"When you’re surrounded by people who share a passionate commitment around a common purpose, anything is possible." - Howard Schultz, Starbucks
A company’s purpose, values and vision set the direction of the company and ensure team alignment. Building upon our last blog “Why is Senior Team Alignment Important to Organization Health?”, we will take a deeper dive into the first three of six key areas to align your team:
- Purpose: why we exist
- Values: our guiding principles
- Vision: what we aspire to become
Purpose: Why We Exist
Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk on How Great Leaders Inspire Action gives examples from Apple (why they are more innovative), Martin Luther King, Jr. (why HE was the one who led the Civil Rights Movement) and the Wright brothers (why they succeeded over others who were better funded) about creating “why” your company exists. Companies usually are well versed in “what” they do, but not as well versed in “why” they do it.
Making a profit is essential, but still only an outcome of your “why”. Your “why” is your cause, your belief, your purpose! Inspired organizations all think, act and communicate from this inside-out approach of starting with why, then only followed by “how” and “what”.
High-performing teams fulfill their purpose, adhere to their values and achieve their vision. Team members understand the purpose of the team is to deliver results to the organization that makes a difference, so they focus on being accountable for delivering those results.
Apple’s why: “Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo.” Disney’s why: “To use our imagination to bring happiness to millions.” The Heffelfinger Company Why: “To transform leadership around the globe – creating more collaboration, innovation, peace and trust.”
What is your organization's purpose or why does your organization exist? How inspiring is that purpose?
Values: Our Guiding Principles
Values, a much-debated topic, drive behavior. Without stated core organizational values, team members tend to operate on their personal values that may not be aligned with the direction and operation of the organization causing conflict and confusion. If developed intentionally, a set of core organizational values, communicated widely, makes it very clear what standards of behavior are expected of everyone in the organization. They state how the organization operates in relationship to everyone it touches: customers, team members, vendors, shareholders and community.
Creating strong values— AND sticking to them consistently—requires real grit! We suggest that you define a core set of four to six values.
Do you have defined and communicated core values? How aligned is your team on your core values?
The Heffelfinger Company Values:
- Service/Providing Value
- Getting Results
- Honesty & Integrity
- Open Communication
- Teamwork & Collaboration
- Achievement & Recognition FOR our Clients
Vision: What We Aspire to Become
"I'm here to build something for the long-term. Anything else is a distraction." - Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook
A vision inspires action. Getting all employees committed to the organization’s vision increases team alignment. “A vision is a well-articulated picture of what the organization will look like at a point in time in the future: what the organization will be doing, what the community and the press will be saying about it, and how the organization will fulfill its purpose.”¹
In real team alignment, teams fulfill their purpose, adhere to their values, and achieve their vision. A vision helps organizations and teams stay focused and together. Ensuring the organization’s vision is clearly and consistently communicated is critical. If every employee and team has a clear understanding of how their work contributes to the larger goals of the organization, they are more likely to work more aligned and harmoniously to achieve those goals.
The Top Team (the Senior Leadership team) often leads the “Why We Exist Conversation” for the organization, and to do this they need to have their own “Why We Exist” understanding for themselves as a team.
Activity: After you have answered “Why we exist?” have your team answer the following in present tense: Who are we? What do we do? How do we do it?
We do hope you take the time with your team to ask these powerful questions to gain better team alignment so you achieve more together and fulfill your purpose. We are here to help you have these critical conversations with your team/s.
How aligned is your team on Values That Build Trust™ and on its’ Purpose, Values, Vision, Goals, Priorities, and Roles? We are gifting one team alignment survey for one team of your choice through the end of October.
Is YOUR team aligned? Register here for a free Team Alignment survey.
We are here to support you in having these courageous conversations. You can use Ask a Coach or contact us direct firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for a free consultation, or if you want more clarity a no cost assessment.
Lori Heffelfinger and James Jackman