Editor's note: Gow Media CEO David Gow uncovers how to get clarity in business and life with local thought leader and innovator, Brad Deutser.
Do you ever feel uncertain or even paralyzed in the face of big decisions, or even small ones? Houston business leader Brad Deutser offers a solution via Clarity: The Breakthrough Strategy to Unleash People, Profit, and Performance, a new book that helps organizations (and likely, individuals) slay ambiguity and discover focus, direction, and higher performance levels.
Leading Clarity — which has recently been released and is available on Amazon — addresses an unassailable truth: the world is more volatile and faster-paced than at any point in history. And with a cacophony of opinions and voices about what to do, what we need — what we must find — is clarity. Clarity provides the path forward. And the book provides a defined system with a set of tools and frameworks to help define your own path to clarity.
After digesting the book, I recommend it wholeheartedly — not just to the leaders of organizations, but to anyone seeking a deeper understanding of organizations and performance improvement. To give you a small taste of the insights, let me share three that made an immediate impression.
1. Think inside the box
In business today, we hear so much praise for “outside the box” thinking, as if the most distinct or outlandish idea must be the best idea. But an onslaught of new ideas can often lead to chaos, not clarity.
Deutser shows the value of taking stock of what is “inside the box” – an entity’s operations, people, engagement, direction, etc. — and he provides a framework to align these elements — for it is here where clarity can be found.
2. Beware the circuit breakers
Deutser lists a bevy of “circuit breakers” that drain our energy. The one that jumped out at me: inference. I infer what people are thinking or what they intended with certain words. Or perhaps more common: I infer the reason someone failed to do something or did not get back to me. And very often my inference is negative, worrisome or concerning — draining energy and undermining clarity.
This diagnosis is probably helpful for both professional and personal well-being. If the first step to any solution is to identify the problem, I have already benefited from this book.
3. Un-mask the masqueraders
Ah, the masqueraders, they are people or ideas in an organization that seem right, yet deceive — they distract from clarity. For example, politically correct dialogue may sound right, but can sometimes sacrifice “honesty at the expense of judgment and conformity.”
In my own experience, I have fallen prey to a different masquerader, what Deutser calls a “people-pleaser.” An employee comes rushing in — seemingly in earnest — to report a crisis. Much time and emotional energy is committed to the crisis. But with hindsight, I see that that he exaggerated the crisis, in order to look like a hero once he solved it. This chapter calls out the masqueraders (there are many!), enabling us to stay the course of clarity.
A walk through clarity
Deutser’s career is core to his book. A graduate of The Kinkaid School and The University of Texas (as well as a stint at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus), Deutser has emerged as a top advisor to CEOs, board chairs, and other community leaders. He found his own career clarity when he launched Deutser, a unique marketing consulting firm focused on performance with a diverse staff that includes social scientists, PhD, artists, a media team, engagement experts, and traditional management consultants — notably, for a while, Deutser even had an ordained minister on staff.
His firm, as well as his newest venture, Deutser Clarity Institute, a think tank, idea accelerator and learning lab, works with large Fortune 500 clients, small businesses, and leading non-profits — as well as leaders from across the U.S.
The offices of the firm embody the principles of the book. At the entry, there is a large sculpture with letters C-L-A-R-I-T-Y – jumbled; in order to remind us that “clarity is often in front of us even if it is sometimes difficult to see.” The office also includes The Blank Space, a white room that enables a mind to “reset to neutral”; The Zen Room, a room for employees and guests to pause and refocus; a Fighting Wall of Snacks, purposeful Collaboration Stations and more. A walk through the office affirms that finding clarity is usually not a single “ah-ha moment,” rather it is a process of discovery with great rewards.
For more information, visit the Clarity site.