At the RedFlash Group, we think a lot about purpose. Maybe it’s because our clients are literally changing the face of public safety. With technology that improves the safety and effectiveness of first responders. With solutions that make citizens and communities safer and healthier. Game-changing ideas that actually SAVE LIVES.
These leaders and organizations do all these amazing things. So how come there are so many who can’t articulate their organization’s purpose, nor answer all 5 critical questions (we’ll get to each in a second). The answer is pretty simple. They’re swept up in the day-to-day business of putting out fires (literally and figuratively). They’ve got their heads down, with no time to look up. They’re busy with what’s Urgent, but maybe not what’s Important.
Yet taking the time to think about these 5 questions, discuss them with your leadership team, can make all the difference. You and your team will be more focused, more inspired, more driven.
In fact, we recently had a team meeting to revisit our own answers to these 5 critical questions. We’re pretty staunch followers of The Table Group, led by Patrick Lencioni, the organizational health pioneer and author of The Advantage. They recommend a very simple one page document for organizational planning. In it, you answer these 5 straight-forward questions to achieve organizational clarity:
- Why do we exist? (Core purpose)
- How do we behave? (Core values)
- What do we do? (Business definition)
- How will we succeed? (Strategic anchors)
- What’s most important, right now? (Thematic goal)
Now all the questions—and answers—are important, but for now, let’s just talk about purpose. We had spent time revisiting Question 1 (Why do we exist) at a previous meeting, and had been discussing and percolating on it since then. At the most recent meeting, we brainstormed again in small groups, and while there were many good ideas, we agreed that RedFlash associate and resident wordsmith, Michael Gerber, came up with a way of answering the question that feels just right:
That pretty much says it. Every day, we go to work to help our clients—government, technology companies, public safety organizations—do just that. Make communities safer and healthier.
That’s why we exist.
Now may be a good time for you and your organization’s leadership to revisit the same questions. The process can bring your team together. The answers will likely be inspiring and motivating. It will cause you to look up and think strategically.
And that’s all pretty good for business.