Inside Out: The Power of Clarity

By Steve Pereira & Andrew Davis

We Depend on Clarity

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Inside Out: The Power of Clarity
We Depend on Clarity
By Steve Pereira & Andrew Davis • Issue #3 • View online
Clarity precedes our decisions. Decisions precede our actions.
In a world of infinite information, what is the limiting factor on our making the right decisions, and pursuing those decisions with gusto? It’s not lack of money, time, energy, or other resources. It’s the absence of clarity.

🔭 Getting Clear
When we first encounter a new situation we lack clarity. We don’t understand the problem. We don’t understand the solution. We don’t understand anyone’s roles, responsibilities, or processes. 
Hopefully, we gradually develop clarity. We come to understand the problem. We come to understand a solution. We take on a role, responsibilities, and processes. 
Then we forget, or things change, and we lose clarity again.
Living beings go in and out of clarity on an ongoing basis. Ideas emerge as a way to make sense of an otherwise incomprehensible world. Those ideas come and go. The ones that we act on are reinforced. 
These ideas provide a conceptual overlay on the world we experience. Since on one level, everything is connected, even the distinction between two objects is made by our conceptual minds. For us, our concepts of things is our reality. And those concepts have momentum. Even when we encounter information that doesn’t accord with our views, we tend to ignore it. This is known as confirmation bias.
Both individuals and organizations develop habits. We develop ways of reacting and responding to challenges. We teach others. We build those practices into code or hardware. We advertise and amplify the practices that serve us. We admire others, and emulate their practices. 
Learning is a practice of developing clarity where there was none. In many cases, unlearning is even more important than learning. We need to undo our powerful assumptions about the world before we can allow new information.
🏅 What We're Finding Valuable
Andrew just finished Thinking in Systems by Donella Meadows. It’s a primer on systems thinking. Her research group at MIT was responsible for many of the formative mathematical models on ecosystems and the limits to growth. But the movement that grew out of that team at MIT has influenced every industry.
We’re particularly interested in how systems thinking is still far from common. The way we model a problem constrains the solutions we can find. When we use spreadsheets to solve a problem, this predisposes us to fit the problem and solution into a matrix model. But most systems contain feedback loops of various kinds. You can’t properly understand complex systems without iterating through models. The answer is never a single result in a steady-state. Yet that’s still the way most business problems are approached.
🎢 Finding Flow
Why do we often struggle to accomplish what we set out to do? We’ve been reflecting on how taking on too many tasks is a kind of attachment. We get a great idea and don’t want to let go of it. But the reality is that we have limited time, energy, and resources. Saying “no” to possible projects is hard, but it’s critical to be able to focus. Thanks for saying “yes” to reading this far 🙂.
Inside Out: The Power of Clarity
What's at the intersection of business, technology, and psychology? How does the content of our heads and hearts unfold into healthy or unhealthy team dynamics? What does it take to stay clear, inspired, and engaged in a world of infinite information, and constant change?
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Steve Pereira & Andrew Davis

To solve big problems, we need to go back to basics. Our effectiveness depends on gaining clarity, creating value, and finding flow. Society and technology are changing quickly, but at every scale these three considerations are timeless keys to success. We look at maximizing improvement ROI, how the best teams work, and how individuals can find meaning and purpose in their work.

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