Why agree a team purpose statement?
Teams need to understand the true reason they’re doing what they’re doing and have clear goals to guide their progress. Without this it’s difficult to steer a group of people in the same direction.
The first thing people (customers and potential candidates alike) want to know about a business is it’s purpose, it helps them understand why the company exists and form an opinion about it. It’s what you stand for as a business and therefore has a huge impact on the bottom line.
Agreeing a team purpose statement is one of the 7 habits of highly effective teams.
What's needed for this exercise?
Book an hour with your team. Let them know they’ll need to bring a smartphone or laptop along with them to participate. If your team is remote, just have them dial in.
How does it work?
You all contribute ideas about what you do as a team, who you do it for, and why. You'll use these group-sourced ideas to discuss and craft a single purpose statement that gives meaning to your work. Let's get started:
If you're a Saberr customer, you can add this as an interactive exercise to your next team meeting to make the whole process super easy. The platform will guide you through this exercise step by step.
1. Set the scene
The aim of the session is to develop a statement that reflects our collective purpose and to discuss how we will embed this purpose in our day to day activity. Good is better than perfect.
2. Ideate: What do we do?
Each person spend 5 mins answering the question "What do we do as a team?" Think about the unique value you create. Write each idea or answer on a separate post-it note or card. Make as many suggestions as you like.
Vote on the cards you like the most. Limit yourself to 3-5 votes each.
3. Ideate: Who for?
Next repeat the process answering the question, "Who do we do our work for?" Think about who really benefits from what you do. Again, write each idea or answer on a separate post-it note or card making as many suggestions as you like and vote on your favourites.
3. Ideate: Why?
Finally repeat the process a third time answering the question, "Why do we do what we do?" Think about the end result, the bigger picture. Same deal as before, write individual cards snd vote on the ones you like the most.
4. Sort by votes
Sort each group's ideas by the most voted. Notice the different perspectives within the team. Why might that be? Discuss themes that are emerging. Spend about 15mins understanding the different emerging or competing themes.
5. Write a single statement
It's useful to start from the format we've created: "We do <something> for <somebody> so that <something>", but it's your team and your purpose, so make it meaningful. Try and draw together the best ideas from the cards into a single statement. If you like you can create two or three options. But get it down to a single statement by the end.
Once you've written your statement, ask yourself - is this meaningful for me? Or does it sound like a generic corporate soundbite? If it's not quite right, try going back and thinking about what really drives you and injecting a bit of life into the lacklustre parts.
e.g. if you're a marketing and branding agency and the final part of your statement is "...for our customers", try thinking about your most exciting clients and change it to something more motivating for your team. So "our customers" might become "for the leading brands in the world".
6. Create a ritual
Once you have a purpose statement that reflects your ideas it's critical to bring this to life by developing a ritual. As a next step you can use the exercise "Developing a Ritual" to explore how you embed purpose in your team.