WE ALL HAVE DIFFERENT WAYS of answering who we work for, and why. While our reasons may change depending on the moment, we show up every day because that's part of the agreement. But, what happens when we get there? More than battling a spreadsheet, connecting Part A to Part B, or picking up the phone before its third ring, why are we here?
It turns out a staggering number of workers don't know their business purpose beyond the immediate task at hand. That means that their ability to affect change and to think about the bigger picture are largely lost to the immediacy of the moment. There are only seas of trees; no forest.
As a business leader, you need everyone on your team to understand how they fit into the puzzle. And, what happens when their work leaves their hands and the life it takes on from there. How?
Think about times you've introduced a new initiative: the decision to develop a new product, launch a new sales tactic, or add an extra assignment to an already full schedule. How often are these projects met with grumbling, dissonance, and, occasionally, a collective eye roll from your team? You wanted enthusiasm, but you got exasperation instead.
What you might have been missing was the "why we're doing this." In your mind, it's quite obvious: you've researched it, you've met with leadership about it—it makes good business sense, so you must go ahead. If you don't deliver that reasoning when you make your announcement to your team, you've missed the opportunity to bridge the connection between the undertaking and the results you hope to achieve. The work then is only morework, not a goal to be working toward.
Provide the "why" and you'll be pleasantly surprised. You might find that your team wants to be a part of a project that will make a difference. You might find that they rise to the challenge. Some will even go above andbeyond to ensure its success. And there it is: the enthusiasm you were looking for.
How do we communicate the "why" at Baudville? While our quarterly communication meetings are all about high-level data and long-term strategies, our department meetings are where we focus in on the day-to-day details. We use this time to talk about our immediate goals and what we hope to achieve with the current projects we're working on. We analyze our work based on what we think will create the response we want from our customers—often adjusting our approach once we've viewed it from that perspective. By linking the effort to the result, we know the "why" and "what for."
Have you ever asked your employees why they're here? What they feel their purpose is at your organization? Have you ever asked yourself? Why not take a poll? The exercise itself will help you and your team think more deeply about your roles. There are no right or wrong answers, but the answers can tell you a lot about how connected everyone feels to their results.