When I work with leadership teams, I challenge them on the extent to which they have a shared sense of team purpose. The superficial answer to that is quite easy – ‘Sure we do. We lead the organisation. Next question?’
And when we talk more about what it really means to have a shared purpose, their responses change…
Individual members of leadership teams often see themselves as heading a division, rather than co-leading an organisation. (Interesting word – ‘division’. Ever thought about the etymology of the word division? It comes from the Latin ‘dividere’ – to divide, or, the process of separation.) How does that encourage the collaboration we need for success in today’s organisations?
A clear and shared team purpose allows priorities to be set and confident decisions to be made. With clarity of purpose, the team is energised and focused on pulling in the same direction.
There are three levels of purpose – individual purpose, team purpose and organisational purpose. Typically I find that there is a clear organisational purpose. Each team member may have a strong personal purpose – their personal ‘why’. It’s the layer in the middle that’s weaker – team purpose.
When there is a strong alignment between these three levels of purpose, challenges can be overcome and team members can hold each other to account.
A strong team purpose is owned by team members and experienced by others in the organisation.
Fearless Leadership teams have a strong and shared sense of purpose.
So a question for you now… On a scale of one to ten, where one is ‘what’s purpose mean?’ and ten is ‘we are all 100% clear and aligned’, ‘how strong is your leadership team’s sense of purpose?’