“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”
When people feel a sense of purpose, belonging, and part of something greater than themselves, they derive a sense of meaning from work. Meaningfulness is related to a host of positive outcomes, like motivation, commitment, helping behaviors on the job, lower turnover intentions, and personal well-being. Having an inspiring vision helps people create meaningfulness in their work.
Having a vision or mission statement isn’t enough. To be inspired, people need to know what the vision is and hear about it on a regular basis. Beyond knowing the vision, people at all levels need opportunities to live values in their daily work. They also need to see managers and senior leaders acting in ways that uphold and embody the values. Inconsistent policies, systems, and actions deteriorate commitment to the organization’s purpose. Communicating an inspiring vision is through not only words but more importantly, through action.
Get intimately familiar with your mission and values and use the language consistent with your team. During team meetings, in email communications, during planning and strategy sessions, and when goal-setting with individual team members, connect ideas and priorities back to the company mission and values.
Ensure you have a solid understanding of where the company is headed and how your team contributes to that vision so that you can effectively create meaning and purpose for your employees.
When communicating vision, help employees understand “what’s in it for them” so they can find personal meaning in working hard to achieve strategic goals.
Check-in with your team on a regular basis to communicate the vision for the future of the organization and how your team plays a role in this vision. Invite your team to ask questions, brainstorm how each team member directly or indirectly supports the overall mission, and identify ways to correct any misalignment with the mission.
Ask yourself, do you know the organization’s vision? Do you understand the vision and values, and why they are important? Do you understand how the work you do connects to that vision?
When developing your goals, tie them specifically to the vision and/or values. Identify how your personal priorities also help move the organization closer to accomplishing its mission.
Check that leaders are on the same page about the vision and values. Do leaders across groups/departments share consistent messages? Invite leaders to share examples of how and when the vision has motivated their groups.
Bring leaders together to explore each group’s role in accomplishing the vision. Discuss how are groups working together to achieve the vision. Brainstorm examples of when collaboration was critical for accomplishing the vision and ask leaders to share out with their teams.
Exhaust all possibility to weave the vision and values into regular communication channels. Look for opportunities to share stories of the values in action.
Circle of the 9 Muses: A Storytelling Field Guide for Innovators and Meaning Makers by David Hutchens
Built to Last by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras