Bring any group of people together to achieve a common goal and you face immediate challenges. These can range from personal agendas to prejudices, old rivalries or just plain inability to trust. And this doesn’t have to be restricted the workplace either. In my experience, social clubs, sports teams – amateur and professional – council groups of all kinds. It almost seems to be human nature.
So, what’s the answer? The clear winner is to ensure that every single person involved buys into having a unified purpose. This has been the watchword of successful Leaders from Alexander the Great to Nelson Mandela, bringing people together and uniting them through a determined dedication to achieving a purpose.
Interestingly, because of the way in which our minds work, we may all be committing to that one purpose but for different reasons and so the key is to use the one vision and then “sell it in” through understanding the individual values, needs and drivers of each person in the group. In order to do this, we need to get to know those individuals, find out what is truly important to them, learn to respect it and embrace it so that we can marry it to the purpose we want them to connect with.
At a business level, that can be the mission and vision of the organisation or the goals of the team, which we then language in such a way that they become personally relevant to each individual and so that they, in turn, can see how they can contribute.
The same applies in the arena of sport. Each player on a team has their own inner driver and the job of the Team Coach is partly to get those individual drivers aligned to the purpose of the team – to win. Even the winning can be made to serve a greater purpose, which can be about national pride and recognition.
As a professional Coach, some of my time is given to gaining a deeper understanding of my client, whether they be an individual, a team or an organisation, so that I can explore their drivers, their purpose and align those to the greater purpose. As a Leadership Development specialist, I spent another chunk of my time helping them understand WHY and then showing them HOW.
So, the thought for today:
“Nothing drives a team forward so much as a sense of unified purpose”