Everyone wants to wake up each morning and look forward to the activities of the day. No one wants to wake up and dread going to work, but, unfortunately, too many people do just that. They wake up, wishing they didn’t have to go to work and spending the rest of the day looking forward to the moment they get off. That’s no way to live.
I do understand that I write these words from a place of privilege. I have the privilege of waking up each day and being excited about the work I am going to do. I may not be excited about every task, but I am filled with passion when I refocus my attention on my purpose. I can easily tie every task I complete into the overall vision for my organization and its purpose in reaching that vision. Honestly, it saddens me when others don’t wake up with the same understanding of their purpose and the need they fill for their organization.
Ultimately, while not everyone needs to get out of bed feeling as though they are headed to Disney World each day, research indicates when one knows the purpose of their position and the tasks of that position, they perform better.
How does a leader create purpose for their employees?
The secret lies in the vision, mission, and values of the organization as well as each position within the company. Here are 5 tips that will help ensure these are developed.
1) Take time to develop an inspiring, forward-thinking vision and a clear mission; and gather feedback from employees.
Gathering feedback from employees creates additional buy-in and sends the message that you value their thoughts and ideas. Additionally, it helps create a vision, mission, and values that everyone in the organization will believe in. Don’t discount how powerful these are and take the time to develop them if you haven’t already and review them at least yearly to ensure they remain current – or to simply remind yourself of your why and ultimate purpose.
2) Determine values and how they will be displayed throughout the company.
Determining your values is just the first step. Once you determine the top 5-7 values that are most important, take time to think about what behaviors demonstrate each value. For example, if you value customer service, what do you expect to see and hear when staff are interacting with customers? How do you want them to solve their problems? What type of customer experience do you want them to have?
3) Ensure each position also has a mission statement, tied to the overall purpose of the organization.
Developing a vision and mission statement is just the first step. Once accomplished, review each position within the company and ensure a position mission is developed to clearly state why that position exists and what purpose it fills in the overall vision of the company. This ties each individual’s work to the vision of the organization, helping to ensure all staff are working together towards the same goals.
4) Tie individual tasks to the position mission and overall vision of the organization.
Once each position has a clear mission statement, evaluate the tasks of the position, and ensure they are tied to fulfilling the mission. For example, if a supervisor is to monitor the number of reports completed by staff each day, ensure it is clear why this is important. For example, in Veteran’s Affairs, veterans often request their records so they can access healthcare. Staff are to review their files and ensure only the correct information is forwarded to them. Errors could lead to delays in healthcare. Thus, the individuals who are reviewing files are completing this task to ensure veterans are provided the best healthcare possible. Understanding this brings a new perspective to what can feel like a monotonous task.
5) Build on employee strengths and offset lower preferred tasks with higher preferred, purpose filling tasks.
A great strategy to increase productivity is to identify the preferences of employees as it relates to their individual job tasks. As humans, we tend to shy away from the tasks that we like least and focus our energy on those we prefer. Understanding what tasks are less preferred or more difficult for each employee allows leaders to assist employees with ordering their tasks to increase productivity. Behaviorally, we know that completing a few easy and quick tasks can help build momentum to complete the longer, more difficult task. Similarly, waiting to complete a highly preferred task until after the less preferred one is complete can not only increase the efficiency of the less preferred task being completed but also make it more preferred over time. This paired with the understanding of how each task helps fulfill the mission of the position and overall organization creates employees who don’t mind the tedious tasks quite as much.
Establishing the vision, mission, and values for your organization or team has compounding positive effects on the entire organization. It helps align employees with the organization’s direction, increases employee buy-in, and ultimately leads to better productivity. What’s more, employees who wake up each morning understanding how the tasks they complete each day help the organization reach its vision – a vision they are excited about – are more likely to stay longer and work harder, further helping the organization reach its goals. Be sure you take time to review your vision, mission, and values each year and align all positions and tasks of the organization with the ultimate purpose of the company.