Being Purposeful Today for Tomorrow’s Vision
In this excerpt from The Shift from Me to Team, which will be published this year, we provide another snapshot from the Culture Clarification process we use with clients: revealing Purpose and Vision.
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Deep inside each of us is an intrinsic desire for safety and security in our future. So, how does what we are doing today connect to tomorrow? Your shared Purpose and Vision—key components of your Core Identity—provide the answer. Below we share the process we use to help organizations unleash their desire to create greater safety and security for their community.
Revealing the Organization’s Natural, Shared Purpose
The organization’s Purpose is its Why. Why are we doing today’s work?
Purpose: That which brings meaning to life. Non-financial reasons that get us out of bed in the morning energized to do our day’s work.
The Purpose components revealed in the Culture Clarifications process we guide clients through illuminate a desire to create shared success and to work in a way that benefits all our stakeholders—team members, patients, customers, vendors, and the community. The stories team members tell at the retreat illustrate Purpose components they feel are vital to why the organization exists. They begin to reveal a much larger Purpose, a Purpose with profound meaning—it is bigger than goals, profits, or prestige.
- To provide a meaningful environment where our people can provide the highest-value service.
- Improve lives through curing, preventing, and treating eye disease.
- Developing and delivering care of the highest quality to improve lives today and tomorrow.
- To be a community that inspires greatness in each other.
Revealing the Organization’s Compelling Shared Vision
Our Purpose energizes us to get up and do our work today. Consider the Purpose examples above. Imagine a group of people working in service of their Purpose for years. Imagine the possibilities of generations working toward that Purpose. What might that work make possible?
Vision: The compelling image of the desired future we strive to make real in honoring our Purpose. We may never get there, but it is a guide for all strategic decision-making.
Once team members have identified a clear, deeply meaningful Purpose, we challenge them to envision what their Purpose could make possible. It is common to have a short-term orientation due to the challenges of accomplishing tasks on the list today; it is not easy to think about the future. This exercise requires shifting to thinking decades or generations into the future. With patience and prompting, the team does get there.
The Vision is the guiding light far in the distance, always in sight, and always providing direction for decision making.
- Confident and unrestricted lives through renewed health
- A company that respects and honors its heritage to enhance lives and create thriving communities for the next 100 years
- Our community is living lives of meaning through transformative eyecare
- Healthy communities where all people achieve their most remarkable quality of life
Individual Identities Meld into a Shared Core Identity
Each team member expresses what is best for the organization from their personal Core Identity perspective, their set of Guiding Principles, their Purpose, and their Vision. In the Culture Clarification process, the organizational Core Identity that emerges is a melding of these individual Core Identities. The like-minded majority create a shared energy that can be felt in the room as a state of flow develops from the clarified Core Identity.
While it seems that the Core Identity is now being clarified, the reality is that the brand/culture/identity that attracted these people in the first place is now surfacing more clearly. Their fit filter was most likely active when they chose to join this organization.
Whether individually or organizationally, honoring our Core Identity is a challenging process. We ask ourselves questions: Why we are doing what we do? How we like to be treated? How we want to treat others? We do this in service of being our best for something greater than ourselves.
Individually and organizationally, Core Identity clarification is a never-ending process. Life gets better with greater clarity and understanding over time. The twists and turns of our journey will continue. Now we have a template to help us in decision-making, both individually and organizationally.