In this blog, Leadership Coach Terry Neild discusses the importance of purpose and why organisations should create purposeful teams.
Now this is a question I have been asking myself over that last few years because I get “purpose” and the joy of living into mine but boy was it hard to nail down. I found that when I worked without purpose, the work appeared mundane and flat even when it was cognitively stimulating. When I knew that the work I was doing had meaning and I was congruent with that meaning I felt energised and motivated to be part of that team.
So how is purpose defined? In 2015, Gallup conducted research on purpose and defined it as “A company’s purpose is a bold affirmation of its reason for being in business. It conveys what the organisation stands for, in historical, ethical, emotional, and practical terms. A company’s purpose is the driving force that enables a company to define its true brand and creates its desired culture”.
There has been an increased emphasis on purpose and that is because of the great outcomes Purpose can bring, such as:
Creates a collective shared meaning to the enterprise. For me this is the fundamental ingredient to creating purposeful teams because everything that team does should connect to the over-arching organisational purpose. When teams know how what they are doing is connected to this they understand why they are formed and what is driving them. When this is missing the team is rudderless and drifts without real direction.
It attracts and energises employees. Employees are awakening to the need for meaningful, purposeful work. This activates the Seeker System within the brain that creates the natural impulses to explore our worlds, learn about our environments and extract meaning from our circumstances. Along with self-expression and expression, Purpose ignites when we can see the cause and effect of the individual’s input and the team’s progress.
It aligns how the company and team creates shared value for all of it’s stakeholders. Purpose helps the team members to look for the shared value that can be created with it’s critical stakeholders. It looks beyond the team and explores how they can fulfil not only the customers’ needs and wants but also the customer’s customer. The team members also look for ways to break down silos within their organisation and build better relationships with suppliers and other key stakeholders.
It unites passion by connecting individual and collective values, stimulating creativity and inspires people to be at their best. If the team fully understands why it is there and that it is safe to express themselves and experiment, then creativity blossoms. Psychological safety is prevalent, honest debate on ideas and judgements are had and people are heard, respected and valued. This all because they know WHY.
It attracts and helps create joint commitment from partner organisations. When a team is working purposefully, the behaviours and values are such that they create an atmosphere that others want to partner with. This in turn brings more value to what the team is doing because the sense of belonging increases and is externalised to outside of their immediate spheres.
It provides an aspirational narrative for aligning culture, leadership and strategy. When the team knows that what it produces is aligned with a purposeful strategy then the team can start making shared decisions and embrace the accountability and responsibility to do so successfully. The team culture and dynamics are a microcosm of the organisational culture with shared values and congruent behaviours. Leadership is displayed not only from the assigned leader but also devolved and embraced by team members as the situation dictates.
Purpose gives meaning to Organisations, Teams and Individuals. When we have purpose, we are engaged in the world around us, we are motivated to do more and to be at our best.
Purpose is needed to engage our Seeker System which in turn, through dopamine, generates interest, anticipation and is a major contributor to our feelings of engagement and excitement when we pursue the cognitive interests that purposeful work brings us.
Our team coaches are experts in facilitating team development, if your team needs some work on defining and achieving its purpose, our team coaches can help.
For an informal discussion, give us a call on 0800 345 7727 to chat through your needs.