Purpose is the outcome your team is trying to accomplish, otherwise known as the why. Why do you wake up and choose to do this thing instead of the thousands of other things you could be doing? Why pour your time and energy into this particular goal with this particular group of people? What would be different about the world if your team were wildly successful? Everyone on the team should have a similar picture of why our work matters. If this purpose is missing or unclear, then you may experience conflicts or mismatched expectations.
The first big part of your job as a manager is to ensure that your team knows what success looks like and cares about achieving it.
Getting everyone to understand and believe in your team’s purpose, whether it’s as specific or broad requires understanding and believing in it yourself, and then sharing it at every opportunity–from writing emails to setting goals, from checking in with a single report to hosting large-scale meetings.
The next important bucket that managers think about is people, otherwise known as the who. Are the members of your team set up to succeed? Do they have the right skills? Are they motivated to do great work?
If you don’t have the right people for the job, or you don’t have an environment where they can thrive, then you’re going to have problems. To manage people well, you must develop trusting relationships with them, understand their strengths and weaknesses (as well as your own), make good decisions about who should do what (including hiring and firing when necessary), and coach individuals to do their best.
Finally, the process, which describes how your team works together.
Many people think of it as a bad word because it conjures up images of filling out paperwork or waiting in line. But process isn’t inherently good or bad. Process is simply the answer to the question “What actions do we take to achieve our goals?
Even if that answer isn’t written down anywhere, it still exists.
Bad process is heavy and arbitrary. It feels like a series of hoops to jump through. But good process is what helps us execute at our best. We learn from our mistakes, move quickly, and make smarter decisions for the future.
You might have a super talented team with a very clear understanding of what the end goal is, but if it’s not apparent how everyone’s supposed to work together or what the team’s values are, then even simple tasks can get enormously complicated. Who should do what by when? What principles should govern decision-making?