3 symptoms of organizational confusion

And how to treat them.

Reading time: 3 minutes

๐Ÿ‘‹๐Ÿป Welcome to Refresh. Rethink. โ€“ the humble newsletter that helps you become a better leader.


Organizational confusion is losing track of what, why, and how you work together.

One of the biggest challenges for leaders is identifying and addressing organizational confusion.๐Ÿคฏ

Now, organizational confusion is common. Even the most successful companies need more organizational clarity from time to time.

Some confusion occasionally at least shows that you're going somewhere.

๐Ÿค” The question is how early you can spot the symptoms and how quickly you can make them disappear.

Suppose your organization stays confused for too long. In that case, it will lead to wasted time, lost opportunities, and declining morale.๐Ÿ“‰

And what leader wants that?

Thatโ€™s why we're talking about the three sometimes hard-to-spot symptoms of organizational confusion. Leaders should watch out for them.๐Ÿ‘“

1) You can see, but your vision is blurry.

Clarity in business is as important as in life. You wouldn't want to drive a car with stained or scratched glasses, right?

But if we wear such glasses often, it's easy to forget how it feels to see clearly. We adapt to this blurry vision, and we keep missing essential things.

โ˜๏ธWhat are the telling signs of blurry vision in an organization?

  • Decisions, even the most important ones, are often postponed.

  • Already taken decisions are constantly revisited

  • People tend to be more reactive than proactive.

๐ŸŽฏ An organization that sees clearly moves faster because the goals are clear. Decisions are on time and firm. Team members understand their role in the bigger picture.

It's great if you have a clear vision, but it can only be maintained by good communication. This leads us to the next symptom.

2) Everyone's constantly talking but not hearing the message.

Do you know how the line constantly breaks in movies where someone in need tries to convey a message? It transfers A message but not THE message. "Help..... We need...... and we are....... thank you forโ€ฆ"=๐Ÿ“ก

That happens in organizations as well. Poor communication that is. And communicating more (more meetings, emails, Slack channels!) isn't solving it.

๐Ÿค” How to spot poor communication in your organization?

  • "Half work" often happens. This indicates that people don't understand the task and try to "play it by ear."

  • People constantly return for more information, even though everything "was clear."๐ŸŒฅ๏ธ

  • People pick up slack dangerously close to the deadline. 80% of the work gets done in the last 20% of the allocated time (Pareto wouldn't be proud).

Open and honest communication within your team is essential. Create a culture where people feel comfortable speaking up. It leads to getting clarity โ˜€๏ธimmediately, not when people are pressured by a deadline. That way, they will tell you what needs to be refined before they start working on it.

3) People are running fast but towards different finish lines.

Many business leaders imagine their teams to be running a race. Against time. Against competitors. Towards a brighter future. And they make everyone feel like a long-distance runner โ€“ always ready to perform. But it's not enough to have great runners on your team. ๐Ÿƒโ€โ™‚๏ธ


If everyone's running towards a different finish line, who gets gold?๐Ÿฅ‡

๐ŸŽ๏ธTo win races, you need to be aligned. And how can you tell if your organization isn't?

  • There's a sense of being overwhelmedness by the number of tasks.

  • Despite hard work, results are not correlated with the efforts, and no one is ever satisfied.

  • There's always a sense of "if only we had more people."

When there is no alignment, people are pulling in different directions. It leads to wasting precious time and resources. And you might not even notice it because you see them as top performers!

As a leader, you must ensure everyone is aligned and working towards the same goals. You do this by setting clear priorities. It also means ensuring everyone understands the organization's mission, vision, and values.

A sense of shared purpose makes people run in the same direction.๐Ÿ


It is the untapped potential that these issues hold that needs your attention.๐Ÿ”

Blurred vision, poor communication, and lack of alignment are symptoms of organizational confusion. โ€“ a bug even the healthiest of organizations can catch.

Feeling organizational confusion doesn't mean your business is failing. But prolonged confusion is a problem. Your company might be doing well despite the confusion. It is the untapped potential that these issues hold that needs your attention.

๐Ÿ‘‰ So, looking at your organization now, do you notice any symptoms? If so, what's stopping you from addressing them?

Let me know by replying to this email, and I'll respond.๐Ÿ“ง

See you next week!๐Ÿ‘‹๐Ÿป


When you're ready to get help with organizational confusion or improve your leadership skills, here's how:

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The cost of not taking any action is always the highest.