As we discussed in our last blog, poor leadership within your business or organisation can be a major cause of unnecessary anxiety, stress and emotional turmoil.
It’s hard enough running a business, without having to constantly worry about how effective its leadership team is and whether everyone is on board and pulling in the same direction.
Of course, it’s not just the mental strain that poor leadership within your organisation can cause. If left unchecked, it can really impact on staff morale, efficiency and, ultimately, on the bottom line.
One of the main root causes of poor leadership – but one of the easiest ones to fix – is a lack of clarity and communication regarding the strategic vision for the business.
You may know which direction the business is heading, but does your team? Are they all on board? Do they all fully understand and buy into the business’ ethos, values and vision, and the objectives it needs to achieve to get there?
If not, this could be one of the reasons why your leadership team is not performing as effectively as you’d like it to.
The solution starts with finding, and defining, the purpose of the business.
What is your purpose?
Purpose differs slightly from mission and vision.
A mission statement defines a company’s approach to providing its products and services. Vision, on the other hand, describes the company’s goals for the future and outlines how it will get there.
But what’s purpose?
Earlier this year, the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) published a whitepaper, The What, The Why and The How of Purpose: A guide for leaders, which was the result of two years of research by leading academics at Judge Business School Cambridge and the University of Plymouth.
In it, they defined purpose as ‘an organisation’s meaningful and enduring reason to exist that aligns with long-term financial performance, provides a clear context for daily decision making, and unifies and motivates relevant stakeholders’.
A recent, related CMI study found that two in three millennials have chosen an employer for its purpose, while four out of five said they needed to feel a sense of larger purpose to be satisfied in their work.
These findings make clear two very pertinent points – every business needs a purpose. And, if you have one, it’s easier to attract people who buy into it.
Employees aren’t necessarily driven by the same intrinsic interest that the business founder, owners or senior executives are, or by the business’ profitability.
There’s something more at play, and that’s where purpose comes in.
A purpose lies at the heart of an organisation’s identity strategy. It directs what your organisation and your people do to pursue your objectives.
In order for it to be effective, however, your purpose must be clearly articulated at all levels of your business or organisation, so everyone knows what the vision is and what they need to do to get there. And that’s the tricky part.
How do you define your purpose?
Your purpose should illustrate the impact your business or organisation will have on your customers, stakeholders and the wider community. It can also be used as a way to guide your behaviours, actions and decisions.
Having a strong sense of purpose will help your business or organisation to identify its mission, define its goals and, ultimately, succeed.
So, to make a start, you need to ask a key question – why does your business or organisation exist?
That might seem like a hard question to tackle, but the reality is, the answer is much simpler than you think.
When it comes to defining your organisation’s purpose, if you consider the following, you’ll be on the right track:
• Why was the business created?
• What are we passionate about?
• What makes us different?
• What do we believe in?
How do we communicate our purpose across the organisation?
It’s one thing defining your purpose and aligning it to your strategic objectives, but it’s another thing to communicate it properly, across your organisation, to ensure everyone buys into it.
Getting your leadership team fully on board is the first hurdle to overcome.
The key to developing an understanding at all levels of your business or organisation is effective communication.
Here are four things to consider when it comes to communicating your purpose:
Make your message clear and relevant
When it comes to communicating your purpose, keep things clear, simple and to the point.
Use language that’s easy to understand rather than flowery words, acronyms and jargon.
You might understand what they mean, but does everyone? And if your leaders struggle to understand the vision, will they be able to properly communicate it to their own teams?
Present your purpose in different ways
People absorb information differently.
Some prefer to listen and learn, others respond to more visual information, so be prepared to communicate your message using as many different channels as possible.
A face-to-face staff briefing with printed handouts, followed up by an email, with posters around the office containing key messages, will engage people far more than just expecting them to read a long-winded email which they may well ignore.
If you use a mix of video, audio, visual and written communications to employees, people will get the message in a way that suits them.
Ensure two-way communication
In an effective organisation, communication flows in all directions.
When it comes to communicating your purpose, you’re not looking to lecture your people, you’re looking to engage them in a conversation where they feel comfortable asking questions, providing feedback and challenging things they don’t understand.
By being open and transparent, you are encouraging your people to take ownership of your purpose and objectives.
Be flexible and open to change
It’s one thing to have a strategic purpose, it’s another thing entirely to get people to buy into it.
If your leadership team is able to put themselves in the shoes of their individual team members, to see things from their perspective, this can help you to further develop and refine your purpose, your strategy and your objectives. Again, openness and transparency will encourage your people to take more responsibility for maximising their own performance to achieve your strategic goals.
How can FP Training help?
Time is a precious commodity and sometimes, you can get so involved in the day to day running of your organisation that you can’t see the bigger picture.
This is where FP Training can help.
We can come into your business, take an objective, holistic view of your current situation, identify any gaps and develop a bespoke package of solutions to boost the leadership skills within your organisation.
Through a combination of group workshops, one-to-one coaching and leadership training, we can help you to define or refine your organisation’s vision, values and purpose and ensure it aligns with the strategic objectives you are trying to achieve.
We can then help to align the leadership and management skills and behaviours within your business to your overall strategy, to ensure your leaders and managers are leading effectively, communicating clearly and managing properly, to ensure your organisation is running as efficiently, and profitably, as possible.
Interested? We’d love to hear from you.
Give us a call on 01332 527144 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange an informal chat to explore how we may be able to work together.