Building the Foundation of a High-Performing Team: Clear Purpose and Goals

Noelle Ihli

Prepare Your Team to Excel by Establishing Purpose and Goals

Purpose and goals are the gas in your team’s tank—fueling their forward momentum. They help team members find meaning and motivation to keep going even at challenging moments. Run low on that gas, and the journey can feel aimless. Or even worse, it can come to a dead stop.

How can you help your team members rally around a unifying purpose and embrace practical goals?

Keep reading!

Purpose: Why Team Members Need to Believe

A sense of purpose acts as your team’s guiding light. It helps team members decide, persist when the going gets tough, and see a project’s big-picture importance.

Like your company might have a mission or vision statement, your team can find a shared vision that motivates, unites, and inspires. 

How to Identify Your Team’s Purpose

If you’re unclear about your team’s purpose and why your success matters, your team members will be too. Take time to articulate the “why” behind how your team’s work contributes to the organization’s goals, your community, and even the world. Don’t be afraid to involve your team members in this brainstorming! 

How to Rally Your Team Around Shared Purpose

As you land on different core truths about your team’s purpose, document and communicate what you’ve discovered. Use simple, impactful language, and include this purpose on agendas, at project kickoffs, or even wall art. When you meet with team members, brainstorm how their roles contribute to the overall team’s purpose. 

Goals: Embracing Progress, Planning, and Habits

Help your team members understand that goals, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), and benchmarks aren’t just a box to be checked. Instead, they’re measurable indicators of progress toward the purpose your team has identified! 

Studies show that goal-setting, tracking, and monitoring increase the likelihood of achievement. 

Here’s how to help your team embrace the power of goal-setting: 

Celebrate Small Wins

According to several studies, celebrating incremental progress is one of the best ways to reach bigger goals. Help your employees understand the value of consistent, small steps that add up to significant progress over time. 

Author James Clear calls these small steps “atomic habits.” Cultivate an environment that prioritizes where measurable progress above flashy, instant gratification. Set small, measurable goals with your team in weekly or daily stand-up meetings, then celebrate your accomplishments and streaks of sustained progress.

Track Your Progress 

Help your team members get into the habit of tracking their progress toward big goals. Encourage them to document what they’ve achieved and how far they have to go using a planner, calendar, notebook, or Google Doc that they can share with you. This approach eliminates guesswork about progress and helps everyone establish realistic deadlines. 

Use the “Two-Minute Rule” 

The hardest part of starting a new goal or habit is getting started! Introduce James Clear’s “Two-Minute Rule” to your team. It involves distilling a big plan into small pieces you can complete in two minutes, then doing it! For instance, “decluttering your inbox” becomes “respond to two emails you’ve been putting off.” 

Take the Next Steps

Where does your team have room to grow regarding purpose and goals? BookClub can help. We take the best ideas from powerful books, and simplify them into bite-sized, micro insights:

Foundations of Leadership

About the author

Noelle is a content creator, author, and editor. She lives in Idaho with her husband, two sons, and two cats. When she's not writing, she's either reading a good book or scaring herself with true-crime documentaries.

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