Part 1 of 2

Listen to Murray Fulton’s two-part series. He discusses how clarity, visibility and an ongoing conversation produce effective organisational leadership.

(5 mins 58 seconds)

Summary of the audio


It is critical to make your team aware of your business goals and have them made visible. How do you do this? Ask your people for their views on how you should make your business goals visible. It is likely they will already have resources, lists, graphs and all manner of summaries already produced that you probably are not even aware of.  If they haven’t, once you have explained the need for visibility to them they will take it on board and want to produce information. Together with your team, you will find ways to define, measure and achieve team and business goals. That will happen as long they have confidence that there is both effective leadership and quality management. Both buy-in from yourself and the opportunity to share that visibility amongst themselves and with their teams.

Measure what’s important

It is critical to measure what’s important but only what’s been made visible. Be careful about how many things you measure. No more than 2-3 items per team and no more than 5 measures across the business. Measuring too many things results in confusion and a loss of energy and drive.

“Manage what you measure”

This is an important maxim from the Quality movement. How can you possibly manage improvement unless you can define where you and your business are, where you want you and your team and your business to be and therefore how close you are to where you want to be.

Make the measurements visible

The measurements are the whole point of visibility. There is no point in hiding away the drivers of business improvement. Without visibility, people won’t be engaged and so the whole focus of the improvement will be lost because people won’t be able to get their heads around it. They need the right information, the five measures and each team needs to make them visible and make them their own, per team.

Clarity – How to eliminate goals clutter

Assemble the goals from each team

Work through, with your leadership team, which goals are most important. Synthesise it down to 5 KPIs. Imagine your business is an F15 jet (capable of twice the speed of sound, Mark 2) engaging with a similar jet that can also operate at Mark 2 – a Mark 4 closing speed. You must know where you are, where you are going, how fast you’re going, where you need to get to and most importantly, how to take evasive action when threats appear. Evasive action is critical. How can you do that in today’s business environment with more than 5 KPIs?

Relentlessly drive improvement for each KPI

Focus on this. Engage your l

eadership team and have them engage each of their teams. Set up through visibility an ongoing conversation around those KPIs. Consider and act on rewarding your people around those KPIs. Rewards often have very little to do with money. People like recognition. There are all different temperaments and personalities. Some people prefer a quiet word, others crave group recognition. Very few people want no recognition at all.


If you want your business to achieve its KPIs, be clear about them, drive them, make them visible and most importantly recognise your people when they achieve them and do this consistently.


Part 2 of 2

(4 mins, 55 seconds)

Ongoing conversation

Once you have visibility and clarity, the ongoing conversation is about the details of visibility and clarity. The three go together, visibility first, then clarity, then an ongoing conversation.  We’re now moving on to the ongoing conversation.

What it is and what it is not

People hate meetings, some say they never achieve anything. An ongoing conversation is not a meeting. Where a business has visibility and clarity, meetings ‘melt away’. What is an ongoing conversation? It’s getting together for a common purpose. It can be a 5-minute daily briefing, tool talk in a factory or a full-day leadership team session with larger businesses.

The whole focus is about agreed clarity and visibility of that clarity. All your people must understand and agree on the 5 KPIs. Then relentlessly drive towards achieving and exceeding those KPIs. And they are rewarded based on this in ways that motivate them. The ongoing conversation is a key component of your business culture. It’s living that ongoing conversation credence within your business. You will be surprised how many meetings ‘fall away’, simply implement an ongoing conversation as a key central component of the way you do business, centred on 5 agreed KPIs.

Breaking down silos to make progress

As people and teams are drawn together both by a common purpose (the 5 KPIs) and by a realisation that one KPI is dependent on the others (and all the others); they will realise that they are connected and interdependent. That is the critical component for progress in a business as that is when silos break down. People finally get clear in their mind that there is a connection between themselves, each of their teams and the business. Most importantly that that connection means that every person in the business and each team is interdependent.

Communication channels

Set up communication channels in your business to constantly test your clarity. What is important? What needs to be made clear by your people, your clients, your suppliers your partners and your prospects? Ask your clients what they think of your service, in a structured way. Find out what your teams think of your leaders. Ask your leaders what they think of you. These actions are around fostering an open culture and accountability for the 5 KPIs that have been agreed upon.  Do this and watch the performance of your business improve. That improved performance will become normal and normal will change at an increasing rate in a positive way. All of this means you will drive towards the achievement of KPIs in your business with a well-engaged team, a happy team that is recognised and you will have genuine momentum in your business.


You were listening to Murray Fulton | Partner | Director | Business Advisor