What is your organization’s true purpose? Do you post your purpose?
Without a fundamental purpose, organizations cannot steer efforts in any general direction. Employees need a reason to serve, shared goals, a common cause and focus. They to know what their organization stands for so they can embrace its stance. This is the foundation of a strong culture.
As John Coleman wrote in HBR, there are Six Components of a Great Corporate Culture:
- A unifying vision or mission that fashions one’s purpose and plans
- A code of values that influences behavior and mindsets
- Practices that support and enhance need people
- A recruiting process that matches people to the desired culture
- A celebrated heritage that tells the company’s story and what it stands for
- A beneficial working environment to optimize synergy
Leaders are charged with creating a vision of the company’s future. They’re required to disseminate and promote it so others can fall in line. Purpose or mission statements are noble callings to serve, respond to and meet the public’s needs.
A purpose can tell a story, hinge on a legacy or chase a dream. Each unites people as they endeavor to achieve something together. Culture is enhanced by accomplishing something that’s possible only when everyone shares the same purpose.
But here’s the thing: effective leaders know that hitting people over the head with mission statements causes more harm than good. In the organizations where I consult, I see people respond best to small, frequent, unobtrusive reminders of their purpose. Offer frequent encouragement and feedback.
When this topic comes up with my coaching clients we discuss the importance of honing vital skills to:
- Clearly state individual and collective priorities. People want to know what’s expected of them.
- Overstate priorities to ensure everyone is in sync. There’s no need to be forceful or indignant. Aim for supportive and motivational.
- Provide high-feedback training. This allows people to fail and find ways to improve. Culture blooms when people are empowered to learn and grow. Be sure to celebrate small victories.