Teams come together or we join teams and straight away, we get sucked into doing the work that the team does. Often this becomes quite absorbing, complicated, and time-consuming. Before long, people are busy and involved so much in the day today that they forget why they started doing this in the first place. There can be confusion and a lack of clarity over where the team is headed. It feels like you are swimming around in circles and people start to disengage with the tasks they do because quite frankly they start to ask themselves, why are we doing this?
We all want to be part of a team of highly engaged, motivated, and driven people. But too often people are just not engaged with what’s going on – some studies put the percentage of disengaged employees as high as 85%. Part of the problem is that teams don’t create and communicate the real purpose behind what they are doing.
Why should you get out of bed and go to work? If you want to create the desire in the heads and hearts of your teammates to do more and give more discretionary extra effort in the service of your team, then you have to talk the language of purpose.
Teams that have total clarity on a compelling and deeply meaningful purpose that has a positive impact on the lives of other people are going to be far more likely to make the effort required to serve it. Equally, purpose-driven teams intertwine their ‘why’ throughout their day to day lives. They live and breathe it as part of their regular rituals and rhythm.
We’re in no doubt then, that it’s vital you create a purpose for your team, and communicate it daily. Here are a few tips on how you can start to do this.
IDENTIFY WHO YOU SERVE
This is vitally important, but keep it simple. Identify who are the people your actions serve, and what is the positive impact that you have on their lives. Craft a killer sentence that everyone can remember which explains your purpose clearly to them so that it remains in front of mind. And don’t stick with the obvious first point of contact – there may be a whole host of people who benefit from your actions, product, or service behind the customer or client.
ASK YOUR TEAM
Number two. Hold a discovery session to answer these questions with your team. This will engage them in the process and create their buy-in and commitment. And you might find they uncover a whole host of people and impacts you didn’t even think of.
ASK THE PEOPLE YOU SERVE
Number three. Ask the people you serve. Collect their stories and share them with the team. Find out why they like what you do. You’ll be amazed at some of the things you might find out that you didn’t even know.
LIVE YOUR PURPOSE EVERY DAY
And finally, number 4, live your purpose every single day. Share success stories you find with the team, and publicly if you can. Reward teammates who do things in service of your purpose. Write it on the walls. Share it with new customers. Whatever works for you!
I hope this has been useful. I help teams with discovering and crafting their compelling purpose, so if you would like to talk to me about how I can help your team, I’d love to hear from you.
I wish you good team health.