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When creating high-performing teams, it is important to have everyone aligned to a single purpose. This will cement the team’s understanding and create alignment and higher performance.

To begin the process of alignment and purpose-creation, start by hosting a meeting to answer the question, ‘Why do we exist as a team’? Whilst this on the surface seem like a no-brainer question it’s important for everyone to be clear on this.

A team purpose statement defines the team and describes why it exists – keeps everyone moving in the same direction and shows team members what they are aiming for and how their efforts are worthwhile.

It acts as a team vision, helping the team refocus and serving as a touchstone for decision making and day to day behaviour. According to Dan Pink in his book Drive: What Motivates Us, a sense of purpose is one of peoples three intrinsic motivators. Purpose is the desire to do something that has meaning and is important. Dan Pink states that businesses that only focus on profits without valuing purpose will end up with poor customer service and unhappy employees!

Use this process as a guide:

  • Start the meeting by asking everyone in the team to share their thoughts on the following three questions:
    • What does this team do?
    • Who are we doing it for?
    • Why are we doing what we do?
  • Ask everyone “apart from your own, which statements resonated with you most”
  • Pick the statements that there was some energy towards, as a starting point and use them to create a single purpose statement
  • Wordsmith with the group until you and your team are happy with the statement

Some examples of a team purpose are:

  • We produce financial reports so our customers can receive timely quality investment information
  • We provide quality and reliable maintenance services to the plant to ensure safety and efficient operation

Once you have the team process captured, fill it in on your team charter and make sure every team meeting starts with a review of the purpose.

Scott Erskine

Scott Erskine

Scott has successfully delivered leadership and performance solutions for management across a number of industries including retail, resources, construction, government and finance and has worked with organistions such as BHP Billiton, Woodside, Rio Tinto, Veolia, Western Power, GESB, Ramsay Healthcare, Police & Nurses Mutual Banking, Flight Centre, and the Australian Defence Forces.