In the 1992 movie, A Few Good Men, Lt. Kaffee, played by Tom Cruise learns a lesson on clarity from Col. Jessep, played by Jack Nicholson. Lt. Kendrick, played by Kiefer Sutherland, was clear he was not to touch Willie Santiago even though he was a weaker kid dragging the platoon down. There’s no chance Kendrick would ignore, forget or disagree with a direct order from Col Jessep. As only Nicholson can deliver in a manner consistent to the Marine Corps maxim of an orderly proficient military manner he boasts, “we follow orders or people die. It’s that simple.” He follows the soliloquy with one question to Lt. Kaffee, “are we clear?” After asking the question a second time, Kaffee responds, “crystal.”

It’s never the smartest one in the room who rises to the top in the military ranks. Nor is it ever the smartest one in the room who rises to the corner office with the comma and suffix forever attached to their name – CEO. It is, however, the one who can marshal resources with clarity, deliver consistently sustainable results all while elevating and cultivating relationships across the organizational footprint who rises the ranks of Elegant Leadership. Are we clear? ARE WE CLEAR?

Motion is NOT Action!

Just because you are busy doing “something,” doesn’t mean you’ll produce an outcome by itself. Just because the New Year is around the corner and you’ll resolve to go to the gym, doesn’t mean you’ll walk away with ripped abs and smoking hot legs by mere attendance. Action is the ONLY behavior that produces a result.


SMART goals don’t work in an ever changing, fast-paced work environment, and in fact, are more counterproductive.  As an Elegant Leader with Voltage, how do you model being clear instead of smart? Peter Economy, the best-selling business author, with more than 85 books and +2 million copies sold to his credit coined the CLEAR acronym with an assist from Canadian Olympic rower, Adam Kreek. Our new business environments require a new way of setting goals:

Collaborative. Goals should encourage employees to work together collaboratively and in teams.

Limited. Goals should be limited in both scope and duration.

Emotional. Goals should make an emotional connection to employees, tapping into their energy and passion.

Appreciable. Large goals should be broken down into smaller hunks’n chunks goals so they can be accomplished more quickly and easily for long-term gains.

Refinable. Set goals with a headstrong and steadfast objective, but as new situations or information arise, give yourself permission to refine and modify your goals.

In the movie Nicholson’s run-up was to ask, “Have you ever served in an infantry unit, son? Ever served in a forward area? Ever put your life in another man’s hands or put his life in yours? All of the responses were “no.” We’re not asking you to subscribe to CLEAR goals as a life or death equation. Yet, in attempting to cross the Atlantic, Kreek had 3 rules – the first rule was don’t die, the second rule was don’t kill your mates, and the third was don’t sink your boat.” Much like it is at your workplace – look after yourself, look after each other, and look after your equipment.[kleo_gap size=”12px” class=”” id=””]
A maxim we’ve consistently delivered here at The Culture Whisperer is to have a clear, concise and compelling message in everything you do and with everyone you lead. As we near the EOY, take time to consider setting CLEAR goals for 2017. If you’d like to have a conversation on what CLEAR may mean to you or how to get started, click here.

Here are several great reads from Peter…

Leading Through Uncertainty: How Umpqua Bank Emerged from the Great Recession Better and Stronger than Ever

CEO Your Career: Creating a Career with Options FREE Kindle edition on Amazon!

The Complete MBA For Dummies, 3rd Edition and countless other “for dummies” titles


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