Nov 15, 2011

How to Instill Purpose

I am a firm believer in the "soft" management skills.  I believe too many business managers, myself included from time to time, lose focus when leading a business team toward a goal.  Sometimes, it's good to remove focus on every day tasks to focus on the big picture vision of the company, and determine if the course that is set is the best course for the time.  This requires the ability to instill purpose in those who are working in concert toward this end goal.  The article, "How To Instill Purpose", by John Baldoni, a blog contributor for Harvard Business School, was a great read for a Monday morning, and reminded me what I needed to re-focus my energy toward.

Baldoni goes on to say very articulately,
"Purpose, as savvy leaders know, is the foundation for creating vision, executing the mission, and abiding by the values of an organization. Culture emerges from purposeful organizations, because purpose is what shapes individual's beliefs and organizational norms. That foundation is essential, because it opens the door for organizations to do four important things, all of which are vital to success." 
He goes on to describe these four vital keys to instilling purpose effectively:
  1. Provide Purpose: Give employees something to work toward and empower them to be significant in the process.
  2. Provide Clarity: Lead by being open, honest and forthcoming about the company and its goals.  And, don't be afraid of ambiguity, as it may be harnessed as a strength more than a threat.
  3. Provide Stimulation for Innovation: Empowering employees gives the team a sense of ownership and accountability, and can ultimately lead to new leaders stepping forward with new and fresh ideas.
  4. Groom the Next Generation of Leaders: It's no secret that employers and employees are more fickle now than in the past.  Providing the support system to nurture a career in the company will further promote and define purpose and could ultimately turn out the next CEO of your company.
There are countless guides and motivational leadership books that help promote the interpersonal skills necessary to lead new teams and companies, and seemingly everyone (including me) has their opinions that they enjoy opining, at times ad nausea.  Regardless of what you think, it never hurts to have a refresher, and John Boldoni's was short and sweet.