6 Ways Confusion Is Costing Your Company

June 17, 2014

How do you feel about confusion? If you’re at all like me, you hate it. It’s disorienting, frustrating and down right troubling. I’m a bottom line guy, I like to get to the point and understand how my efforts are directly contributing to the benefit and success of whatever I’m involved in. Unfortunately we’re wasting a lot of our time at work confused. Lost leaders and a clarity crisis are driving up the cost of confusion for organizations everywhere.

Have you ever spent a bunch of hours on a project only to realize it was never going to see the light of day? Sometimes we can justify this in the name of R&D, but more often than not it’s just wasted energy, time, effort, brain power and ultimately dollars that could have been more effectively put to use elsewhere. This and other confusion riddled events are costing human and financial capital every single day.

6 Ways Confusion Is Costing Your Company 

1. The elephants in the room are being ignored. Everyone knows the problem but no one is willing to talk about it. It could be an incompetent leader or a highly critical team member, an unwise strategy or unrealistic budget. The elephant lingers and confusion rises as no one steps up to deal with it. Time and effort are wasted side-stepping and working around something that needs to be dealt with.  

2. Decision paralysis is stalling out the initiative. Who makes the call? Why aren’t they making a call? Are they afraid? Have bad information? Not sure what the priorities are? A lot of factors can go into creating a paralyzed decision maker, but nonetheless it creates confusion as time drags on and critical decisions are punted down the field.

3. There are too many cooks in the kitchen. Do you have three or four bosses and not quite sure who the buck stops with? The amount of time and emotional energy spent navigating an overly complicated org chart is exhausting. Few things create more confusion than bureaucratic lines of authority and communication.

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4. Conflict isn’t confronted and resolved. Avoiding conflict and tip-toeing around co-workers creates inefficiencies like none other. All of your strategic energy gets spent figuring out how to avoid, ignore or passive-agressively run over other team members–the very people hired to help make things more efficient and helpful.  

5. No one owns their mistakes. We usually know when we screw up and the quickest way to deal with it is a simple ‘I’m Sorry.’ By taking responsibility you save people from the speculation and wasted time of gossiping and blame shifting. Few things are more powerful than a leader who sees their faults and is willing to own them.

6. There is a feedback vacuum. Feedback is essential, be it good or bad. People want (and need) to know where they stand. If they’re doing a good job, let them know. If they’re falling down, let them know. People are resilient and can handle the truth. Without it you wake up and go to bed demotivated because you’re never quite sure if you’re doing a good job. 

[Tweet “As leaders we either foster confusion or clarity. Which one are you creating?”]

As leaders we either foster confusion or clarity. Which one are you creating? Which of these six categories can you focus on today and work towards leading with more clarity?