Are We Window Washers?

“We are to be window cleaners to help people see more and wonder more…”  -Michael Frost (Verge 13)

One of the most exacting tasks of any leader is to open up the window of their mind, revealing a vision that must be communicated with pristine clarity.

And yet, here lies the dividing line, unambiguous clarity.

Clarity and communication serve as the divining rod for organizational alignment, between vision attained and vision lost.

For leaders tend to articulate a coherence of that vision in one of five modes, or through five different windows you might say:

  • Draped Window – This window is closed up and sealed off from those they lead.  Those they lead are constantly playing a game of guess what’s in the leaders head.  Clarity and communication are non-existent.  They fail to see the vision.
  • Hazy Window – This window provides a distorted and difficult to determine view of the vision.  Clarity and communication are at a minimal and often difficult to decode.  This leader puts a lot of strain and stress on those they lead as they have to put forth extreme effort in decipher the vision.
  • Streaked Window – This window provides glimpses of the vision, however the many streaks and smears create gaps.  Communication and clarity is hit and miss.  From really good to really poor…depending on the circumstances.  Those in the organization have a limited understanding of the vision.
  • Clean Window – This window provides a full, unobstructed view of the leader’s vision and what they are trying to accomplish with the organization.  While the vision is transparent…it still remains very much the vision of the leader.  The leader is showing you the vision, but not quite inviting you in to be a part of that vision.
  • Open Window – This window connects the vision from the leader to those in the organization.  The leader is not only sharing the vision with you…they are inviting you in through that window to be a part of the vision.  The window is open and the invitation is provided for those in the organization to participate in the vision.

Clarity is often the dividing line between organizational alignment or chaos and dysfunction.  When leaders are window washers, they create that clarity for their organization.

However, when leaders move past being window washers to open up that window and invite those they lead in, they create a much more inclusive dynamic in their organization.

A dynamic that embraces, creating engagement and commitment.

And yet it is one of the most difficult things for a leader to do, to really open up their window to those they lead.  Vulnerable, maybe.  Required, definitely.  Especially if your goal is to truly attain the vision.

Leadership is about opening windows, providing new perspectives and different lenses for viewing the organization and for seeing the world.


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