Nigel McPolin
Founder, etimes2 ltd

The team is a crucial component within the overall organisational structure.  It is the basic unit of performance in most organisations.  It is the level at which productivity and performance levels can be best assessed against targets.  This is why team purpose is a must do activity for all organisations and managers.

 

We are delighted to provide you with this free activity to help you structure and deliver a high impact team purpose session with your team.

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The Purpose of a Team

The purpose of creating teams within an organisation is to provide a framework that allows employees to work effectively, contribute to problem solving and to deliver great customer service.  Increasing the participation of each member in all the component team activities will result in increased productivity, performance, better decision making, increased customer loyalty and so on.

 

So, your main task as a team manager is to define team purpose.

 

Why is Team Purpose Important?

Have you ever found yourself putting a lot of time and effort into an activity and then wonder ‘why am I doing this?’  You could not see the purpose in the activity.

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Team purpose is important because once the team has a sense of its purpose, all activities and tasks can be connected directly to it.  A compelling purpose gives your team members something to be passionate about and to be inspired by.

 

Team purpose provides your team with direction and motivation.  It gives team members a sense of what high performance means and looks like in your team.  Purpose gives your team a context and a meaning by highlighting the contributions made to the overall organisational objectives.

 

Activity: Define a Clear Team Purpose Statement

The aim of this activity is to have a clear and concise team purpose statement that can be posted up for all members to see.  The idea is that, unlike many distant company mission statements, the team purpose statement is written by team members in the language they understand and feel motivated by.

 

Step 1

Divide your team into smaller groups.  You want more than one draft team purpose statement.  For example, if you have 10 team members, you could have 3 groups.

 

Step 2

When the small groups have been established, explain that you want each small group to create what they feel is a team purpose statement they can look at every day and feel motivated by.

 

The team purpose statement must not exceed 2 concise sentences and must not contain any details like targets, data, numbers or written objectives.

 

You can give them the following questions to consider when drafting their purpose statement:

  • What contribution do we make to the organisation that no one else can do as well?
  • Where are we going as a team?
    • What is the most important thing for the unit to focus on in the future?
  • What makes us special?
  • How do we want to describe ourselves?
  • How do we want to be seen and perceived by:
    • Our customers
    • Our colleagues in other teams
    • Our senior management

 

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Step 3

When the small groups have returned their initial draft purpose statements, consider each of these as a whole team.  Identify the pieces of each that work well and should be considered for the final purpose statement.  Also identify and remove the parts that do not work.

 

Clearly mark both.

 

Step 4

Reduce the number of small groups.  If you started with 3, then you should now have 2.  Ask the small groups to create draft team purpose statements based on the discussion held in Step 3.

 

Repeat Step 3 when the latest statements are returned.

 

Step 5

Create a final Team Purpose Statement as a full team focusing on all the discussions held so far and on the parts of the draft statements that motivated the group.

 

Ask each team member for a statement of commitment to the purpose statement (or just ask them to sign the flipchart page it is written on!)

 

Step 6

Thank and reward the team for their contributions and input.  Commit to having the statement properly designed and printed for display where you work.

How do you get your team members to understand and commit to the purpose of your team?
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