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3 Steps to Establish a Compelling Senior Team Purpose

Let’s imagine you have decided you want your team to buzz with a sense of purpose.

You want a team who are energised by a compelling sense of importance in what they are achieving together.

Your intention is to create a team where what they achieve together is at least as important as what they achieve as individuals.

Could this be you? Can you find that intention within you, in relation to your team?

So, what is the single most important aspect of creating a team? How to find a compelling team purpose.

Here are the three steps achieve this:

Step One

Explain to your team that the research on senior teams shows that leaders are usually over challenged as individual members, but under challenged as a team. Commonly, the work they do together, achieving something as a collective, is a small part of their world.

Why is that a problem? Senior teams who become collective decision making units, where the work they do together is understood to be extremely important, lead more successful organisations.

Also explain that if the team does not create clarity on that purpose, performance of the team will be hampered. Poorly performing senior teams consider their work to be challenging, but have not created a sense of clarity about what that challenge is.

Don’t assume that just because they know the organisation mission statement, they have clarity on the teams purpose. They are two different things.

Step Two

List the critical things that your team could do, that ONLY this team could do. Ask these questions:

  • “What is mission critical, but could not reasonably be done elsewhere?”
  • “What important things might slip through our fingers, if the team did not attend to it?”
  • “What do we need each other to do?”

Step Three

Find the themes in your list.

Describe each theme in a compelling way, so that it gives a dynamic description of a priority of your senior team. How many priorities should you have? A small number! Having facilitated this process for many senior teams, I recommend the list not be more than about 4 things.

Ensure your team purpose is Clear, Challenging and Consequential.

I recommend you make steps two and three a facilitated session with your senior team. It’s a fabulous session to have someone run for you, so that everybody can contribute.

Moving Forward

Now that you have your purpose, re-design the agenda of your meetings. Your meetings should bear a highly visible connection to your purpose.

Ensure you prioritise issues that relate strongly to the purpose of the team, and engage in active problem solving on those matters. Deliberately and openly push items that do not relate to your team purpose to other forums for consideration.

Do you have any questions about implementing these steps with your team, or would you like to share the results you have noticed after applying them? We’d love to hear them in the comments below :)




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