A simple guide for leaders on bringing your team together to fulfill a higher purpose.
Your team has a purpose beyond making profits.
The question is... how do you bring everyone on your team together to bring the purpose to life? In other words, how can you create a movement within your team?
The following is a simple framework for creating such movements.
Let’s get started.
Before a successful purpose-driven movement can start, you must have clarity of your WHY, your WHERE, and your HOW.
Simon Sinek explains this well in his TED talk How great leaders inspire action:
By WHY, I mean: What’s your purpose? What’s your case?What’s your belief? Why does your organization exist? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? And why should anyone care?
Where is your team headed?
The WHERE is the future your team wants to create along with what it aspires to be.
Lastly, by HOW, I don’t mean HOW on the strategy level, but rather on a philosophical level.
HOW represents the values and beliefs that guide the way you do things. It is your way of doing things to fulfill your WHY and reach your WHERE.
A Hollywood-inspired Framework
Lights, camera, and action. These are the three essential things for the filming of a scene to start.
Similarly, there are three essential things to start a movement of change.
Understanding: your team has a deep understanding of the WHY, WHERE and HOW.
Connection: your team understands how the work they do connect to the purpose.
Action: your team has the tools to drive the decisions and actions with purpose. Your team has developed the habits to enable purposeful actions.
Understanding, connection, and action. Remember this as a simple framework for igniting a purpose-driven movement within your team.
Let’s go through them in a bit more detail.
First, build an understanding of the change your team aims to create.
It’s a noisy world. Communicate with clarity and simplicity. Present a logical and persuasive case to win their minds.
Winning their minds is only half of the story. Equally important, connect with them on an emotional level. Move them. Win their hearts.
Here’s a list of tools to help you communicate and build an understanding of the purpose behind your movement.
- Films and videos
No matter what mix of tools you choose to use, remember to win not just their minds, win their hearts.
Here is the parable of the bricklayer as told by Angela Duckworth from her book GRIT: Why passion and resilience are the secrets to success:
Three bricklayers are asked: “What are you doing?” The first says, “I am laying bricks.” The second says, “I am building a church.” The third says, “I am building the house of God.”
Here is the famous NASA story as told by Mark Zuckerberg from his Harvard commencement address:
One of my favorite stories is when John F. Kennedy visited the NASA space center, he saw a janitor carrying a broom and he walked over and asked what he was doing. The janitor responded: “Mr. President, I’m helping put a man on the moon.”
In both stories the protagonists understand how the work they do everyday ladders up to the higher purpose.
It tells us that we must help our team for a connection between what they do and the higher purpose. Set up the time and space for the team to reflect and envision how their work connects to the purpose.
Now that your team has gained a deeper understanding and made the connection, it’s time to focus on bringing the purpose into action.
In the movies of Pirates of the Caribbean, Captain Jack Sparrow always looks to his compass to know where he should be headed next.
Likewise, you must equip your organization with the equivalent of a compass, a tool that guides you and makes sure your actions and decisions are consistent with your purpose.
Create a purpose compass. It could be as a simple checklist for your decisions and actions to make sure they are aligned with your purpose.
Next, cultivate habits that point everyone to the purpose. There is no point having a shiny North Star no one looks to.
Here a few ways to make celebrating your purpose and values habitual.
- Hold annual events: designate a day in the year to celebrate your purpose and values.
- Create annual publications: create a yearbook-like publication every year to celebrate and reflect on your purpose and values and how they came alive that year.
- Make workshops part of your process: hold workshops before/after a project or at regular intervals for team members to think about and reflect on purpose and values.
Two takeaways here. Equip your team with a purpose compass. Build habits the orient your team to your purpose.
Purpose + People = Movements
You can design and create, and built the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality. - Walt Disney
The heart of movements is people.
Help them understand the purpose. Help them connect to the purpose. Help them put purpose in action.
This is how a movement starts.
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