How to Create a Team Purpose Statement in Three Steps (and Why)

By PeopleLeaders | People Leaders Podcast

How to Create a Team Purpose Statement in Three Steps (and Why) PL

It’s fair to say that most organisations have a Purpose Statement, Mission Statement or something that determines the company's’ scope of operations and direction. However, though they need just as much clarity and direction (or perhaps more!), it’s rare that individual teams within organisations have their own distinct Purpose Statements. In this post (and this podcast episode), we explain why Team Purpose Statements are such a great idea for your team and organisation as a whole. And, we reveal three simple steps for creating your own. You can also download a template ‘Team Purpose Statement – How To Guide’ here.

Bring clarity and focus to your team and understanding within your organisation

Creating a Team Purpose Statement is a useful practice for several reasons. It prompts you to ask important questions like: What’s the real reason we're here? What are we going to focus on? Who are we doing it for and why? Are we helping to move the organisation closer to achieving its strategic goal? The result is refocused clarity and direction in situations where:

  • organisational change is afoot
  • multiple stakeholders must be managed
  • work becomes unclear
  • new team members need to quickly get up to speed.

Often, in the same organisation, one manager might liaise with another manager yet not have a clear notion of what the other team does. Just imagine the benefits of every team having their Purpose Statement available for every other team and letting stakeholders know exactly what you do.

Three simple steps to creating your Team Purpose Statement

#1 - Describe what your team does

In five or six words or sentences, write down what your team does, what it delivers or what it produces. If your team delivers or produces several things, choose the one which accounts for 80% of the work focus. For example, ‘Our team delivers financial reports’.

#2 – Who are you doing it for?

Clarify who your most important stakeholder is by establishing who has most to gain or lose by your success. For example, are you producing financial reports for an internal stakeholder or an end customer? Be clear about who you need to be walking arm in arm with. Focus on key partnerships.

#3 - Why are we doing what we do?

Ask yourself, ‘What is the final impact for the end user of our product or service?’ In this way, you're creating a clear thread that shows how what you do is important, and how it impacts the final customer. For example, ‘We produce financial reports so our customers can receive timely quality investment information’.

Note: Make sure the language in your Team Purpose Statement isn’t marketing speak. It should be practical, simple and explicit so that anyone can pick it up and understand what your team does.

Micro Tip: We suggest managers create the first draft of a Team Purpose Statement and then invite the team to comment, edit or review. Some people need to have a starting point in front of them to critique, evaluate and expand upon.

Micro Tip: In a team meeting, try explaining that you’re conducting an experiment to see whether or not all team members are on the same page in terms of ‘Our Purpose’ and ‘Why We're Here’. Hand out yellow sticky notes and ask them to write down what they think the team does and why. Remember to keep things anonymous. Then, as a team, group the sticky notes into themes and create your Team Purpose Statement together. It’s a nice team building activity and members will have a sense of ownership.

Put up the Team Purpose Statement for all to see

Particularly in open plan environments, it's great to have a visual reminder of what each team does. In this way, everyone can see the connections.

Having a Team Purpose Statement is essential in a demanding and ever changing environment. It allows teams and individuals in teams to ensure their focus is on delivering the right things to the right people at the right time in the right way.

And remember you can access a template ‘Team Purpose Statement – How To Guide’ here. And please, let us know how you go.

Bring clarity and focus to your team and understanding within your organisation. #leadership #teambuilding #management