Enjoy this excerpt from our new book, Healthy Leadership.
Healthy leaders are bridge builders. One important bridge they build is between a team member’s work and a bigger purpose. There are two levels of purpose that leaders connect employees to: organizational purpose and team purpose. Organizational purpose relates to making the world a better place or improving the human condition through work.
For instance, one of our clients distributes products to homebuilders. Their purpose did not seem very inspiring to the leadership team or to employees, yet a deeper look revealed a purpose worth connecting to: This company was a key link in the distribution chain, getting raw building products to sites where homes were being built for first-time home buyers.
In essence, this company realized that they helped make the American dream of homeownership a reality. This new, more profound sense of purpose sparked a stronger sense of connection.
An organization’s purpose can come in a variety of forms. Perhaps it is to create a sustainable product, to make the world a better place, or to innovate the best products to ease peoples’ lives.
Coca-Cola employees work diligently to achieve the company’s purpose: “to refresh the world and make a difference.” Google’s mission is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Southwest Airlines’ purpose is “to connect people to what’s important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel.” McDonald’s purpose is “to be our customers’ favorite place and way to eat and drink.” Nordstrom aims “to give customers the most compelling shopping experience possible.”
All these companies connect business to purpose, and they connect purpose to employees’ roles.