One of the most effective ways to unify teams is by crafting a shared purpose that everyone can rally around and work towards. Much more than a simple goal or mission, which explains what a business does and who it does it for, a shared purpose is action oriented, and defines the WHY we’re in existence. A purpose statement unifies, inspires, and motivates the team to move forward, together.
Simon Sinek, author of “Find Your Why,” has a simple sentence structure to help guide and shape your purpose statement. In his book, he recommends expressing your WHY statement in two main components. The first element, “To ____,” is the contribution the organization or group makes. The second element, “so that____,” is the impact or effect the contribution has on others. For example, my company’s purpose statement is “To empower and help others, so that they can advance themselves, their teams, or organizations.”
Although the companies below may not follow Sinek’s suggested approach, here are some examples that capture the essence of their why:
Alzheimer’s’ Association: A world without Alzheimer’s.
Microsoft (when the company was founded): A computer on every desk and in every home.
JetBlue: To inspire humanity – both in the air and on the ground.
Starbuck’s: To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.
Just documenting a purpose is not enough. Demonstrating that you are living your purpose and walking the talk is essential. In a Gallup article, Getting the Culture You Want, they pose questions you can ask your managers to see if they are supporting your overall purpose:
How well do our purpose, brand, and culture align?
How clear is our purpose to our employees, and are they clear on how it impacts our customers?
How do you and your team show that you're committed to supporting our purpose?
Understanding the WHY behind what we’re doing helps all those involved feel part of something bigger. It automatically creates a sense of belonging and camaraderie, and when times are tough, makes us more resilient. It can be difficult uncovering your team’s shared purpose, especially if you’re bringing together teams that have different focuses. However, it can be a powerful team building activity that unites everyone to deliver on the overall mission and vision of the organization.
At Cultivate Insight Partners, we work with teams and organizations looking to unify others toward a collective purpose. Using multiple tools and techniques, we put together strategic change communication plans that are tailored for the client's culture and long-term success. Sign up here and book a free consultation.