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December 2010
Ann Latham
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Ann quoted in Monster .com - "Leverage the Downturn and Hire the Best Talent Available"

NFIB quotes Ann in
"When a Good Employee Falters"

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Welcome to the Clear Thoughts™ newsletter from Uncommon Clarity.  If you like what you see here, visit our website, which is loaded with value - over 70 helpful articles, audio seminars and books, free tools and tips, videos, and more.

Today's Clear Thoughts
People Thoughts - The Bridge of Sighs
People Thoughts - The Power of Explicit Roles
Productivity Thoughts - Still Slip-Sliding Away?
Leadership Thoughts - Why SMART Goals Aren't Smart and Other New Articles
Parting Thoughts - Finding More Time
The Bridge of Sighs

I always arrive early. I was born early and have just always been that way. Thus, I was reading in a corporate lobby waiting for the clock to catch up recently when my concentration was penetrated by a string of heavy sighs. It was obvious when the receptionist finally bundled up the task and set it aside because the sighs ceased completely.

Why so many sighs?

Sighs are indicative of one or more of the following:
  • Ill-defined or seemingly stupid objectives
  • A poor or poorly-defined method
  • Bad or incomplete input
  • A poor match between the task and the capabilities and inclinations of the individual
Sighs represent frustration and energy going down the drain, both of which guarantee low productivity and possibly poor results. Quieter than steam screaming from a tea kettle, they nonetheless provide a similar warning.

If you hear others sighing excessively or catch yourself doing it, stop and pay attention. Can you clarify, correct, eliminate, or reassign? Listen for sighs and seize the opportunity to recapture the energy and productivity.

Need help clarifying objectives, streamlining processes, defining interfaces, or matching employees to assignments? We can help. Contact us at today.

People Thoughts - The Power of Explicit Roles

I remember a night from my childhood when a 'whoosh' past my ear jolted me from sleep. Turning on the light, I saw a bat doing frantic laps around the ceiling. I crawled from the room, keeping the pillow between me and the zooming terror. I was outraged when my father's response was, "Keep the door closed so he doesn't get in here." Not OK! A father's role is to protect his children! My outrage was sufficient; he came to my rescue, albeit slowly.

If fathers need an occasional reminder about their role, employees certainly aren't immune! Nonetheless, it is easy to assume employees know what is expected of them. How could they not? It's their job! And it is pretty much the same every day, right?

Truth be told, we all need reminders. Furthermore, you might be surprised by the power of making roles explicit!

Contrast these two approaches:
  1. "Good luck! I hope you can seal the deal." vs.
  2. "If the negotiation doesn't go as we've planned, I need you to get creative and make it happen. You know our objectives and constraints; I am sure you will be able to find a middle ground."
Which do you think would lead to better results?

Or try these:
  1. "What do you think about the plan?" vs.
  2. "I am counting on you to identify the gaps (or risks, opportunities, alternatives, etc.) that others may have missed." 
Which might elicit "It looks pretty good" and which will sharpen the posture, the ears, and the mind?

When you make desired outcomes explicit and individual responsibility crystal clear, you get better results. It doesn't matter if you are sitting in a regular Monday morning meeting or about to tackle a major initiative. Toss in a vote of confidence on top of the clarity and you will ratchet up performance significantly.


Not sure your employees are ready to step up to the plate? Then it's time for some changes. Call 800-527-0087.

Are Your Weeks Slip-Sliding Away?

Want to take control of your time, feel great about each week, and watch those weeks add up to impressive results? The key to each successful week is two-fold:
  1. Identify what would constitute a successful week
  2. Make it happen
Since our last newsletter, two more Tips for Peak Productivity have been published:
Why SMART Goals Aren't Smart and Other Articles

Leaders Don't Wait and Seven Other Traits

We all have so much to do that getting beyond simply surviving the daily rush can seem impossible. Thus, organizations without strong leaders surrender to the daily struggles and believe that tomorrow or next quarter or next year will be a better time to start making changes. Unfortunately, tomorrow is always tomorrow. That's why leaders insist on starting today. Leaders don't wait.

Furthermore, ... read the full article, "Leaders Don't Wait and Seven Other Traits."

Not sure how to create a shared vision, raise the bar, or become a learning organization? We can help. Let's talk. Call us toll free at 800-527-0087.


Why SMART Goals Aren't So Smart

SMART goals - Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely - are all the rage, but are they smart?

A smart goal is one that will be achieved. And if you want your goals to be achieved, these five SMART factors have several fatal flaws.

Bring SANITY to the process and see more goals achieved! ... read the full article, "Why SMART Goals Aren't So Smart," and learn how to add SANITY!

Need some help establishing goals and engaging employees? Wondering whether you've got the right people in the right positions? Hoping to ratchet up the commitment and energy? What are you waiting for? Call us today for a free consultation! 800-527-0087.

Parting Thoughts - Finding More Time

A shared vision of a compelling future state generates excitement, commitment, and time you didn't think you had.

Wishing you a compelling outlook for 2011!

Best regards,

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Ann Latham

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