If there is one thing that many organizations lack it is crystal clear clarity about who they are, what they want to accomplish and how they are going to get there. This is especially true of non-profits and ministries as the profit motive is not the driving factor. In fact, clarity is the glue that holds the organization together as it grows. In my consulting with numerous non-profits I have observed four related consequences of poor or no organizational clarity.
I am speaking here of conflict between leaders and departments. Why? Because a lack of clarity from the top results in leaders one level below creating their own clarity and going in their own direction. When there is a vacuum, someone will fill it. The problem is that we fill it with our version of clarity rather than a shared version of clarity, find ourselves at odds with one another, create silos and find ourselves fighting over direction, finances, resources and strategy.
This conflict creates relational disconnect and we often assume that the conflict is a result of people with bad motives or who are not team players. More likely the disconnect is a result of the senior leader not developing a shared clarity about who the organization is and how it will get to where it wants to go. The relational disconnects are a result of poor leadership at the very top of the organization.
Lack of alignment
In this situation, senior leaders and departments are not aligned with one another. Each may be doing good things but often they are working at cross currents with each other. If each were an arrow, the arrows would be pointing in different directions rather than all in the same general direction. This lack of alignment creates conflict and relational disconnect and is deeply frustrating to good leaders who often leave if the situation is not solved.
Dispersed energy and compromised impact
Because the arrows are not pointed in the same direction and departments and leaders are working at cross purposes with one another the energy and impact of the organization is severely compromised. In fact, leaders are often trying to negotiate issues within the organization rather than focusing on the mission of the organization. There is nothing more distracting and discouraging to people who have bought into a mission than to be fighting intermural wars when they could be delivering on the mission.
Organizational clarity matters...a lot.