You’ve probably heard the adage, “Make every minute count!” But count toward what? How do you know if your minutes count?

To know, you have to measure your time and effort against something. That something is your purpose. Without a compelling purpose, you are just putting in time. Your mind might be engaged, but your heart will not be. And if you want your team members to make every minute count, give them something to be passionate about. When you get your team members inspired about a purpose, their hearts will follow.

The Fundamental Four

Your purpose needs to answer the most fundamental question, “Why do we do what we do?” If your organization has a stated purpose, connect your team’s work directly to it. If no one has yet painted the organizational picture, don’t wait. Take the initiative to define a purpose for your team.

First, step back and look at the big picture. Consider how your team members improve conditions for others–what differences do they make? Be bold. Your team’s purpose should stir emotions. At the same time, keep your purpose real and relevant, because people can commit only to what they understand.

Then, you must answer the fundamental four questions that every employee asks, whether or not they ask them aloud.

  1. Where are we going? (Vision)
  2. What are we doing to get there? (Plans)
  3. How can I contribute? (Roles)
  4. What’s in it for me? (Rewards – financial, psychological, professional, social)

To paint a clear picture of your purpose, you’ll need to be intentional about answering these questions. Some of our clients even use the questions as a checklist to ensure that the content of significant communiques addresses each one. As a result, the passion in their organizations is palpably higher and their results greater.

Answering the fundamental four creates a bridge that connects today’s tasks to the broader team or organizational purpose. Without purpose, team members may achieve short-term results, but they won’t have the heart to go the distance. With purpose, they naturally will be more passionate about their work and more motivated to stick with the plan, because they’ll clearly understand that they are part of something bigger.

Find more strategies for creating a purpose-driven team in Stick with It: Mastering the Art of Adherence.