Ask a Coach
Q: I hear all the time about the importance of helping my team align around the purpose in the work. Why is it important, and how do I help my team find their purpose?
Alignment on team purpose (i.e., the specific interdependent work of this team) is key to team effectiveness. It often surprises clients to know that, according to research, problems in the team around interpersonal tensions or work missing the mark, for example, are often rooted in misalignment on the team’s purpose. In order to ensure such alignment, I will often work with a leader to create a detailed draft of what they believe the purpose to be, asking questions like:
- What does the team exist to do?
- For what outcome?
- By doing what?
I will coach the leader to present that purpose to their team and solicit feedback from the team, asking:
- What resonates?
- What is missing?
This process helps not only to lead to alignment, but also creates buy-in from the team. Finally, the leader, or even a team member, will redraft the purpose with the suggestions. The purpose, once finalized, should act as an anchor for all decisions made and work done by the team. Ensuring team alignment is a massive indicator of a team’s effectiveness.
— Juliane Corman, Torch Executive Coach
This article was featured in the Torch People Development newsletter, Curiouser. Each month, we deliver the latest research, stories, questions, and insights about the art and science of people development to your inbox. Sign-up and join a community of people passionate about growth, learning and leadership.