A unified cause is key to helping everyone pull in the same direction. Picture a dogsled, with each dog pulling in a different direction. Workers, who can’t see the contribution their organization makes to society, or the role they can play, will be pulling like these dogs.
A unified organizational cause must have clear values, mission and vision.
Your values are standards for working together. Values such as integrity and teamwork build positive, meaningful relationships with clients and between colleagues. They are the basis for achieving profound results through positive actions.
Your mission describes your organization’s central purpose or cause, in terms of contributions to your community, society and the world. These give value to everyone’s collective efforts. Your mission is most powerful when it is the product of collective insight.
Your vision is the clear description of the organization, in the future, fully serving the needs and desires of your market. It becomes the destination, perhaps over the horizon, toward which everyone can pull.
To connect the organization’s cause to each person, begin with larger organizational units. Help divisions or departments articulate their unit’s part in the mission. Then, facilitate discussion to draw the word picture that describes the unit’s contribution to the vision.
Do the same for smaller and smaller units from departments to teams to individuals. Pay particular attention to the role of individuals, because this is where they see the part they can play.
Part of each position description should include a statement of how it contributes to the mission of the department and the organization. Managers can work with each employee to describe how they can grow over the next few years to make an even greater contribution, perhaps even assuming a new role.
Based on this vision, create a personal development plan, laying out future training and on-the-job experiences that need to be part of the path toward the future.
When people understand the organization’s values and mission, share the vision, and are clear about how their efforts contribute, they all pull in the same direction. They share the enthusiasm of reaching milestones on the journey. The organization fulfills its cause. It meets the needs of its clients more quickly and effectively than do its competitors.
Like the dogsled, when the team pulls in the same direction, the journey is swift and exciting.