Does your team have a common purpose?

Andy Kelly

At Sundial we subscribe to this definition of a high performing team:

A small group of trusted people with complimentary skills who are committed to a common purpose with shared performance goals, for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.

In our experience it is almost impossible to be a truly high performing team without a common goal or purpose that everyone believes in and cares about.

So, what is a common purpose? Well, it is not your mission or vision. They are both longer terms goals, whereas a common purpose is about the here and now.

It is something that explains and summarises what you need to do as a leadership team together, right now. It is the core reason for you to meet, collaborate and make decisions upon.

It describes the ‘point of you’ as a leadership team. It is not necessarily for anyone else, although it can in some cases be inspirational to others.

It helps you to prioritise, make decisions and hold each other accountable. When you wake up in the morning it tells you what you need to do as a team, right now. It also provides a useful test to ensure that your daily activities matter.

Most importantly, everyone has to believe in it and to commit to it. You cannot vote this in!!

Let me give you an example.

Meet Alyssa Merwin VP of LinkedIn Sales Solutions North America and her awesome leadership team.

When Alyssa took over the reins of the business, she pulled her team together and they locked themselves away together for 2 days off site, to decide how they wanted to show up together and to find out if they had a common purpose or needed to be a team?

Alyssa had taken over a successful business from her new boss and was questioning how this organisation could be even better. After all, as we say at Sundial “you don’t have to be sick to get better”!

The team realised that although successful, they had been working in silos and reacting to globally led initiatives. These initiatives were helpful, but not always completely aligned to the needs of the North American business. They also felt that in some cases they had asked their business partners to take the leadership and that they ‘the Sales Leadership’ were following, not leading.

They felt that their people now needed them to show up as a tight team of leaders who had a clear vision for the business and who were aligned to a common purpose. This would help to build confidence within their sales teams enabling them to embrace the changes that Alyssa and team were planning to implement.

So, the common purpose that they all committed to was #TTO

Together, take ownership’!

Love it!!!

This regularily reminded them that they had to become a team and make decisions together, while changing their overall mindset to ‘lead, not follow’. They agreed to be the team that would be awarded ‘speeding tickets, not parking tickets’.

They set in place a series of initiatives to deliver their purpose and they set out on the road together, across the americas to invite their teams along with them on this purposeful journey and to open source their plan.

They have now built one of the most joined-up and motivated sales teams that we have ever come across. They exceeded targets for the next year and the next stub period (LinkedIn and Microsoft 6 month financial alignment period).

They have now reviewed and renewed their common purpose and are ‘locked in to win’ the sale org, which is their customer target market.

So, next time you meet with your leadership team, how about you ask that question to each other? Do we have a common purpose and do we need to be a team?

BTW, keep a look out for the Sundial Consulting & LinkedIn LSS: Sales Transformation Case Study. Project Inspire…..

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