Chris Kindred is a veteran developer for the North Star Marketing team who gets the importance of our third core value. New growth always means new questions to be answered, but our Push for Clarity reveals something that surprises us, over and over again.
Clarity When It Counts
When you are in the center of a football stadium packed with fans, and everyone is staring at you—when the snap comes, and you’ve got that ball in your hands—in that moment, right there, you need absolute clarity about your job. Indecision or uncertainty could lose the game, get you badly hurt, or both.
I had the privilege of playing football at the University of Tulsa during my college days, and there were so many lessons that athletics instilled in me. By now they have deep roots and affect just about every part of my life. This issue of clarity is something that I see all the time in my work as a parent of three amazing kids and my work at the office as a developer with the North Star Marketing team.
Are We Really Clear About What Clarity Is?
It might seem that clarity is just being clear and making sure things are understood. I think it is more than just transparency, or a basic understanding, though. I think it is about the will to overcome confusion, and about not stopping until you have what you need to take action. That probably means continuing to ask questions and refusing to stay silent when you still don’t have the clarity you need. Those things aren’t always easy, but they sure are important.
I am a developer. I tend to see things as black and white, yes and no, on or off. The world and our work are complex, and there are gray areas. I get that. But pursuing clarity means we have to boil the gray areas down to the right black and white choices that will allow us to take action. What we call a push for clarity is a dogged pursuit of discernment, so we and our clients are focused on the right things for the right reasons.
It also means making sure everyone who is a part of a conversation or project has the same understanding. It is all too possible for different people to be absolutely clear about what they heard or what was decided, only to find out later they had very different takeaways! Shared clarity is what we are really after, in the end.
How the Push for Clarity Puts Discernment to Work
In addition to playing Division I football, I also have some military experience. If you have not lived it for yourself, it is hard to describe just how much effort our armed forces put into being clear with instructions and orders and procedures. Obviously, in that context, a lack of clarity can have very real life or death consequences.
Today, when I’m working, I often remember those lessons. If I do not understand something important during an internal meeting, everybody knows I am going to speak up and keep asking until I am clear. In the end, everyone on the team needs the empowerment that comes with being clear about expectations, roles, project needs, and all the other things that make our work together successful. We all know that anything less will cause real problems, so we accept and honor that push for clarity in our culture at North Star.
It is pretty amazing how this core value, push for clarity, both builds community and teaches us to really value community, which is our next core value. If you look long enough, part of that discernment I mentioned shows you more and more of just how connected to one another we are. It opens up all kinds of doors to honoring one another and what we’re working for together.