5) Talent Adaptability: Roles fit strategy.
  • 6) Coaching: Manager as coach.

Continue reading “Are You Ready for Performance Breakthroughs? Track these 6 Key Indicators”

Meet Lori Michele Leavitt

Lori Michele Leavitt The Pivot Catalyst
LML – The Pivot Catalyst

Lori Michele Leavitt infuses nimble practices into grown up companies, and helps fast growth start ups grow into the larger business with a culture they thrive in.  This translates into work environments that are collaborative, innovative, engaged, and value-focused.

Lori brings her passion, and action-oriented methods to life through speaking, consulting, coaching and technology.  She specializes in performance and risk management, and has worked with hundreds of leaders and their organizations.

The time is now for more nimble practices. People are easily distracted, and many are overwhelmed. Leaders are not getting the information they need to make nimble decisions. So often people are not clear how they can add value, or if they even have a voice.  What will it take for every person to know where they fit, who cares and what’s in it for them?  It’s so possible!

Lori will teach you to orchestrate a Pivot from Performance Management to Performance Momentum.  Through this Collaborative-Action blog she provides ideas that may provide the spark or nudge you need, or need to share.

Collaboration is about taking action.

Lori’s book, The Pivot: Orchestrating Extraordinary Momentum offers a deeper dive into building and leading a culture with both alignment and momentum in place (aka, “Aligned Momentum”).

View Lori Michele Leavitt's LinkedIn profileView Lori Michele Leavitt’s profile

follow via Twitter: @LoriLeavitEvans 

Take Your Best Next Steps

Best Next Steps
Best Next Steps for Extraordinary Momentum

This first post in the Extraordinary Momentum Series offers 5 key ideas to help you get clear about best next steps, and how you can help others get clear about their best next steps.

When you are nimble, you are aware and open. You rarely get blocked or stuck. If you do – if someone, something, or even your own mindset or limiting beliefs – get in your way, you have what it takes to move around, over, under, through.

Empower others to initiate change. Leaders orchestrate.

Employee Engagement-41pct Disengaged

Those of you who know me or are getting to know me… understand that I am all about business vibrancy. In my terms, that translates to a nimble organization, continuously building its business value, and a great place to work. An organization with these traits has what I call “Aligned Momentum,” which I show in the visual above this post and write about in my book (you can find an excerpt here).

For over 20 years the average results from employee engagement surveys have shown a rate of disengagement at over 30%. Aon’s recent 2017 Trends in Global Employee Engagement reports that 41% of employees are disengaged and feel undervalued.

What this reflects, at least in part, is a lack of empowering employees to initiate change – a critical step in a Pivot toward Aligned Momentum.

Continue reading “Empower others to initiate change. Leaders orchestrate.”

Any business can be nimble. It starts with true leadership.


We often hear about pivots and pivoting in the context of quick shifts by an individual or in the early days of a startup.

A quick “turn on a dime” pivot does not result in lasting change for a business beyond a handful of employees. Perhaps the mental model that a pivot must be quick has stopped you from considering it for your business. Consider The Pivot.

The Pivot leverages one of the most effective means for long-term change: collaboration. It inspires action in terms of best next steps.
Continue reading “Any business can be nimble. It starts with true leadership.”