Newsletter Header
July 2011
Ann Latham
Uncommonly Clear Products by Ann Latham
Clear Thoughts by Ann Latham
Clear Thoughts - Pragmatic Gems of Better Business Thinking
Meeting Mastery by Ann Latham
Meeting Mastery - How to Slash Meeting Times in Half and Get Better Results
More Clarity

Published Articles

Previous Newsletters

75+ Helpful Articles

Ann's Blog

Questions? Comments?

Stay In Touch
Join Our Mailing List

Find us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

View our profile on LinkedIn

Welcome to the Clear Thoughts™ newsletter. I hope you find it uncommonly clear and helpful! 

If you like what you see here, visit our website, which is loaded with value - over 75 helpful articles, audio seminars and books, free tools and tips, videos, and more.
Today's Clear Thoughts
10 Signs of Insufficient Strategic Clarity
Take the Clarity Quiz!
Clear the Decks for Greater Productivity
Published Clarity - New York Times
New Testimonials of Clear Value
Clearly Speaking
Ann's Parting Thoughts - Comfort Zones
10 Signs of Insufficient Strategic Clarity

Strategic clarity is essential if an organization is to use resources wisely and get great results. And the relevant decisions are made by everyone from the CEO to each individual contributor. Below are ten indicators of insufficient strategic clarity. How many of these affect you or the people around you?
  1. Priorities and goals seem to jump around at a moments notice
  2. Many can not confidently enumerate their top few priorities, let alone those of the organization
  3. People are feeling stressed by tasks that languish and efforts that don't align with official goals
  4. The tail often wags the dog - new ideas and events derail plans
  5. Cynicism and resignation are more common than enthusiasm for the future
  6. New initiatives or projects are often launched before current projects are completed
  7. There are simply too many priorities, which means there are no priorities
  8. The organization often invests significant time and money in projects that produce little in the way of tangible results
  9. Urgency wins over importance
  10. Many resort to requesting "marching orders" because there is no framework that allows them to use their own judgment
If you see the signs above, either your strategic direction is too fuzzy, fleeting, unstable, or broad, or your organization has not heard, translated, and digested it sufficiently to obtain useful guidance from it. In either case, the organization is not prepared to make wise investment decisions involving time, money, and other resources. The benefits of strategic clarity range from greater profits to happier employees. Create clarity today for greater results.

Need some help creating strategic clarity? Call today: 800-527-0087. Let's talk!


Take the Clarity Quiz - Dealing with Overload

Which of the following is an ineffective way to deal with work overload?
  1. Accomplish more
  2. Delegate or outsource
  3. Cut corners
  4. Postpone
  5. Abandon
  6. Choose none of the above

When you have made your selection, click here for the best answer. If you read last month's newsletter, you're ahead of the game. Click now to read more advice for handling overload.


Need help managing excessive workloads? Call now: 800-527-0087.

Clear the Decks for Greater Productivity                  

'Focus and finish' is one of the top secrets to peak productivity. Today's productivity tip addresses one of its enemies - the siren song of other projects.

Are there stacks of papers on your floor, desk, or other surface? Books and magazines piled nearby? Little lists demanding attention?

If so, each one is singing its siren song while you are trying to focus.

Out of the corner of your eye you see the stack of papers due this afternoon. You stop to add a note.

Before you zero in again, you notice another stack - prep for a very important customer meeting. Your thoughts wonder to those concerns. Should you stop what you are doing and work on that instead?

Finally focused and cruising once again, you notice your To Do list and the clock. Oh dear! Time is flying. What should you do now?

Or perhaps you never achieve focus because the mess leaves you feeling overwhelmed and frazzled. Rather than "doing," you find yourself planning and organizing.

What can you do?

Clear the decks for better focus! Put the project stacks in project folders and client stacks in client folders and get them out of sight in a filing cabinet. A simple list of client and project work-in-progress will prevent you from forgetting about them altogether. Shelve the partially read books on the partially read bookshelf. Put the To Do lists beyond view for reference only once a task is completed.

Seem impossible? There is another alternative: leave your office. Find an empty conference room (preferably without a phone, maybe even without Internet) and do not get out of the chair until you are done with the task at hand.

Eliminate the siren songs of the work stacked all around you and you will be better able to focus and feel less stressed to boot.

This is the eighth in our series of Uncommon Productivity Boosters that help you take control of your time, feel great about each week, and watch those weeks add up to impressive results. Enjoy the previous tips on our website:
'Clarity On Call' may be just what you need to implement these ideas and more! Call today for more information: 800-527-0087.

Published Clarity

Read my comments in the The New York Times on excessive workloads.

"There is No 'C' in SWOT" by Ann was published in The CEO Refresher in June.


New Testimonials of Clear Value

"I hired Ann because I'd heard she was results-oriented and I would hire her again because she definitely is! We got terrific outcomes, wasted no time (finished in 2/3 the expected time), and everyone walked away feeling good about both the process and the results. I was especially delighted to watch Board participation and interest increase along the way, which is not what usually happens. They were really engaged and are now totally committed to our direction and the reasons for our decisions. I just gave a glowing recommendation of Ann to another agency and won't hesitate to do so again. Ann is really different from the typical consultant."

Steve McCafferty, Executive Director, The Children's Study Home

"Thank you again, Ann, for your excellent leadership. You organized our retreat so that participation by everyone was possible and all voices could be heard.  We were able to identify areas in board organization that needed to be addressed and together developed solutions with the goal of becoming a more effective board. I saw results at our first board meeting after the retreat!"

Judith L. Strzempko, Smith College Representative on the Northampton BID Board of Directors 


Clearly Speaking

Uncommon Sanity - Dissolving Stress with Clarity - video now posted on my website.

Transforming Ideas Into Reality, September 13th, UMass Family Business Center

SOAR Through Decisions with Clarity, October 13th, for the Purchasing Management Association Western New England

Might Your Organization Benefit from an Uncommonly Clear Keynote or Workshop?


Parting Thoughts - Comfort Zones

You must leave your comfort zone to create a larger comfort zone.  

Best regards,

signature no background
Ann Latham

* Creating the Clarity that Speeds and Improves Results *

2011 Ann Latham. All rights reserved.