Shared Clarity is the Source of Power for Successful Teamwork

businesswoman in front of computer with two businessmenNew businesses should started with a business plan — the same goes for teamwork: articulating the common outcome so every team member is working toward the same goal is crucial before the work starts. To move forward together, you need to establish shared clarity.

Lack of shared clarity about direction is often the cause of the team getting stuck. When a group lacks clarity about the task at hand, it’s not just easy but natural for people to get frustrated and lose interest in what they are doing.

What does shared group clarity look like? Each member should be able to explain simply and clearly what the whole team is accountable for and what the collective purpose is, similar to the elevator pitch one should have prepared when pitching a business idea to someone. When done successfully, every team member should be able to see their own sense of the shared clarity reflected when listening to each other.

How Do You Gain Shared Clarity to Optimize Teamwork?

Shared clarity can be gained by discussing and aligning the teams direction. Instead of using ambiguous goals like: “Make money!”, be more clear and detailed about the direction, as in: “By the end of the year, our goal is to build two additional stores.”

Shared Clarity for Temporary and Ongoing Teams

When a group, such as a project team, is temporary, it’s important to align members around the collective task they are to perform.

When a group, such a department, is ongoing, it’s important to align members around the ongoing purpose of the group.

Either way, the tasks and purposes must be clear and shared by everyone in the team.

Personal Challenge to Gain Clarity:

Answer this question: What’s the purpose of this teamwork relationship? Describe it fully and then ask your partner or partners to answer the same question.

Team Challenge to Gain Clarity:

Ask the team members: If we were already finished and successful, what would our outcome look like? Have every member describe this fully in writing.

For both challenges: Talk about what you each wrote down until you can all articulate a common and clear description of your purpose and the desired outcome.

By taking these important, preliminary steps to achieve clarity about the common goal before the start of the teamwork, you can maximize the efforts of the individual team members and the whole team toward the most powerful and successful outcome.

More about maximizing teamwork, his Leadership Gift Program for Leaders, and Christopher Avery’s coaching and speaking engagements can be found on

Posted in Collaboration, Teamwork on 08/18/2010 02:44 pm
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