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#2 How to Achieve Purpose and Clarity in Your Team
In my previous article, I covered three crucial principles for high-performing teams:
Purpose and Clear Goals
Now, let's dive into the second principle: Purpose and Clear Goals. We'll explore why this aspect is vital and how you can instil it within your team.
From Task Completion to Purpose-Driven Work
In the past, work was often viewed merely as a means to earn income. You'd show up, complete your tasks and call it a day.
However, times have changed. People no longer aim to merely complete tasks; they seek meaning in their work. They want to contribute positively and make an impact. This desire for purpose is particularly prominent among younger generations, for whom making a difference is a top priority when choosing a job.
A study by McKinsey & Co. found that 70% of Americans, especially millennials, derive their sense of purpose from their work. They actively look for opportunities to contribute to a broader purpose through their job.
The absence of a clear sense of purpose can significantly impact both motivation and productivity. This is particularly crucial for teams that rely on creative problem-solving. Without motivation, achieving high-quality results becomes challenging, hindering the ability to innovate, create new solutions, or act proactively to drive any improvements.
How to foster Purpose and Clarity Among Your Team
How can you as a manager effectively nurture purpose and clarity within your team? How can you empower your team and propel them toward high-performance? Let's delve into the key strategies.
Get the right people on board
If you aim to foster a shared vision and purpose among your team and within your company, the initial step is to bring the right individuals on board. Often overlooked, this critical process begins during recruitment. While conducting interviews, it's not enough to solely evaluate a candidate's technical abilities or problem-solving skills. Instead, ensure that there is a good alignment between the candidate’s beliefs and the company's mission and values.
This alignment forms the foundation for a strong connection between the employee and the company. It lays the basis that can inspire them to remain committed, even if they later receive more enticing offers from other organisations.
Communicate your company's vision
Surprisingly, leaders often presume that everyone is well-acquainted with the company's vision and purpose. However, if you were to ask different employees to explain the company's vision, you would likely receive a range of answers.
As the leader of the company, you have invested significant time in formulating and refining the vision. Nonetheless, this does not automatically guarantee a shared understanding. Simply communicating the vision once and considering the task complete is insufficient.
Instead, ongoing dialogue is essential. Take advantage of every chance to reiterate the company's mission, vision, and impact. The more these discussions occur, the more deeply these concepts will become ingrained in your employees. And next to that, it’s crucial that every decision made by the company aligns with its vision and values. This is how employees truly internalise the vision and purpose, fostering a sense of unity.
Share context for effective decision-making
Having a team comprised of highly skilled and dedicated individuals who share a common mission is undoubtedly valuable. However, their effectiveness can be compromised if they lack the necessary context to guide their work decisions. And hard work can be wasteful if based on wrongly made decisions.
To prevent such pitfalls, sharing necessary context is crucial. It ensures that everyone in the team possesses a shared understanding of the circumstances or conditions in which you want to achieve something. Equipping your team with the appropriate background information empowers them to make informed choices. And even more, it reinforces your team's trust in the company's decision-making by assuring them that the choices made are accurate.
This does not mean that you should overload everyone with irrelevant information. For instance, engineers who are busy with a technical challenge might not be keen on delving into all the intricacies of the business context. Additionally, some information should be kept confidential due to its sensitive nature.
You as a manager should find the balance between what is essential to be shared and what isn't. The challenge lies in translating business context into relevant information that enhances the team’s productivity and effectiveness. This involves distilling complex business information into actionable insights relevant for the team and their decision-making process.
Highly successful companies excel in establishing focused and clearly defined objectives. They go beyond leadership and extend these goals throughout the entire company, ensuring alignment across every individual with the company's objectives.
One valuable tool that supports this thinking is the OKR framework. The successful implementation of OKRs has yielded benefits for numerous companies. However, achieving effective goal alignment is not always straightforward. Many companies have attempted to adopt this framework without achieving the desired results. One significant factor behind such challenges is ineffective communication of these goals or setting objectives that are not in harmony with the company's overall strategy.
Leaders who establish concrete goals, need to be able to effectively convey them to the entire team. They need to articulate them in a way that resonates with the team members. Especially in large organisations, leadership's key responsibility is around pinpointing the right goals, ensuring their widespread understanding and instilling belief and enthusiasm among employees.
Management can dream their story, but that does not lift the story off the ground. In such a large company, it only really comes to life when people start seeing it as their own story, feeling that they almost invented it themselves.
- Michel Alsemgeest, Chief Digital & Information Officer, LeasePlan
As a manager overseeing a team, your role encompasses a thorough grasp of the company's goals, translating them into specific objectives for your team, and effectively conveying these objectives to team members. The clarity in communicating goals and achieving alignment not only enhances team performance but also cultivates a sense of accomplishment and unity, thereby reinforcing the company's overarching mission.
Nurturing a sense of purpose and clarity within your team should not be an abstract notion only. It requires genuine and profound attention.
It impacts the emotions people invest in their work, their level of motivation, and the quality of decisions they make in the workplace.
These elements collectively lay the groundwork for achieving exceptional performance within you team and steering everyone towards the same goal.
Till next week.
PPS. Here’s an index of all the articles in this series:
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