There was a team of one hundred. They were responsible for the customer experience of a company. These were one hundred super smart and talented individuals. You would recognize their credentials and hire them into your own company. They worked hard everyday and were paid in kind for their commitment. This team of one hundred over the years wandered into mediocrity. They never stopped working hard; they didn’t lose their intelligence or commitment. They also never differentiated the customer experience for their company.
Slowly over the years the team dwindled. As time moved on the A players left. This left B players, who recruited C and D players. The company never delivered on its promise and it’s customers left for a competitor. The company eventually began to struggle financially. A few years after the team of one hundred were recruited; the company closed its doors. Why did one hundred of the smartest, most committed, and talented people fail the company?
The team had no true purpose. Many will say yes they did, they were the customer experience team. Let us contemplate how a stated purpose and aa true Purpose are different. Also let us consider a stated purpose is just words on a page. A true purpose becomes the DNA of a team.
A true purpose permeates every level of a team. It becomes the oxygen the team members breathe. It is their state of being. What happens when your oxygen is cut off, you suffocate. What do you do before you suffocate? You fight to get your oxygen back. If a team’s true purpose is permeated and is the oxygen of each member, then no one team member will ever be successful at pulling down the true purpose.
So you might ask, what can I do to ensure my team has true purpose? Here are a few things to consider:
- Be the voice of true purpose in your team – Everyone should be the CEO of his or her career and role. Individuals have immense influencing power. Don’t be afraid to be the voice that inspires your team to a true purpose beyond what is stated. We need not be afraid to share our ideas, as it might be your idea is the one idea everyone can rally around.
- Steer Clear of Informed Mediocrity – There was a popular television show out years ago. One character had to push a button every 48 hours. This character was told the world depended on it. So he never stopped pushing the button. How often do we just do what has always been done? Do we respectfully question the status quo? Or do we just push the button, because we want the paycheck?
- True purpose starts with You – If an individual is looking for a company or a job to give them their purpose, they do not have it. True purpose starts with each individual thinking about who they are, what they want, what are their core values, and what motivates them. You must have a true purpose yourself to truly realize the great potential of a true purpose at work.
Now imagine that when those one hundred individuals were hired. Imagine that they received a true purpose like Amazon, which is to be “The Earth’s Most Customer Centric Company”. Amazon decided early on that it was not good enough to be the best in their industry or geography. They started with an ambitious true purpose. If you track Amazon since their founding in 1994 until today, you can see how their company has benefitted from growing and delivering on that true purpose.
What if those one hundred or if your team had a true purpose that everyone rallied around? What if that true purpose became a war cry that inspired the team and became their oxygen everyday. I would submit that the customer experience team of one hundred and your own teams would be able to reach a potential true purpose beyond what was thought possible.
So my question is what are you going to do to find true purpose and make it a reality for you and your team?