7 Questions to Clarify Your Team’s Purpose

Ensure that every member of your team is clear about your team’s purpose.

You encourage them to answer the following questions individually and in private.

What do you believe is the major purpose of our team?

This question aims to uncover the core belief each team member holds about the team’s primary objective. It’s not just about what the team is supposed to do, but what each member genuinely believes is the essence of their collective effort.

Understanding what each team member perceives as the team’s major purpose is crucial. It reveals if there is a unified vision or diverse perceptions. A shared understanding is often the bedrock of effective collaboration and goal achievement.

Tips for Uncertain Responses:

  1. Open Dialogue: If team members are unsure or have differing views, encourage open discussions. This fosters a unified vision.
  2. Revisit Mission Statements: Sometimes, revisiting the team’s mission statement or goals can help realign everyone’s understanding.
  3. Leadership Guidance: Leaders can offer more clarity by defining and communicating the team’s objectives in simpler, more relatable terms.
  4. Regular Check-ins: Implement regular meetings to discuss and reinforce the team’s purpose, ensuring everyone stays on the same page.

The goal here is not to enforce a uniform belief but to understand and, if necessary, guide the team toward a common purpose.

What is your vision about our team?

Describe what our team would look like daily if it were living up to its potential.

This question asks team members to visualize and articulate their ideal version of the team. It’s an exercise in imagination and aspiration, where they describe the daily operations, interactions, and achievements of a team that fully realizes its potential.

The answers provide insight into each member’s expectations, hopes, and standards for excellence. It reveals if there’s alignment in these visions and what aspects are most valued by the team. This understanding can drive motivation and shape future strategies.

Tips for Uncertain Responses:

  1. Encourage Individual Reflection: Sometimes, team members might need time to reflect individually before sharing their vision.
  2. Provide Inspiration: Share examples of high-performing teams, either within the organization or from external sources, to inspire ideas.
  3. Facilitate Vision-Building Workshops: Organize sessions where team members collaboratively build a shared vision, using tools like vision boards or mind maps.
  4. Leadership Role Modeling: Leaders can model behaviors and practices that reflect living up to the team’s potential, serving as tangible examples.

This question is about painting a picture of an ideal yet attainable future, fostering a shared direction and understanding.

How many of our teammates share the same team vision and potential?

This question delves into assessing the level of consensus within the team regarding its vision and potential. It’s about quantifying how many team members are on the same page, sharing a common understanding and belief about what the team aims to achieve and its capabilities.

Knowing the extent of shared vision among team members is crucial for effective teamwork. A high level of agreement typically indicates strong team cohesion and a clear, unified direction, which is essential for achieving goals.

Conversely, a lack of shared vision can lead to misaligned efforts and reduced efficiency.

Tips for Uncertain Responses:

  1. Conduct Surveys or Polls: Use anonymous surveys or polls to gauge team members’ views on the team’s vision and potential. This can provide a clearer picture of where everyone stands.
  2. Facilitate Team Discussions: Create a safe space for open discussions where team members can express their views and listen to others. This can help in understanding differing perspectives and finding common ground.
  3. Set Clear Objectives: Clearly define and communicate team objectives. Ensure that these are understood and accepted by all team members.
  4. Team-Building Activities: Engage in team-building exercises that emphasize shared goals and visions, fostering a sense of unity and understanding.

It’s important to approach this question with a mindset of fostering understanding and alignment, rather than enforcing uniformity.

How many of our teammates work together to make our team better? Please cite specific situations.

This question seeks to identify the extent of active collaboration and mutual effort among team members aimed at improving the team’s overall functioning. It emphasizes real-world examples and specific situations where teamwork was evident.

Understanding who is actively contributing to team improvement and how they are doing it is crucial for recognizing and fostering effective collaboration. This insight can help in identifying best practices, areas for improvement, and potential leaders within the team.

Tips for Uncertain Responses:

  1. Encourage Observational Feedback: Sometimes team members may not be aware of their colleagues’ contributions. Encourage them to observe and acknowledge each other’s efforts.
  2. Highlight Success Stories: Share examples of successful team collaboration from within the team or other teams. This can inspire and provide a model for effective teamwork.
  3. Team Reflection Sessions: Hold regular meetings where team members can reflect on recent projects or situations, discussing what worked well and what could be improved.
  4. Recognition Programs: Implement a system to recognize and reward collaborative efforts and improvements made by team members.

This question is not just about counting hands but understanding the dynamics of teamwork in action. It’s about recognizing where collaboration is thriving and where it might need encouragement or development.

What are the progress you’ve seen since you joined our team?

This question asks team members to reflect on the changes and advancements they have observed since they became part of the team. It’s about recognizing growth, improvements, and any positive transformations that have occurred over time.

The responses to this question can highlight the team’s achievements and areas of development, providing a sense of accomplishment and direction. It also helps in understanding each member’s perspective on the team’s evolution, which can be critical for future planning and motivation.

Tips for Uncertain Responses

  1. Personal Reflection Prompts: Encourage team members to think about specific projects, milestones, or changes in team dynamics since they joined.
  2. Create a Timeline of Achievements: Construct a visual timeline depicting key milestones and achievements of the team. This can help in jogging memories and providing a clearer perspective on progress.
  3. Discuss Challenges and Learnings: Sometimes, progress is more about what the team learned from challenges rather than just successes. Facilitate discussions around this aspect.
  4. Seek External Feedback: Sometimes, external stakeholders can provide insights into the team’s progress that internal members might overlook.

Recognizing progress, both big and small, is essential for team morale and continued growth.

What motivated you to become a better member of our team?

This question explores the personal motivations that drive team members to improve and contribute more effectively to the team. It’s about understanding the factors that inspire individuals to enhance their performance and engagement within the team context.

Understanding individual motivations can provide valuable insights into what drives team members, which can be leveraged to create a more motivating and supportive team environment.

It helps in tailoring leadership approaches and team dynamics to better align with what inspires each member.

Tips for Uncertain Responses:

  1. Encourage Self-Reflection: Prompt team members to reflect on their experiences and aspirations within the team. Sometimes, motivation can be uncovered through introspection.
  2. Share Inspirational Stories: Share stories of personal growth and achievement from within or outside the team to inspire members.
  3. Identify and Address Obstacles: Sometimes, lack of motivation can be due to obstacles or challenges. Identify these and work on strategies to overcome them.
  4. Promote a Culture of Growth: Foster an environment that values learning and development. Offer opportunities for skill enhancement and personal growth.

This question is about tapping into the personal drives of team members, and understanding what fuels their commitment and dedication to the team.

What radical change do we need to do to make everyone be fired up by our purpose?

This question asks team members to think boldly and innovatively about transformative changes that could significantly increase the team’s enthusiasm and alignment with its purpose. It’s an invitation to envision big, potentially disruptive shifts that could ignite a strong, shared passion for the team’s goals.

The responses can uncover deep-seated needs or desires within the team that are not being met by current approaches. It also encourages team members to think creatively and ambitiously, which can lead to innovative solutions and strategies that profoundly impact team morale and effectiveness.

Tips for Uncertain Responses:

  1. Brainstorming Sessions: Organize brainstorming sessions where team members can freely suggest ideas, no matter how unconventional.
  2. Look for Inspiration: Encourage the team to look for inspiration outside the usual boundaries, such as other industries, cultures, or revolutionary business models.
  3. Foster a Safe Environment for Radical Ideas: Create a culture where radical ideas are welcomed and discussed without immediate judgment or dismissal.
  4. Test and Learn: If feasible, pilot some of the proposed changes on a small scale to test their impact before implementing them more broadly.

This question is about challenging the status quo and exploring what it would take to truly energize the team around its purpose. It’s a call for out-of-the-box thinking and a willingness to consider significant changes.

That wraps up all seven questions.

Answer these questions too. These will help you find ways to make your team’s purpose crystal clear to everyone.

Jef Menguin

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