December 15, 2017
By Jacki Hart CLM
Prosperity Partners Program Manager

Jacki HartFor me, winding-down from a busy season has always been a time to ask lots of questions. Specifically, I tend to ask myself self-reflective questions. In this seasonal, green profession, I believe December is a great month to create some quiet time for self-reflection. Many of us take pause for religious traditions and holiday events, and enjoy a well-earned break from our usual routines. It’s a time of year to take stock of who you are, where you are, and where you need to grow in order to reach your goals — what you need is clarity.

Clarity precedes mastery

The unknown author of the phrase “clarity precedes mastery” was really onto something big. To become a master at what you do, there are a few rungs to climb on the ladder.
  1. You first need to be very clear about what you believe in, who you are and who you need to be.
  2. You must also know what mastery actually is. What will it look like when you’re a master at something? What you will know, say, do, teach and accomplish?
  3. You have to be able to recognize the gaps between where you are now, and where you want to be — this is where the clarity part takes place.

First thing first

To accomplish the first step, I’ve been known to say once or fifty times in this column over the past 11 years, you need to define your Core Values and those of your business. Who are you? What do you believe in? What are the non-negotiable beliefs that guide your thinking and actions every day?

I’ve worked with dozens of business owners and their teams on this exercise. It’s a lot harder to do than you think. It takes longer to complete than you think, and yet it’s so incredibly powerful in bringing clarity to your whole team.

For companies who have fully-engaged this step, the clarity it has brought for both their non-negotiable behaviour and decision-making filters has transformed both their communication and performance. Without connecting all of the dots on who the company is, and why it is, energy will unnecessarily be spent on keeping everyone and everything glued together.

If you take one thing from reading this column, I hope it’s realizing you never look back or question why you spent the time to achieve this clarity.

If you’re aiming at nothing…

Familiar readers of my column know how to finish the sentence in the above heading: “You’ll hit it with huge accuracy.” What is your end game? What skills do you need to improve? What ways does your company need to improve to achieve it’s ultimate success? How will the company ‘bench strength’ need to change? What will be different when you’ve finally become a master at what you do? What will your team be doing and saying differently? How will you all be thinking differently in order to have the mastery you strive for?

Mind the gap

Think about ways in which you could quantify the potential return on time invested if you intentionally improve to become a master at what you do. There’s a price tag attached to training, and that cost becomes priceless when the training pays off and nudges your company closer to mastery. Ask important questions to guide your training choices. Align your investment with your vision of success.

I borrow this from my friends at Kinergy Leadership: 5 As of Selecting Leaders. It may help:
  • Assessment of needs: What is needed to pursue mastery?
  • Assets on hand: Who in the company is available and the ‘right fit’?
  • Ability of candidates: Who is able to be trained, and likely to apply what they learn?
  • Attitude of candidates: Who is willing to be trained and step-up their level of engagement?
  • Accomplishments of candidates: Who gets things done?
You can also ask yourself some important gap-filling questions: Who do I show up as every day? Where do I need to grow? Who should I show up as (if I were a level closer to mastery at what I do)?
Jacki Hart may be contacted at