027: As One, Part 2: Why Do You Exist?
Release Date: 06/18/2019
In this As One podcast series, we talk about why organizational alignment matters.
If the organization or team that you lead is not aligned around specific, critical issues, your experience is going to be a rough ride.
In this episode, we talk about the value of your team being specific, clear, and aligned around why you do what you do.
In their classic work, Built to Last, Jim Collins and Jerry Porras recognize that healthy, enduring organizations are incredibly clear on the fundamental reason they exist.
Know Your Why
If your team lacks alignment around the reason that your organization exists, you’ll see a lack of unity and direction. Ultimately, a lack of alignment yields a demoralized and unmotivated workforce. Your team may be functional but will never be highly productive.
Your team wants, actually needs, a compelling vision. What are you doing to make the world a better place, even if only for a small group of people? A compelling ‘why’ is the thing that encourages team buy-in. People want to feel that they are a part of something larger than themselves, something that offers significance for their investment. Passion is easily lost in an organization without a significant reason for your team to participate in the vision.
Money is Not a Good ‘Why’
Some organizations exist solely to make money for the principals and shareholders. Unless you have a remarkable profit-sharing plan for your team, this is probably not going to be the kind of vision that gets them out of bed in the morning. Making money is simply an indicator of success, not a compelling reason for existence.
Vision Statements Are Not Marketing Tools
Your marketing department can’t craft compelling vision statements; they can contribute, but your “why” has to be more than a marketing tool. It must represent the heart of your vision in order for people to give themselves to it with any measure of integrity.
Questions to Ask Yourself and Your Team
A couple of questions should help jumpstart your “why do we exist?” conversation:
- What can we do to make the world a better place? And, for whom are we making it better?
- What is possible while staying within the boundaries of our greatest strengths and passions?
- Exemplary Client Service: We exist to make the world better for our clients.
- Industry Specific: for example, hospitality. Disney exists to offer individuals the ultimate in guest hospitality.
- Greater Cause: I have a client whose professional endeavors helps them create excess wealth that feeds causes. Near and dear to their heart is a desire to make the world safer for children without parents and victims and targets of trafficking.
- Community: I helped a client define the following 'why’ for their organization: “We exist to improve the communities in which we work by implementing proven environmental solutions that protect human health and the environment, and encourage sustainable social and economic development.”
- Employee Benefit: Some companies exist to create extraordinary cultures and opportunities for their employees. Barry-Wehmiller is an exceptional example of this, and Bob Chapman tells their story is his book, Everybody Matters.
- Wealth Creation: This is not typically compelling for your team members, but if this is your vision, state it clearly. People need to know what they are buying into.
Coming to alignment is not a fast-food type of encounter—it takes time to define and clarify. The process is messy as ideas are introduced and debated. Give yourself the gift of time and effort to create critical alignment. It will save you time, drama, and confusion in the long run.
If your organization is suffering from a lack of alignment, connect with me for a free, complimentary conversation about our organizational health process. It won’t cost you more than 30 minutes of your time to find out if some feedback would be valuable for you and your team.
Connect with me on social media! Direct message me on Instagram or Twitter. I’d love to know how these podcasts are encouraging your team’s results.
Until next time, lead well!
If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Danny Ozment.
He helps thought leaders, influencers, executives, HR professionals, recruiters, lawyers, realtors, bloggers, coaches, and authors create, launch, and produce podcasts that grow their business and impact the world.
Find out more at https://emeraldcitypro.com