I have written quite a bit about our purpose (Why you exist?) and our vision (Where do you want to be?). As leaders, once we understand why our purpose and our vision are so important, the next logical step is to spread the word.
My pulse quickens and I can feel the excitement build within me when I think about a leader effectively communicating their purpose and vision to their team! And even though it can be challenging, the rewards are worth it! Let me share how we did it at my moving and storage company.
On February 12, 1992, we introduced our first half-a-day, company-wide meeting called Operation QIC (pronounced “quick” for Quality is Contagious).
Because that first meeting was so successful, we continued to have an annual post-peak-season, half-day, company-wide QIC-Day (named after the first meeting).
The purpose of a QIC-Day was to emphasize a yearly theme. And in October 2001, I introduced WOW! to our people so we all would clearly understand.
Years prior to our WOW! QIC-Day, our people had already heard me speak about our purpose (Customers For Life) and our vision (Revolutionizing the Way People Move).
The WOW! QIC-Day was that moment we codified our thinking as we more deeply discovered why we exist (our purpose) and where do we want to be (our vision).
W – Why we exist? (our purpose)
O – (has no meaning)
W – Where do we want to be? (our vision)
For this blog post, I will focus on how I conveyed our purpose to our entire company.
Every leader can effectively communicate and project their purpose by taking three simple steps.
1. Understand the Method
I have found that interactive group activities are the best way to help folks dive deeper into any topic. So, we intentionally planned such activities for this important day. As our employees arrived for our WOW! QIC–Day, we asked them to sit at pre-assigned table groups of no more than eight people per table to…
- Encourage interaction and discussion
- Enjoy the games we were about to compete in
Each game played was designed for our people to…
- Have fun
- Learn to work as a team
- Discover practical applications
Game # 1 – To kick off the meeting, we used an “ice breaker” game for our people to get up from their chair and move across the room to ask questions given to them to learn something personal about someone they would not have known before.
Game # 2 – I’m sure you’ve heard of Monopoly. It’s the world’s favorite family board game. Well, we played a similar game.
To give emphasis to our QIC-Day and since we were in the moving and storage business, we called our custom made board game Moveopoly! (I still have the original custom game board template we made.)
2. Clarify the Message
At our WOW! QIC-Day, we divided our agenda into two parts:
- Our Purpose
- Our Vision
For now, let’s look at how I rolled out and communicated our purpose.
In my company at the end of the day, we want to accomplish only two things:
- Delight Customers, and
- Increase Operating Profits
I later called these our super–objectives, because they became the two high-level, over-arching objectives for our business. And they were so simple that everyone could easily understand and remember them.
We knew we had delighted the customer when we gave them an experience that exceeded their expectations.
And we actually had measurable performance goals related to how well we delighted the customer.
Insight: When you delight your customers, increased operating profits will follow.
As a by-product of delighting the customers, we achieved our purpose, Customers For Life. That WOW! QIC-Day, I also shared with our people our three priorities for why we exist:
- Grow business in existing markets
- Expand business into compatible niche markets
- Develop and sustain long-term customer relationships
Afterwards, we had open discussions about what these three priorities looked like specifically for our business.
3. Amplify the Awareness
During the meeting, we used two questions to stimulate thinking and discussion about our purpose (Why we exist):
- Can you identify the things that delight (not just satisfy) our customers and achieve our purpose – Customers For Life? (positive thoughts)
- Can you identify the things that turn customers off? (negative thoughts)
I used the following process to engage our people to participate in the facilitation exercise about our purpose:
- I introduced the first of the purpose-related questions from above and asked our people to discuss at their table possible answers to that question.
- Next, each table used their flip chart to record their ideas and answers in response to the first question.
- Then, one-by-one, each table was asked to share their best idea for that question with the entire group.
Then we repeated the process for the second question. Finally, we all played the Moveopoly board game about our purpose. Each table created their own game cards based on the answers shared as part of the previous exercise. Cards were made using 10 positive thoughts and 10 negative thoughts that our people gave during the facilitation exercise.
Boy, did our people have lots of fun playing Moveopoly and competing against the other table teams for special prizes.
But most of all while they were having “a ball of fun” and using the positive cards and negative cards containing their own thoughts, it completely reinforced how they were going to achieve Customers For Life – our purpose.
In my next blog post, I will talk about the second half of our WOW! QIC-day agenda – and describe how we introduced and reinforced our vision – Where do we want to be?
Do you know why you exist as a person and as an organization? How could you use a similar game-based discovery approach with your people to deeply communicate your message to them? Please share your comments <here> and share this blog post with family, a friend, and/or co-worker.