Derek Sidebottom

The Importance of Goal Clarity

TBOP2017 ⋅ 2:12 ⋅ Filmed May 11, 2017

Whether your business is five people or 50, there’s nothing more important than clarity. Retelling a hilarious fable, HR expert Derek Sidebottom reveals the trap that so many businesses and entrepreneurs fall into: a lack of explicit and detailed clarity to guide their employees. What’s clear to you likely isn’t clear to others. What’s just in your thoughts and hasn’t been carefully documented and shared isn’t going to be executed. To be sure your department or company doesn’t end up playing a game of “Bunchball” (and careening towards insolvency) you have to get clarity.


And then you get done to this interesting fable and the second resource of the day that I want everyone to remember. It's this book called, Scaling Up and you'll notice that people is actually the first step in that scaling up process. There's this fable in there written by Anonymous, we all remember it from grade school, right? We've all seen this before?

[00:17] “There was an important job to be done and everybody was sure that somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody's job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn't do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done."

[00:37] Seems simple and yet how many times do we hire lots and lots of people and we don't give goal clarity. We don't make it very clear what you're supposed to be working on. This is actually a real problem. And it just compounds as you add people because now the problem is, I'm going to throw more people at the problem. Right? Here's 20 more people at more cost and I just keep throwing more cost at the problem like, ‘Wait a minute! I'm still not getting what I want’...well, they still don't know what they're supposed to be doing. So the question is as an entrepreneur you very quickly go from, " I got capital. I got product. I got service. Who's doing what?! And if you don't spend time doing that, then you're going to run out of money pretty fast. The best companies spend a lot of time on this.

[01:24] My real point is don't plan Bunchball. Anyone ever watch soccer games with little kids running around playing soccer? It's fun. It's adorable. But it's not how companies are supposed to run. Right? That's not cool. I mean, if you ever step back and watch your company, you may sometimes feel that's what I watching. Oh my god, I'm watching Bunchball happen. Everyone just keeps diving on the problem of the day. And you think to yourself, ‘well, how did that happen?’ Well, the coach. Who's the coach? The coach didn't define the positions and how to play together.

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