Hyde writes that one of the reasons ideas are treated as gifts is because they accomplish the task of assembling a mass of disparate facts into a coherent whole. It's an underrated workplace skill. Particularly at startups, which tend to be volatile and chaotic. There isn’t a startup in town that wouldn’t find that gift of clarity valuable. Because it fosters execution. If you're the kind of person who leaves things more organized than you found them, it's amazing what kind of output that generates for the team.
CAMPGROUNDING — Leaving things at your company more organized than when you found them
One useful practice for delivering clarity is locating the projects, tasks and initiatives that have been idling in limbo for too damn long, and giving them new life. Most startups have a of list for these things, typically on their internal drive, company server, or dry erase board collecting dust in the corner. It's an inventory of ancillary ideas that have been put on the backburner but would add real value to the organization. If only somebody would take ownership and move them forward. That's where the gift of clarity comes in. If you're the kind of person who can walk over to the parking lot and bring clarity out of the chaos, ultimately helping the rest of the crew walk away with greater peace about the actions they need to take, the powers that be will be reminded of your infinite value.
Ah, memories of working at my first tech company. They had hundreds of employees and had been in business for four years, but still didn't have any brand messaging guidelines. Their marketing team simply never got around to creating them. That was unacceptable to me. It offended my sense of order and rightness. How are we supposed to grow our company if we don't have clarity around who we are and what we stand for? Hell, it wouldn't require hundreds of hours of development or design time either. Just a nice, organized spreadsheet. Something simple to assemble our mass of disparate facts into a coherent whole and get everyone singing from the same hymnal. The process was messy and unglamorous, but nobody else was going to do it. May as well be me.
All of us should strive to leave things more organized than we found them. To pull ideas out of the parking lot and onto the highway, bringing clarity to our team's collective execution. As the people around you navigate the ambiguity of startup life, figure out how you can be the dependable person who brings the gift clarity. Where might there be a match waiting for a spark?
Create energy where people have lost momentum
Get everyone on your team singing from the same hymnal
Bring clarity to the chaos and enable people’s collective execution
Resurrect back burner ideas and projects that can create real value to the team