From Muck to Clarity


“From Muck to Clarity” is one of the leadership principles Interstates selected for our leadership development program years ago. I’ve always believed in this principle, and I recently gained even more appreciation for it and a leader’s burden to provide clarity. Simply put, there is power in bringing clarity to our people.

The world is changing quickly. The pace of change is accelerating. I remember a long time ago, as a young project manager, learning (and believing) that “control” was the key to running a good project. Plan it, build the systems to monitor it, intervene when needed, and finish! That didn’t work back then, and it isn’t going to work moving forward. In my opinion, control is an illusion because it assumes you know all the twists in the road ahead of time.

The truth is that there is more “muck” now than ever. Muck comes with change. And it is easy for our teams to get lost in it. The most common way is to rely too heavily on “the way we did it….” Muck doesn’t sort into those old, historically-based buckets well, and if teams are simply left to find their way, they spend tons of time and mental energy trying to make sense of all the muck. Some of that is unavoidable, but the struggle can be made easier.

Enter the function of leadership. Our role (and our duty) is to LEAD our teams through the muck to clarity. Clarity brings all kinds of advantages: excitement, a target, progress, engagement, a potential to win, efficiency, and many others. Sorting through the muck is hard work and the opposite of many of these things. Navigating muck is difficult and requires intentionality.

Where could your teams use your help LEADING them from muck to clarity?

Dave Crumrine, President

This blog was originally published in the Current Connections Winter 2022 issue. 


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