To perform well, a team needs to know its purpose.
- Why are they here?
- What’s the plan?
- What’s the goal of the company?
- Where is their place in that soup?
Besides taking care of the people, answering these questions is the other side of the manager's job. And while it sounds trivial at first, it is also one of the hardest parts of the manager role.
In many companies, teams work isolated. They don’t look left or right what other departments are doing. They don’t pay attention to how their actions influence each other. They are working on numbers that don’t even reflect the company’s goals or strategy. They don’t have any idea how their work is remotely connected to what the customer needs.
But is this effective…
…does it lead to happy and motivated people that achieve impressive results?
No, it’s not effective. And again, no, it doesn’t create an environment where people do their best work.
People are motivated by seeing what impact their work has on the world. They want to know how the work influences and improves the lives of their customer.
But what can we do to give a team this sense of impact and accomplishment?
A team needs to understand why it’s here. Why do they get up in the morning? The first step to answer this question is to understand the overall strategy of the company, and also how the company is currently doing compared to the strategy.
Therefore, the overall strategy must be transparent. For everybody. And everybody needs to be able to understand it without the help of a C-Level Executive.
This can either be done by publishing regular reports or investing even more effort and explaining the numbers to the teams in a monthly format. This also opens up the possibility to discuss and interpret the numbers together with the team and generate ideas on how to improve those numbers.
When the team has a good understanding of the company's mission, it’s time to talk about its own mission for the team that derives from the company's goal.
Bring the customer closer
Before defining a mission, the team first needs to know who their customer is and what problems this customer has.
- Is it a customer trying to buy something in your online shop?
- Is it a customer care agent that is helping a customer address their issue?
- Is it the accountant doing the taxes for last month?
- Is it a developer trying to ship code?
If you can answer this question, you suddenly have a different view and a different discussion about who your customer is and how you can serve them. Based on these answers, your team is ready to define its mission.
To create a long-term mission for your team, ask the following questions:
- What does your team do?
- How does your team do it and why?
- How is your team influencing the customer?
- What are you trying to help them to achieve or to avoid?
If we take the customer care team, we could come up with something like “to enable a satisfying shopping experience and solve customer problems sustainably by reducing the contact rate per order” or something in that direction.
This statement is far from perfect but tells a lot about how the team wants to be successful and how it improves the lives of their customers.
And don’t worry, your first mission doesn’t have to be perfect. It can and will change over time. When your organization adjusts its mission, it’s also time to rethink yours.
With transparency, a visible goal, and its own mission, your team is well-equipped to work to deliver results for the company.
Now they can tell where their work influences the company, and also how they improve their customer's life.
Remember, this is an ongoing process that you should revisit with your team regularly and that also needs to adapt as the company grows and changes.