How to create a team purpose quickly

How to create a Team Purpose quickly

Read time: 3 minutes

In today’s issue, I will show you a simple process to help a team (or organisation) define its purpose.

The Purpose is the reason why the team (or organisation) is there. Why it was created. Why it's needed.

Teams that don’t live and breath their purpose have zero chance of reaching their full potential.

Most teams don’t bother spending the time to create their purpose though.

Many point to the fancy purpose created by XYZ Consultants for a bucket load of money back in the day believing that’s enough to focus their thousands of employees.

It’s not.

Every team needs their own purpose created by themselves.

Only then will they truly feel like it’s THEIR purpose and not something forced on them by someone else.

Those who know why they do what they do work smarter - Simon Sinek

The process I’m sharing with you today helps your team co-create their purpose in only 1 hour.

The benefits of this workshop are:

  • It helps a team figure out why they exist.
  • It focuses the team on their mission.
  • They get inspiration from other successful companies and use that to create their own unique reason for being.
  • The end result is a visual representation of their purpose they can proudly display in their workspace.

Here's how to get started, step by step:

Step 1 - Think

Start your workshop by asking your team to think about these questions for 5 minutes.

  • What are our goals as a team?
  • What benefits are we bringing to our organisation?
  • What benefits are we bringing to the world?

No talking allowed. Thinking must be done in silence to ensure “group thinking” doesn’t take over.

What will develop is a wide range of ideas as each person goes off on their own little journey in search of their why.

Step 2 - Write & Share

Invite them to write their thoughts on post-its and put them on a wall so everyone can see them.

Ask each person to share their most important thought.

Go around the room asking for more thoughts until most (or all) have been shared.

Step 3 - Craft Team Purposes

Share some examples of some famous company purposes. So people can see what a finished purpose looks like.

Feel free to bring your own. Here are a few to get you started:

Patagonia: "To build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”

Tesla: "To accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy.”

Microsoft: "To empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.”

Airbnb: "To help create a world where anyone can belong anywhere.”

Google: "To organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

Apple: "To bring the best user experience to its customers through its innovative hardware, software, and services.”

Split the room into groups of 2-4 people. Challenge the groups to create a Team Purpose in 20 minutes with no more than 20 words.

Ask each group to share their Team Purpose.

Step 4 - Consolidate to form The Team Purpose

Challenge the whole group to consolidate the purposes from the previous step into one.

Give them 20 minutes max.

Celebrate your achievement of creating your new collective Team Purpose and display it proudly in your team area for all to marvel at.

Using this process, I never have to worry about whether teams truly understand why they do what they do.

Instead, it becomes a simple process of confusion → workshop → enlightenment → results.

Well, that’s it for today.

I hope you enjoyed it.

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About the Author

Nick Martin helps leaders & consultants improve team results with resources, advice & coaching through