Today I want to talk about what I call the “most important question in business”.

That question goes like this – “what are you trying to achieve”.

It probably sounds obvious, but based on my experiences over the years, most business owners, senior ex-ecutives, middle managers, school principals and even plenty of politicians, cannot answer that question clearly. In fact, on one occasion recently, I sat down with a group of 12 executives – including the CEO – in a large company and asked them exactly that question. How many different answers do you think I re-ceived? Twelve!

I have a view that organisations only fail for one of two reasons. The first of those is the obvious one – it’s a lack of appropriate financial management and control. The second of these reasons is what I call a lack of “clarity of purpose”. In other words, a failure to be really clear on what you are trying to achieve and the lack of a plan to enable those objectives to be reached.

Organisations only fail for one of two reasons. It’s either a lack of financial management, or a lack of clarity of purpose.

Some of the world’s most successful companies have good clear messages that are easy to communicate with their people and their customers.

– think about Amazon who aspire to be “the world’s biggest store”
– or Google who see themselves as “organizing the world’s information”
– Facebook are focusing on “connecting the world”
– and I love the fact that Volvo have seen a major shift in the behaviour of their own people since they launched the objective that “no one will die in a new Volvo by 2020”

So, here’s the challenge …what are you trying to achieve with your team or your business? Try to be really specific. Like any goal or aspiration, you need to be specific to help you stay focused.

And here’s the cool thing about being really clear on what you are trying to achieve – real clarity makes decision making much easier. In other words, the clearer you are about your goals and aspirations, the easier it is to make decisions that are important to your business. The reason is that the right decisions become more obvious as you shut out the various distractions that often get in the way when you lack fo-cus.

Real clarity makes decision making easier.

As a result – once you have that clarity – you have a clear purpose which becomes the platform upon which your business and your decision making is based.

You will therefore find that decisions about the products or services you offer, your pricing strategy, the premises you occupy, the people you recruit and the customers you target will all become much more straight forward. And as a result, I promise you that your productivity and that of your people will improve dramatically.

And all because you are clear about what you are trying to achieve.

So, in the next few days, take some time to sit down with a clean sheet of paper, or stand alongside the whiteboard and challenge yourself to be really clear about what you are trying to achieve. Better still, sit down with some members of your team, share this video with them, and talk about the key things you should and shouldn’t be focusing on.

And don’t worry too much about getting it down to a single slick phrase like the examples I mentioned ear-lier. A few succinct bullet points are just as effective.

And if you get stuck, don’t hesitate to email us at and we’ll try to help you along.

Hey, thanks for watching. Until next time, have a great week.