Process to Create a Purpose Statement

The process of crafting a purpose statement is critical to achieving the desired outcome. Today’s workforce is seeking greater meaning in work as well as the ability to shape organizational direction. Superior leaders have invested energy in creating a sense of purpose and direction in their organizations.

There are three main steps in the process

  1. Individuals will reflect on the questions “What was my most meaningful job and why?” And What will make you proud of your team two years from now? 
  2. Small Group Breakout Sessions (made of three individuals): Listen to eachother’s statements and come up with a Trio Statement.
  3. Large Group Meeting to create a Team Statement

Best practices

[this feels redundant maybe we can cut it down?]

The processes themselves may vary from organization to organization but should share key characteristics:

  • Include the maximum feasible number of group members to help insure buy-in and exploration.
  • Begin by exploring the purpose of purpose. This will help commit people to a serious effort and prepare the group for the examination necessary to create a meaningful statement. Questions can include:
    • What do we hope to accomplish by having a purpose statement?
    • What will happen if we do?
    • What will happen if we have a purpose statement and do not fulfill it?
  • Start with the individual, not the group. What will make the individual proud? Only after exploring and understanding individual differences and similarities should you move on to the group level.
  • Encourage questioning and dialogue to arrive at mutual agreements.
  • Allow for multiple statements to be tentatively crafted and explored.
  • Create accountability for individuals and the group as a whole.
    Typically, this is accomplished through individual and group evaluations. Each of the multiple statements is evaluated by both individuals and the entire group to determine the following:
    • How well is the organization achieving each tentative statement of purpose?
    • What specifically would they as individuals, and as a group, need to change in order to achieve each statement of purpose?
    • If they did so, what would be the outcome—for the business, for them individually, and for the group as a whole?
  • Strive to achieve consensus around a final purpose statement, which best answers the question: What will make us proud?
  • Use individual and group metrics to mark progress towards attainment; effective processes also spell out how individuals and groups will hold themselves accountable.