Monday, June 11, 2012

Manager Mondays: Communicate Purpose To Fuel Performance

Welcome to  Manager Mondays, a regular feature of this blog where we explore ways to increase the effectiveness of workforce communications.  Today we focus on the positive power of purpose. 
This past Saturday, I had the privilege of leading a volunteer workforce comprised of  over 60 health care professionals and caring individuals.  Together we provided health care services at an outreach to low-income Long Island families sponsored by the international relief organization, Convoy Of Hope.  We offered an array of consultations and services from blood pressure screenings to mental health counseling.  Over 5,000 people attended this event, and the health care component impacted at least 20% of them. 
I observed  true collaboration that day.  I witnessed these volunteers, most of whom were strangers to each other, go into immediate action to form bonds of friendship with their colleagues.  I saw them do spot analysis and combine their insights to overcome difficulties.  I watched them patiently endure confusion and adverse conditions.  And in many cases, I saw them performing tasks that were way below their professional status, all in the name of serving others.  
They knew the mission; they believed in the mission; and they had a blast applying their skills and strengths to further the mission. Their attitude was: "Bring it!"   
Do you emphasize purpose when you communicate with your teams?   Do you find ways to verbalize how their efforts link to a greater mission?  Do you constantly stress how their work benefits the project, the organization, the customer, and/or the planet?
We all may not be able to lead a group of people in such an overtly altruistic endeavor.  But each of us who leads, needs to lead with a greater purpose in view.  We need to visualize the mission clearly enough to get excited about it ourselves -- then we need to communicate that excitement to the troops.  
Think about the mission you're spearheading.  How easy is it for you to put the "why" of it all into words?  How about words that inspire?  If you're struggling to find a greater purpose in what you do, you will never be able to motivate others to give it their all.  
Workforce messaging is not just  a matter of relaying do's and don'ts.  We lead people, not machines.  People need purpose.   
How will you, as the boss, articulate the mission to your employees this week?  Or do you even know what the mission is?  Do you first need to define it to yourself?  If so, book some time on your calendar this week to get off by yourself and get cosmic.  Ask yourself the potentially earth-shaking question:  Why does it matter?  Your answer will fuel, not only your communications to your team, but your own commitment to your dreams.
The Convoy Of Hope trucks have left town, but my Health Services team of local volunteers is still here.  I'm wondering where all that energy of last Saturday will next manifest itself in our individual lives.  Something tells me that the purpose    we shared that day will keep fueling our performance in our everyday lives, and sparking ideas for future volunteer service.  To which I say: Bring it!


  1. I could feel the energy that existed on Saturday from reading your post Beth. I'm sure you and the 60 volunteers touched a lot of people on Saturday. When there is a mission, great things happen. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Welcome, Randi! You're so right, the mission makes the difference. Since you are a customer service expert, I also want to tell you that Convoy Of Hope has a "Guest Of Honor" policy that every volunteer applies. It makes a huge impact when people are treated with respect and dignity. This was a remarkable mission, and a remarkable opportunity to care for others less fortunate. I'm betting it won't end here! - - Beth