As someone who is constantly involved in the turnaround of underperforming departments or failing projects one of the first things I do is ensure that the mission and purpose are clearly understood. I cannot overstate the importance of doing this. The number of times I come in and find that there is no clarity of mission, i.e. What it is we are doing, or purpose i.e. Why we are doing it, is literally staggering.
But when you lack clarity in mission and purpose you end up with what I call disorganized chaos, which will come as no surprise. where your teams are busy but not productive. This creates anxiety as your teams don’t understand why their hard effort is not being translated into positive results.
Once you provide clarity and people understand what it is that they need to do, they can better focus and be aligned with the overall direction and strategy and this will translate into results.
If you can provide a strong purpose and people resonate with that purpose, either because it gives them a feeling of achieving something significant or because they can see how they will benefit, then you will start to get ownership.
And ownership is probably the single biggest driver of results and high-performing teams.
You would think that this is pretty obvious, but too often, it is overlooked. As I mentioned, on the majority of failing projects I get asked to take over this is the first thing that I have to fix.
But the mission and purpose need to be shared with everyone, if not then you will still have people unintentionally working against the overall goals and objectives. This is where you get random chaos, as some are working in line with what you want and others not, and as more people start to understand this can move to organized chaos.
This is where structure starts to come into play. The team might not be operating at an optimal level. But it does prepare the ground for teams to increase their efficiency and effectiveness which will help create sustained high-performance levels.
This is why Mission and Purpose are important, because not only do they improve performance but they make it repeatable and sustainable and should be this objective of any leader.
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