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Setting a Purpose for Your Team

Jun 18, 2021 | 6m

Gain Actionable Insights Into:

  • Getting clear on what common ground means
  • Why purpose shows your teammates (and others) that their work matters
  • Creating shared beliefs within your team

Serving a Useful Purpose

So that we’re on the same page – a theme you’ll see again and again in the Power Read ahead – purpose, in this context, is threefold.

Firstly, purpose is tied to an aspirational aspect, for example, to be the most efficient team. It should also be accompanied with objectives or goals that help to keep you and your team on track to achieving these aspirations.

Next, these objectives should be aligned with your organisation’s larger goals. If shifts in business strategies result in new business goals, your team’s objectives should adapt and change so that they continue to be aligned with the business as a whole.

Lastly, your teammates’ objectives for the work they do as individuals should align with your team’s purpose. This helps them to see how their work supports the organisation and why it matters.

Defining Common Ground

Common sense isn’t always, well, common. What might be crystal clear to you may be something your colleague has not even considered. As a leader, it’s important that you make sure everyone is on the same page – which is why having a shared purpose helps. Once you’ve identified the larger purpose, you and your team can break them down into clear objectives. Explicitly stating this helps to ensure that everyone understands what success looks like.

Consider a situation where a shared purpose hasn’t been defined. With most individuals working remotely, across relatively new digital spaces, it’s easy for your teammates to do things on their own terms, in a direction that makes sense to them. If everyone works on their different paths without a clear map of how these paths converge, frustrations and challenges would inevitably arise.

Worse still, each individual may have their own assumptions of what the purpose is. While their assumptions are valid, they might be completely different. What looks like success to one teammate may barely scratch the surface of groundwork for another. All this breeds unnecessary resentment and frustration that can be avoided if time is taken to set a clear idea of what success looks like – and how each individual contributes to the team’s shared success.

The added bonus of establishing this clarity is that everyone now truly understands their place in the team, and if they’re on track with their work. You no longer have to answer smaller questions because the clear path helps them to make self-assessments more confidently. The clear roles help teammates to see if there may be someone (besides you) they can approach who might be better placed to address their queries. This frees up your time to focus on deep work, such as developing strategy.

Translating Value

Tying your team’s purpose to wider company goals helps other departments and senior management to see how your team brings value in terms that they understand. They see how what you do matters, and over time, this builds a positive impression of your team. If your colleagues had to tell someone else what you did, it wouldn’t simply be ‘marketing’, for instance. They’d be able to say, ‘they drive marketing campaigns that generated leads that helped us to exceed our Q3 targets’.

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Olga Mozaiska

Former Global Performance Marketing & Website Lead

Lindt & Sprüngli



Managing Performance