4 more Models of Leadership Clarity – Being Clear, for Others.

4 more leaders to model when seeking to be clear so that others can brilliantly execute strategy.

Last week I posted 4 Models of Leadership Clarity. All examples were of male leaders. Although I pulled those 4 based on my research of major companies that have orchestrated change, with Clarity being a big part of that, I feel the need to add more. This post includes all female leaders.

I shared last week that although your strategy may be a smart one, no one is going to see it that way if it is not executed brilliantly. What’s often missed when moving from strategy to action is that brilliant execution can’t happen if people aren’t clear about what is needed most from them.

For people to receive your message clearly, so clearly that they understand what you are saying and how they fit, they first must have their minds and hearts open to receive your message. The female leaders I am sharing with you today, all maintain their own authentic style and they authentically care about you and others. There’s no gimmick in their ability to build others up. What I think you’ll also see and hear is that they remain authentic to themselves and to the plan for the business without taking too personally how the other person reacts. The male leaders in last week’s post do the same.

Why I call this out is that women face more stereotypes in peoples mind about how to present themselves and behave; it can be more of a challenge to be heard in the way the communication was intended to be heard. It still seems harder for many people (any gender) to accept bold moves from a woman leader and accept without harsher judgment of a women in the lead that there will be mistakes and setbacks on the journey.

The first model is Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors (GM). In this interview with CNBC, Barra shows confidence and clarity about GM’s strategy. She holds this confidence, with passion and emotional intelligence, throughout as a red-lined stock ticker is presented, followed by a chart showing the huge leap required to capture market share (author note: this market share will most likely come from an expansion of U.S demand for EV by those who currently buy gasoline-powered vehicles, and not from Tesla customers switching). I am sharing from minute 2:45 to the end (min 4:50).

The second model is Safra Catz, CEO of Oracle. She was co-CEO when she was interviewed for the video I’m sharing. Catz is a billionaire banker in addition to being a tech CEO. What you’ll experience by watching her is simply a real human who is confident in her abilities, and in the future, while being humble about herself. Being a model of confidence and humility helps create safety (empowerment, trust, respect, inclusion, etc.) throughout the workplace. And this in turn sets the stage for communication to clearly land. I am sharing minutes 13:58 -17:19.

The third model is JuE Wong, CEO of Olaplex (the interviewer is pictured in the video thumbnail; Wong will show when you hit “play”). English is not Wong’s first language, yet she has an ability to not only be clear with her words, but clear in a way that is inspiring. A related point, not shown in the video, is that Wong truly lives the brand and cares about all Olaplex stakeholders. It’s amazing to me how little known she is outside of her industry. Wong was brought in as the Olaplex CEO early in January 2020. Since then, Olaplex net sales have increased over 81%. In September 2021 Olaplex experienced a wildly successful Initial Public Offering (IPO), starting at a valuation of $1.8 billion and rising up to $16 billion, and sitting in early April 2022 at about $10 billion. I’m sharing minutes 0:46-5:48.

The fourth model is Corie Barry, CEO of Best Buy. When a leader’s purpose for being in a role and their clear purpose and vision for the company are communicated authentically, and often, clarity grows. Barry has held the CEO role for Best Buy since June 2019. In January 2020 she faced a board-directed probe into allegations of having an inappropriate relationship with another executive earlier in her career. Certainly, allegations of misconduct should be addressed internally. A leader who shows respect for those scrutinizing her, can lead through it, and have the emotional resilience to put the bigger purpose for the organization out in front, models the way of clarity. This video interview was recorded well after the probe was over, and near the end of the pandemic’s turbulence. I’m sharing minutes 0:47-1:28.

It was such a pleasure to take the time to research and share these models with you. There are so many more! If you like posts like this, let me know.

4 Models of Leadership Clarity. Being Clear, for Others.

4 leaders to model when seeking to be clear so that others can brilliantly execute strategy.

With this post I aim to help you be clear for others, with a bit on how to communicate and more about how to be so that your communication has the best chance of landing with another person. I’ll provide insight followed by a video clip of a leader who models this way.

Clarity involves getting clear for yourself and being clear in your communication with others, so that they might also gain clarity.

As leaders, we want to be clear. Breakthrough performance becomes possible with alignment and momentum. Alignment and momentum both hinge on clarity. Ineffective communication results in a disconnection between strategy and execution.

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3 ways to be more inspiring

We can all get better as leaders in our ability to inspire.

Inspiration followed by action, is powerful. When combined with a shared vision, objective, or goal, the resulting performance can be magical. Why, then, aren’t we always inspiring?

For most leaders, leading and creating a workplace culture where people are motivated to do what is needed isn’t always easy, even though everyone knows what to do.

Weaving a lean improvement culture, where known ways of doing things are improved little by little over time, can be harder.

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Orchestrate Life and Leadership

As a leader, do you practice leadership?

I use the phrases get clear for you, set the stage, be clear for others, and create a rhythm to describe how leaders continuously orchestrating change for their organizations. Because there will always be change required and it is you, the leader, who ensures that an ability and willingness to always be moving smartly forward is natural in your organization; it’s simply what everyone knows is expected there, and they are committed to do their part.

Choose whichever words or phrases remind you of your practice, and continue support your ability perform and to orchestrate change. Know that holding the position of leader does not mean you are practicing leadership. Consider what your current leadership practice is, and what about your business, role, workplace or life that is not yet aligned with what you really want. Now consider what can be with an effective leadership practice in place.

Your performance requires a personal practice

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Steve Jobs – A role model of Clarity

The video below is from 1997, when Jobs presents the thinking behind Apples famous “Think Different” campaign. You’ll hear about getting clear and being clear within the first 5 minutes of this video.

He first shares how he and the senior leadership team got clear about which direction to head. They thought differently.

He then shares how communicating the strategy clearly (being clear) to engineers, allowed them to get clear for themselves; they understood and committed to the strategy.

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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

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Agile, Lean, and The Pivot

Nimble, Agile, Lean, The Pivot, Aligned Momemtum
Nimble: Agile Lean Pivot

As a leader, you are positioned to orchestrate change. You may have teams already working together in a nimble way, and a way in which change comes naturally. Bridge these styles (and often unique languages) together, and you will find that leading – and orchestrating change – throughout the organization comes more naturally.

  • Familiar with Lean? You will recognize the phrase “working together.”
  • Or with Agile? You will recognize “collaboration.”
  • Top leadership? You will recognize those phrases and “strategic alignment.”

    (When there is alignment and engagement and empowerment, you’ve reached a state of Aligned Momentum)

  • It is only in the state of Aligned Momentum that performance breakthroughs are possible.

    It’s up to you, the leader, to ensure that all players come together to make one enchanting sound. Make communication and clarity a top priority.

    A meeting type that promotes active listening (Open Space)

    Open Space and Creating a Safe Place in the Workplace
    Meeting method – Open Space. Who shows up is the right “who.”

    Catalyzing momentum is a transformational process; it is not a one-time motivational or informational presentation. The ongoing process of well-orchestrated change, and Pivoting in a way that can be transformational, is still new to many organizations. Often, change is hindered because people do not feel safe to speak out or initiate change.

    I’m always looking for next steps and methods that help to “open-the-door” to closer alignment and greater momentum for my business clients and readers. Here’s one…

    One method is called Open Space. It is well-described here by Achim Nowak, bestselling author and founder of Influens and Brilliant Best.
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    Leaders, here are 3 ways to grow, and inspire others to keep growing

    Aligned Momentum - Mastery Mindsets
    Mastery Mindsets are critical to business vibrancy

    When I wrote the book The Pivot: Orchestrating Extraordinary Business Momentum, I was somewhat surprised when after boiling down all the possible indicators of what makes a leader successful in leading a vibrant business, and achieving Aligned Momentum, there were just six (listed at the end of this article).

    Mastery Mindsets is the second key indicator in the first group of three, which indicate a readiness for brilliant execution of strategy. Your business cannot be vibrant, and you and all those in your organization cannot be nimble, without the openness, curiosity, courage, integrity and grit to continue to grow. Continued growth is the path of mastery.

    You may be wondering how “vibrant business” is defined. I define it as:

    A vibrant business commands the highest valuation, stays ahead of the competition, and is a great place to work.
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