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Wait, we have already past a week into the new year, should any serious individual be talking about clarity at this point? Yes, is the short answer. If the last 3 years has taught us anything, it is that we cannot afford to coast into the new year hoping things will work out. I am sure it did not work then, and it will not work now. You will be hard pressed to name any environment of an industry that is predictable. And if that is the case, you want to be sure you will not be part of the many persons that will be tossed around when the VUCAD hurricane swirls. Some say being agile is important, others say purpose, and another will say mindset or self-awareness. None of them are wrong. I just think having clarity helps with most if not all.  

 And that is the kind of mindset or posture you want to take in 2023. I shall call them the principles of clarity. So, adapt this article to your situation whether you are a career person or business owner. 

The first step is to ask the right questions. The right questions like what you are doing now, where you should go and if there are any internal and external factors that could hold you back and drive you forward. Questions on next steps to take and how to measure progress should follow. This will form a strategic direction for you going in 2023. 

Formulating your plans after reflecting on your questions should follow and must align with your strategy. Ensure all major stakeholders are part of the planning, are informed on your final conclusions, and are aware of the roles they are going to play. For instance, you cannot be planning to relocate to another geographic location for a role you were hired for without consulting your family. In West Africa, the major stakeholders are your nuclear family while a place like India, more people are involved and carried along such as the extended family. To attain your goals, you need to be able to demonstrate how it aligns with the overall stakeholder’s goals. That way there is clarity across board, and everyone can be held accountable. 

With clarity at all quarters, execution becomes a lot easier. Why? There is buy-in from everyone and no communication gaps that will impede progress. Remember I mentioned having metrics such as how progress will be measured. And your decisions must be reviewed periodically to ascertain that you are indeed headed in the right direction. 

Now find someone you can trust to hold you accountable on what you need to get done. That could be your mentor, spouse, sibling or a trusted friend or ally. You need to be discerning about this choice. Someone that is not afraid to look you in the eye and call it the way it is, is your best bet. 

Now, I must say however, that this all seems simplistic. There is no guarantee that things will exactly go according to your plan. But adhering to the principles of clarity is fundamental. If you adopt a scenario planning mindset, there is hardly any disruptions that will leave you flustered.  

Once you have asked the right questions, reflected on same, putting the plan to paper while getting every stakeholder involved throughout the process, execution becomes a lot easier. And if you are disciplined, you will do well to avoid threats and take advantage of opportunities.  

The resilient, agile, self-aware, driven, and focused mind needs clarity first. Others can come in later.