It’s not enough to have a mission or a vision statement. It’s not enough to post these statements on the walls. And it’s not even enough to periodically read these statements aloud.
Our purpose, our reasons for being, our “why” must be something we focus on daily.
Organizations that thrive do so largely because their employees believe in the purpose – and in reality have a shared purpose. But for this to happen, the purpose must actually be talked about regularly. The purpose needs to be ingrained in the “way we do things around here”. And the only way for this to happen is if that purpose is talked about frequently.
Ironically, I’ve seen senior leaders in closed-door sessions become passionate about an organization’s purpose, but then they’ll leave the room and not talk about it with their staff.
When organizational leaders keep the purpose to themselves, they are missing a huge opportunity. They are not recognizing that the only way to see their organization’s purpose manifested is by having all employees be a part of it – by having everyone who is connected to the organization embrace and be proud of its purpose.
Rallying around a shared purpose begins with leadership. Leaders need to be passionate about our purpose and share this excitement everywhere we can – particularly when we have opportunities to do so in person. No one has ever been inspired by an organization’s purpose without a leader passionate about it. As leaders, if we want employees to be excited about our purpose, it must begin with us.
We must work to inspire others about our purpose by expressing our passion for the organization – what it does and why it exists. When we are able to do this effectively, we will inspire and energize people to work towards a common goal. By including everyone we will have a more shared purpose – one we can all work towards.
How do we put this in practice at ACHIEVE and CTRI? Our leadership is always mindful of opportunities to bridge connections between what we do day to day and how that impacts and fits with our purpose. We ask questions like, “How does this project impact our purpose?” In performance review meetings with our employees we ask question like, “How are you contributing to our organization’s purpose?”
Purpose is not something we should only talk about once a year. Rather it is a beacon and pillar in our daily actions and decisions. And thus, it needs to be, it must be, communicated often and loudly!