How can I make sure everyone is clear about what we want to achieve?

It’s very powerful to think about a team’s purpose from a variety of perspectives.

Different teams have different stakeholders, and you can think about your team’s purpose in relation to each of them.

1) What is the team’s purpose in relation to:

  • Customers or people the organisation supports?
  • Each other in the team?
  • The organisation?
  • The community?

Here is an example of a project team’s one-page strategy where they describe what success looks like from different perspectives.

2) Visualise success

Ask colleagues, “If you woke up in the morning and the world was exactly how you wanted it to be…”:

  • What would it be like?
  • What would people’s lives be like?
  • What would they be doing? With whom, when and where?
  • What is the contribution they can make to the world?

Capture this vision using words, images and colour, and then ask:

  • Which part(s) of this can we make a difference to as a team?
  • How can our team move closer to this vision?
  • What is the contribution we can make to the world?
  • What would we be doing? With whom and to what end?
  • How would we be working together to achieve this vision?

Another visualisation tool is Front Page News. Ask your team which newspaper’s front page they would like to be on in the next three to five years. Then ask them to visualise headlines that describe the difference they made including three stories that illustrate how the team is successful; quotes from influential people describing the difference the team is making; and photos that illustrate this success.

3) Create a Purpose Poster

Another way is to create a Purpose Poster, or visual representation of your written purpose. You can create a picture of your purpose to make it more visually compelling. When you describe the picture and what it means to you, you use both the imaginative and logical centers in your brain. The pictures show you how team members want things to be. Ask people to explain their pictures to the group as you listen carefully.

Here is a purpose poster from a team in Northern Ireland, from Positive Futures, who support families.

A clear sense of purpose is the foundation for team members knowing what they want to achieve. You can then use the doughnut to clarify exactly what the team has to do to achieve their purpose. This book on person-centred teams book explains this in more detail.


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