If you are a leader of a team on a project or an executive leading an organization, take a moment and ask your people this one simple question: "What is our purpose?" Allow your people to submit the answers anonymously to minimize any outside influence on their answers. Make sure to answer this question yourself as well.
Unless you are someone who has clearly defined your organizational or team purpose already, you are likely to receive many different answers. In absence of a clearly defined purpose from leaders, people will consciously or subconsciously, form their own ideas around what the team or organization's purpose is. Or, even worse, they don't have any idea and will wait for direction with every move they make, unwilling to make decisions and take initiative. This is often the root cause for many organizations and teams in losing efficiency. Process inefficiencies and operational innefficiencies are just the symptoms of that root cause.
If everyone in your organization is operating toward a purpose that they themselves defined, their efforts become fragmented and individualized. Unfortunately, in their actions towards their own defined purpose, there is no multiplication of their efforts. We see silos form in organizations like this, and metrics that reinforce those silos, and eventually leaders leading departments to further pile on. Without a common organizational purpose, it is like driving a wedge when splitting a log. Larger corporations, more often than not, can still operate with these inefficiencies. It may take many years for the effects to be realized, but for smaller businesses, the consequences could mean the difference between success or failure.
If you are willing to take the time to define a common purpose for your team or organization, you create a situation where you multiply everyone's actions. A common purpose creates lazer focus. It brings the full wieght of the people of the organization to bear on the mission of the company. It is a force multiplier. It will also generate a momentum that can be unstoppable. When you marry your values with your purpose you also have the critical core element to Building a Leadership Culture in place.
The last thought I will leave you with. As individuals, our life's purpose is not to accumulate food and water. Those are necessities to life. Similar can be said about money. Businesses need profits to survive, but if money is the only purpose the leaders have designated for a business, that business will never experience the sustainable growth it is capable of. The people within that company will be devided in their efforts towards making that money.
Effective leadership requires a purpose.
Leadership Coach & Owner at
Agoge Leadership Development LLC
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