Engage Your Employees When Developing Your Purpose
If you want employees to know and, more importantly, live the Purpose of your company, get them involved while creating it. When you engage your employees throughout the process of developing your purpose, it helps the purpose get "into their bones."
Don't limit developing your purpose to a select group. If you do, you'll miss this great opportunity to engage your employees in this extremely important conversation.
You will find that the power of getting the Purpose into the organization comes from the repetition of discussing the Purpose as part of the normal routine of work. Here are 3 key thoughts that can help you adopt this powerful approach.
Months may not be appealing to you, because you want this done and move on to other issues. For something as important as Purpose, consistent discussion of the meaning of the words helps plant the seed in their mind.
Can it be done in days? Always possible, but I believe it is highly unlikely. My experience is repetition is best when working on important issues. And purpose, values, strategy, and goals need to be repeated early and often.
Instead of days to get this into people's minds, it will be months. In fact, a good rule of thumb is - when you are sick and tire of talking about Purpose, that is likely the point when many people begin to listen. If you want this to be quick, then just write a purpose and put it on the wall. That is all it will be - a document on the wall.
It is up to you on when you want a final statement or slogan. Let everyone know what that date is. Hopefully, the date is far enough in the future to give people multiple times to talk about it and make revisions.
Perfect is the enemy of good. And, perfect is the enemy of productivity!
The creative process works best when you ACT - LEARN - ADJUST (ALA). Make sure that you apply ALA to creating your Purpose too. Create your first draft and give it to the people. If you want, start working on new thoughts and ideas for the second draft. But, don't put out the next draft until you get feedback from them.
In the beginning you are looking for reasonable and workable ideas. As you continue your discussions and refine the words, you can become more selective. At some point declare that the current draft is acceptable as written until someone comes up with a great idea.
The discussion about the Purpose is the key to the process. Ask or even require that all meetings include a short Purpose discussion, preferably at the beginning. If done at the beginning, it will engage your employees in developing your purpose and set the tone for topics that follow.
Make sure you dedicate time to go to meetings to hear the group discussions. That will help you understand why they are suggesting changes.
A Simple Process to Use
Alter the times shown below to fit your particular situation. The key is to provide enough time to engage your employees in the discussion. Keep in mind that when you are developing your purpose - repeat, repeat, repeat!
- Develop a draft purpose—use the ideas in course 2 - Motivate Right Results with Purpose
- Provide a draft to your organization—propose it as a starter kit
- Make the purpose discussion a part of all meetings, especially recurring team meetings
- Discuss changes and complete revisions at the first few meetings—allow wholesale changes
- Discuss refinements in following meetings as the basic purpose takes shape
- Declare a working draft when few or no changes are offered
- Operate with the working draft for 3 to 6 months
- Revisit the draft in 3 months and 6 months; propose and ask for changes
- After 6 to 9 months declare the Purpose as official
- Revisit at least every 12 months