Does your leadership team agree on their purpose?

What does your leadership team do? Do they agree on their purpose?  Have you discussed it?

I’ve recently worked with some leadership teams who weren’t clear about their purpose.  Their ideas range from the same purpose/mission of the organization, to supporting the CEO in her decision making, or keeping the CEO updated about their projects. One team was conflicted about their HR-related work (for example, approving business travel for employees) and business development.  If you want to know if you’re being effective, you need a clear purpose, and metrics to know if you’re making a difference.  You also want to get clear if the team members are truly interdependent, or not.  Does their work depend on the tasks of other team members?  If not, the purpose of meeting might just be updates, rather than collective brainstorming and problem solving.  Those updates should be on key issues that might impact other team members and their departments. In addition, there might be other ways to convey updates, unless they require discussion.

If you are interdependent, then you need to get clear on your purpose – what is it that you can achieve as a team that you can’t achieve independently?  Do you need to brainstorm the kind of projects you’re going to pursue, and determine how those projects fit into your mission?  Does the CEO want shared leadership from the team, rather than making the decisions himself?  The purpose of the leadership team should be different from the overall mission of the organization; you have staff to fulfill the mission. 

Your overall purpose is to produce value for your stakeholders.  Here’s a process to help you get clear:

  1. Who are your stakeholders?  That could include staff, vendors, the community, volunteers, etc.
  2. What value are you creating for each vendor?  It could be different for each one.

The value that you’re creating is your purpose.  Once your leadership team gets clarity on that, go through the same activity with your staff to help them determine their purpose, for example, for each department.  Having a sense of purpose is a key motivator and will contribute to your employee engagement.

Your turn: Does your leadership team know and agree on their purpose? 

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