Clarity First Newsletter, December 9, 2016


While we feel like strangers in a strange land, and next steps are not so obvious, one thing is clear: we all need, in our own ways, to stand up for what we believe.

Business is personal.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, one didn’t take a political stance in business. After all, you may alienate a big percentage of your audience. That was then. This is now. The world isn’t so innocent anymore. Here’s what one company learned when they took a public stand about the “open embrace of racism by the Republican Party in this election”. It turns out that speaking the truth is very good for business.
Email Letter: Letter to America’s CEOs

Power and love are the yin and yang of organizing. Neither one is effective without its “opposite.”

“Either one by itself will eventually evolve from a generative, positive focus at the start to a degenerative, socially hostile outcome—but together, they help us achieve great things.” – Adam Kahane
Book review: Power and Love. A Theory and Practice of Social Change

“The world is watching us and our behavior will determine the final outcome.”

Leaders of the historic gathering of Indigenous Nations and allies at Standing Rock Oceti Sakowin Camp asked those who joined them to observe four agreements. This week the Nonprofit Quarterly shared the agreements with their readers “because it occurs to us they are likely to be useful in many other settings.”
Article: Four Central Agreements for Behavior at Standing Rock (and Elsewhere)

Write a better email. Get quicker and higher-quality responses.

We’re all busy. Let’s stop wasting each other’s time by improving how we use email.
Article: How to Write Email with Military Precision.

Tiny organizations need a clear brand, too.

Your brand is your promise to those you serve of how you help them. Finding clarity about this distinction is essential to organizational success, no matter the size of your business.
Article: Helping “solopreneurs” find their brand promise

Fewer Americans feel overloaded by information than did so a decade ago.

It turns out that most Americans like their choices in today’s information-saturated world.
Research Report: Information Overload


The opening lyrics of the title song from Common’s latest album Black America Again set the tone:
Here we go, here, here we go again
Trayvon’ll never get to be an older man
Black children, they childhood stole from them
Robbed of our names and our language, stole again
Who stole the soul from black folk?

By the time Stevie Wonder chants on the chorus “We are rewriting the Black American story” you know you’ve been invited into a crucial conversation.

This isn’t an album of blame, but of taking power and assuming self-direction. Writing in Pitchfork Edwin “STATS” Houghton observes: “Even as he gives voice to his hurt and anger and eloquently runs down the undeniable crimes committed against Black Americans, he seems to be asking again throughout the album’s lyrics what freedom could even look like in this America—and time and again he suggests that freedom itself is an act of improvisation, of imagination, that begins now.”

Image of the week

The photos in the headers are by Richard Sandler. They’re from The Eyes of the City, a new book of his arresting black and white street photography, shot in Boston and New York between 1977 and 2001.

What’s Clarity First?

If you’re new to Clarity First, it’s the weekly newsletter by Clarity, the consultancy that helps companies use their brand – their purpose, values, and stories – as powerful tools for transformation.

If you get value from Clarity First, please share it.

Leave a Comment