Clarity - Part 2

If you didn't read Andy's comments on my post yesterday about vagueness, you should read them. Today I'm going to try to provide clarity on my post about clarity.

Andy's absolutely right. You can't have cut and dry clarity about everything, and there is a tendency for some of us to put square pegs in round holes just for the sake of having everything in a nice, neat package. Life does not work that way. We live and lead in shades of gray.

What you do need to have (and Andy demonstrates it perfectly - he's a good leader) is clarity about the most important things as well asclarity about the things for which there won't (or can't) be clarity. Especially early in the organization's life cycle.

The trick is in not allowing the vagueness to persist. As the organization matures, the wise leader will seek to bring more and more clarity and definition wherever possible. Organizations have to fight the tendency to devolve into the vague cliche that comes when people have established assumptions about what the organization does and where they fit. When that vagueness persists, the status quo exists.

Some clarity and specificity is impossible at the beginning of an organization, but the leader has to stay on his guard to make sure that doesn't continue to be the case. Even when it means bringing clarity to the things that can not and will not be clarified. In those cases, the leader clarifies as far as he or she can go, and stops.

To use a lame example: I lead our worship leader at McKinney, and want to continue to bring clarity to his role so that he can succeed. But a degree of specificity with him would actually be counter-productive. If I said "your role is to provide our congregation with God-honoring, Christ-exalting worship music using two keyboards, drums, three guitars, four vocalists, a flute, and a violin," that would distract us from what we're really trying to do. So, in the interest of providing clarity about what we're really trying to accomplish, I give him enough clarity that any reasonable interpretation of my instructions will be acceptable to me: He is responsible for providing our congregation with God-honoring, Christ-exalting worship music that is sensitive to the culture we lead.

He has plenty of clarity, plenty of specificity, and also plenty of flexibility to operate inside of the clarity I have given him.