Many organizations pay lip service to mission and vision. It is an afterthought at best. A purpose-driven organization recognizes that its purpose is at the core of its existence.
An organization is nothing more than a group of people coming together to fulfill a singular purpose. The more we clarify what that purpose is and also what it isn’t, the more we position this group of people to succeed and thrive at their mission.
 
[purpose driven organization, holacracy] These are 5 keys to keep in mind when developing or refreshing your organization towards being more purpose driven and minded. Holacracy® will help you attain these, but you can also attain them independently of this system.
 
1. Have a purpose.
 
This sounds easier than it actually is. It is simple, but not easy.
 
We encourage our clients to answer these questions when thinking about their purpose:

What would there be less of in the world if your organization didn’t exist?
Your team gets up in the morning to ensure that “...”
What would help you say “no” to work, as well as “yes”

A purpose is different than a vision or mission statement. It should be clear, concise, lofty enough that it inspires your team towards attaining it, and reminds them of why they come to work each day. it should also be grounded enough that it speaks to why your organization specifically exists, and just as importantly, why it doesn’t.
 
A purpose that states that “to make a better world” is laudable, but I have no idea, as a member of that organization, how our particular contribution does that. Does this mean I should take on any work that makes a better world?
 
But, a purpose that states that "people from underrepresented communities find dignified livelihood” is clear and grounded enough in what we do.
 
2. Make sure everyone in your organization understands your purpose, and can get behind it.
 
This is not the same as editing by committee or consensus decision making. One of the many benefits of having a clearly defined purpose is that it can quickly clarify the position of everyone in the team.
 
Those who feel aligned with the purpose have a renewed sense of commitment and dedication to their work. And, those who are not aligned finally have clarity on why the work had felt disjointed to them for so long, and can either readjust their expectations or choose to leave.
 
3. Have each role in your organization design a purpose for itself, serving the overall purpose.
 
The same exercise should be given to every role and team in your organization. How are each of them uniquely contributing towards the overall purpose?
 
This ensures that this purpose cascades down in a healthy manner to every corner of work in your organization. From the office management to sales or customer service, they all play their clear part towards fulfilling the purpose of the org.
 
4. Hold people accountable to purpose.
 
The purpose of the organization shouldn't be some vision/mission statement that you think about once, if at all, at your leadership retreat and then send it out in an email to everyone. It is a living statement that people in your organization will be held accountable to.
 
If you pay attention to your purpose and hold people accountable to theirs, it breathes life into these statements and brings them front and center into the conversations where they belong. A pivotal piece of having a purpose-driven organization is thinking, reflecting, and speaking of purpose often.
 
5. Define metrics and goals based on purpose.
 
Finally, the metrics and goals that will measure your success as a team should be derived from that team’s purpose. Orientation matters here.
 
For example, if I am on a sales team and our purpose is: a satisfied customer who wants to come back for more, this gives me an indication that the customer is our north star. So, our metrics should measure customer satisfaction.
 
However, if the purpose of the team is “our product is in every household,” this indicates that the metrics we should measure should have more to do with sales volume and market share.
 
Whatever your purpose is, make your goals and metrics congruent with it.


If you want to know more about Holacracy and how it can not only help build more effective teams, but also help make your organization nimbler and adaptive, please do not hesitate to contact me or any of my colleagues at Living Orgs.