I read Tim Ohai’s How to Drive Purpose Into Your Team and was struck by his description of an on-boarding conversation.
Every time he gets a new member of his core team, he sits them down for a one-to-one (even the players with minor roles) and asks them, “Tell me about a time when you did your best work – when both the outcome and the way you felt were outstanding.” He listens as they tell their most cherished successes, probing to uncover the themes and elements of what made those kinds of experiences most positive. Once he has pulled everything out of the person so they both see what made the player feel most productive, valued, and engaged, he then says, “Great. I am now officially making that stuff part of your role here on the team.” He then explains the purpose of the team, the purpose of that person’s role, and then talks through how the player’s role will now change so that they will both deliver what the organization needs and be a person that is living their purpose at work – even if that person had no conscious idea that they had a personal purpose to begin with.
Here is a question for you – the sales leader – it is a tough one. Have you had any conversations like that in your career? Where someone not only asked you about your passion, purpose, success… and then made it part of your every day activity.
Perhaps even more difficult a question. Have you had a conversation like that with each individual on your team?
As you don’t have the luxury of having everyone on your team starting over, allowing you to have the conversation at the beginning of their career. It might take a few steps BEFORE you can have a conversation to calibrate their purpose:
Step 1 = create an environment where the people on your team trust & believe you have their best interest at heart.
Step 2 = be able to articulate the organization’s purpose AND how your team fits into that purpose.
Step 3 = have the conversations.
Step 4 = follow through to make sure each member of the team is living their purpose at work.
Note: Maybe even have the conversation off site for breakfast or lunch – if this is new and different for you and the people on the team, take it outside of the typical environment.