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Some want to “misunderstand” on purpose. Don’t give them the chance.

I’ve been thinking about the clarity and ambiguity thing.

This is also the case now with regard to advice and guidelines for the coronavirus. A lot of advice and guidelines have been given, but at the same time there have been many questions about what is meant. It does not seem that citizens think that what is communicated is clear enough.

And of course, if you give the message that you should wear mouthguards in local traffic “during rush hour”, you ask for follow-up questions.

What is “rush hour”? What times are they? Is rush hour the same all over the country, or is it different in Malmö, Stockholm, Gothenburg or Umeå?

Now they have been clear about the times, and that they apply all over the country, whether it is in Stockholm or Kiruna. However, there are a whole host of other things that have been communicated about the pandemic that have yet to receive any clarity.

Ambiguity creates uncertainty and the opportunity for those who wish to “misunderstand” to do so as well.

If you want things to be followed and for us to share understanding, you need to be clear. I see the same ambiguities used in so many places. You talk about things and have concepts, but you haven’t bothered to make sure that you have a definition of the concept. And if someone has taken on the task of defining some concepts, unfortunately it has not been communicated sufficiently.

Unfortunately, it is also the case that there can be a culture in the organisation of not embracing these definitions.

For example, I come across words like programme plan, plan programme, business plan, or similar terms. But there is no definition of these concepts. The definition and perception of what these things are and consist of is in the individual’s head.

I usually give the example of the fire brigade arriving at a fire. Imagine firefighters communicating with each other as they move towards the fire. One asks the other to produce a crux. What’s a crux you might be wondering, and so might the other fireman. It turns out that’s what the first firefighter called an axe, when he was working at another location. Confusion ensues and the one who benefits from it is the fire.

To avoid this ambiguity in a business, you need to create a catalogue of terms to use in your business. These should be specified in detail so that they can be communicated.

For example, a business plan means that … and it contains …, and it has the following template; … The business plan is related to other plans in the following way …

And so on. There are tools to be used to create such clarity and to get rid of “ludditudd” in the business. If you want tips, let me know and I’ll tell you more.

The advice for the week is to create an activity where you put energy into creating the value you exist for, instead of putting energy into misunderstanding each other, guessing what people mean, asking questions, making mistakes, doing it again and so on.

Removing ambiguity and creating clarity will help you in this work.