A global survey with 26k respondents conducted by Linked In shows that purpose is becoming a more and more important factor in the workplace globally, with more and more employees putting a premium on jobs that allow them to connect to a purpose. It is, therefore, no surprise that people are increasingly looking for jobs that give them personal fulfilment; and companies are seeing that purpose-oriented employees are more productive and successful. This is certainly my own experience, having worked for Unilever for many years, a purpose-driven organisation.Purpose-driven organisations have defined a planned, strategic and carefully managed intersection between what they do and the positive impact it has on people’s lives and the world around them. The purpose is the ‘why’ of what we do. It is aspirational, gives direction and a lot of energy. Or as Simon Sinek says, it is what gets you out of bed every morning.
You might wonder what purpose has to do with doing business. It turns out that purpose is good for business. Take Unilever as an example. The Unilever brands who took action and supported the positive change for society or the planet, grew 69% faster than the rest of the business and delivered 75% of the growth.
Purpose is key to exceptional team performance and greater well being: purpose-driven teams are more productive, attract the best talent, and have more engaged employees. They are also better at innovation and more adaptive to change. Employees within teams are more connected, better able to overcome conflicts and tensions and have stronger relationships when they are united behind a common purpose.
To understand your team’s purpose you need to answer two fundamental questions: ‘Who are we’, that is, ‘What are our authentic and distinctive strengths?’ and ‘What need do we fulfil in society, or ‘What do we bring to society beyond what we make, do or sell'?
Purpose can bring a huge amount of human energy into a team, but it only works if it’s authentic and deeply embedded. Take the time with your team to define and articulate your purpose, and find ways to embed it in the core of your work. Only then will you have a purpose with the power to elevate team and company performance.
Here are 4 steps to bring purpose to life:
1. Define – uncover the team’s distinctive strengths and the positive impact it wants to make.
2. Articulate – craft an inspirational purpose elevator pitch.
3. Activate & communicate – walk the talk, what does it mean for the team to embody the purpose in words and actions?
4. Embed – bring purpose to the core of your team performance by measuring and reviewing the progress, milestones and results.
Purpose is one of the five elements that help leaders to drive high team performance. To discover the other four, download Building a Climate for Teams to Thrive: A Guide for Leaders.