Clarity, Context, and Copper

 In Goals, Leadership, Strategic Planning
By Tyler Head
Recently, I’ve started taking Copper, my dog, on runs with me around the area we live. We live in an area of Springfield, Missouri, where you sit on your front porch and wave at people who walk down the sidewalk. The mailman still goes door to door, and kids dart from house to house; some might call it a “walking neighborhood.” In its purest form, it is simply that. From kids to adults, many are out and about, strolling on sidewalks, riding bikes, back and forth from friends’ houses, playing in yards, so on and so forth. Of course, this is mainly dependent on the weather; very few people were out last weekend when temperatures hit the teens. However, this insight is not about a walking neighborhood in Springfield, Missouri, or my dog Copper. It’s about the power of clarity, the value of context, and what it can do for you and your organization.
Allow me to muse you for a minute or so…Three minutes and thirty-two seconds, to be exact—that’s the projected read time.
When running with Copper, clarity is knowing the starting point, direction, and ending point—what success looks like for that particular run. After that, it becomes more contextual, a deeper understanding of the environment I am running in, potential areas of trouble—loose dogs, dangerous intersections, fast streets, blind spots, etc. With these two vital components—clarity and context—I can plan a route that best suits the team—Copper and me. This critical moment of strategic planning minimizes our possibilities of crossing busy intersections, moving down congested sidewalks, construction areas, and most importantly, squirrels. I know we are far less likely to encounter these known obstacles when we intentionally develop a plan. I also know all too well that I can find myself in all kinds of sub-par situations without clarity on what winning looks like and context when developing a rough plan for my intended route.
I wonder how many of us lead our organizations down a relatively busy street, with many bikers, scampering squirrels, a busy intersection up ahead, and an unclear road map of where we are headed and how we plan to get there?
More often than not, we as CEOs and Organizational Leaders have a clear understanding of where we want to go and the potential obstacles ahead—the “clarity and context” piece. However, our people do not, and that makes for confusion.
Don’t get me wrong; I have taken Copper on runs where I slapped his harness on, stepped off my front porch, and shot in a random direction. We even made it home safe, but my goodness! It was frustrating, trying of my patience, inefficient, more work than necessary, and stole the main objective of that particular run. The problem was not the busyness of the sidewalks, the scampering squirrels, the chaotic intersections, or even the cyclist whizzing past me. The problem was my lack of clarity on my start/finish, the intended goal, and my haphazard lack of route planning to get ‘there’ during the run.
Over the past couple of months, as I run more and more, I’ve developed a mental checklist of questions that I generally work through 24-48 hours before heading out on the run.
They are as follows:
  • What will the weather be like?
    • Gloves, thermal leggings, toboggan, long or short sleeves, rain jacket, etc.
  • What time will I be running?
    • Headlamp, reflective gear, rush hour, etc.
  • What is my targeted focus? (At times, it may be two-fold.)
    • Mileage, distance, threshold, Heartrate, hills, trail, pavement, etc.
It’s wild how those three simple questions create clarity, allow for the development of a rough route from start to finish and significantly increase my chances of success and effectiveness for each running session.
We at DRYVE Leadership Group operate our strategic planning that way. The DRYVE System focuses on contextually understanding your organization, working hard to get relevant parties to the table, and provoking more people in your organizations about what clarity—winning—looks like from their perspective.
If your organization is growing and full of people you care about, and you’d like to learn more about creating clarity with your people that they can see, we’d love to facilitate that.
Don’t take it from us! Click here for testimonials.
Book a Free Strategy Session, and we can talk more about how we approach Strategic Planning.  
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