Importance of Clarity

There is too much noise around our world today—it is time to be clear.

By Ron Slee

What a year we have already had so far. The world around us is changing in front of our eyes. It is quite confusing at times and people are feeling stressed.

Now more than ever we need to provide leadership to our businesses and employees. We need to be clear about what it is we are doing and the message we are delivering. Now more than ever it is critical we have “clarity of purpose.”

What is the big deal with a clarity of purpose? We all know what we are here for and what to do in our businesses, don’t we? Of course. But in many cases, we continue to operate in the world of yesterday—the world we were used to and not the world as it exists today.

That the world is different today can’t be in doubt. This is not another cycle. This is a seriously radical disruption of the status quo. This is potentially one of those once-in-a-lifetime adjustments in everything we have become used to in our lives.

Accepting the Mission

So why is it important we have clarity in our purpose? It is really simple. Most employees are anxious in their lives and we can provide calm in the midst of a troubling world for them. We can be positive, optimistic, and focused in how we act and what we say and do.

With clarity of purpose comes acceptance of our mission and the job at hand. From understanding comes acceptance of what can be done and what needs to be done. From understanding and acceptance, we can get everyone in our teams to have commitment.

Understanding, acceptance, commitment—with these we can attract and retain better talent and sell more. We can build and sustain a stronger presence in our markets. We can build and sustain unbeatable and cohesive groups and teams. In other words, we can develop and maintain a powerful business that will survive and thrive in all markets for the good of our suppliers, our employees, and our owners.

Why is clarity of purpose so important today? In every circle of life your employees engage in, there is some disruption. They need to have something positive in their lives—and that can be their job.

They are on stage for you all the hours of the day when they are not working in the business. How they feel about work and how they feel about what is going on in the world will be reflected in their thoughts and communications in their circles.

Sure there are uncertainties, but your employees can understand the uncertainties—just not necessarily the outcomes. You have to preserve your core business, its beliefs and purposes and goals, so there will be something there at the other end for your employees facing the challenges going on in the world today.

Your employees are smart people. They know. So you have to provide a clear message to them. It should be: We can handle this together. We can become more successful than ever before if only we adapt to this new world. It isn’t going to be easy, but we can get it done.

What We Do

Now we have to be careful. This is not the mission statement or the vision statement. This is something much more basic—it is what we do.

What could be more simple than that? Well, this is where it gets complicated. This is where the commitment I talked about earlier comes into play.

This is finding every part every day before going home. This is closing and invoicing all the work we complete today before going home. This is completing those quotations or sales orders before going home. This is completing the work in the field and in the shop before going home.

And yes, it is much more. It is managing assets better to maximize return on capital employed. It is embracing innovation in processes and methods to improve productivity. It is providing proper salaries and wages for everyone. It is all about the details.

At the end of the day we are here for our customers. That gives us a grounding most people don’t have in their lives.

We are quite fortunate. This presents us an opportunity to represent to our customers a purpose and clarity in what we do in our careers. Let’s be everything they expect from us and a business they feel good about. Let’s be consistent in our service to them. Let’s be the best we can be and better than ever before.

There is an old expression I like to use: “Life is pretty simple . . . it’s people that mess it up.”

It seems this has been happening more this year than most years. There are a lot of details and there is a lot we can mess up. But if we deliver a clear and consistent message, we will prevail. That is clarity of purpose.

Ron Slee is the founder of R.J. Slee & Associates in Rancho Mirage, California, a consulting firm that specializes in dealership operations. He also operates Quest, Learning Centers, which provides training services specializing in product support, and Insight (M&R) Institute, which operates “Dealer Twenty” Groups. He can be reached at

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