5 Ways to Help Your Leader (and Yourself) Win at Business

Sometimes when issues arise in a workplace, there’s a belief that managers and teams are not on the same page — that, in fact, they want very different things. This (understandably) can cause a great deal of work stress on both sides of the equation. Managers feel like the organizational goals aren’t being met, and employees feel as if they’re not being listened to and understood.

These problems do occur; they are real. But if your organization has clear goals for a given year, the relationship between employees and managers can become simplified. Team members have the obligation to help their leader succeed, and leaders have the obligation to place team members in roles to succeed themselves (and as a group). It’s a two-way street in the managerial relationship when it works well.

So, how do you help your leader to win — and record a few wins yourself (and for your team) in the process?

5 Ways to Help Your Leader and Yourself Win at Business
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Here are a number of essential factors to see leaders, and their teams, thrive regardless of project scope:


See just above where we noted “… if your organization has clear goals for a given year?” For some organizations that’s a big IF. We know from scads of research on the subject that not all organizations have clear goals or an action plan. Even when they do, there can be significant problems aligning strategy (big thinking) with execution (daily tasks), and sometimes even challenges with aligning priorities (what gets worked on when) issues too.

Alignment is critical namely, the leader and the team need to be aligned around:

  • Purpose
  • Philosophy
  • Values
  • Methods of Operating

If these aspects of the business aren’t aligned, nothing that comes after this point – including your strategic plan — will work as well as you want it to.

Now, “alignment” typically begins with the leader — but as a team member you can help the organization become more aligned. Ask clarifying questions about the strategy or whether Project A is more, or less, important than Project B. Seek out examples of the core values being demonstrated well throughout the team. Openly ask questions about philosophy or the “why” that drives the organization. Managers throughout the organization should, ideally, be receptive to these conversations.

Shared Game Plan:

The ultimate goal here is twofold: first, everyone should know what needs to be done and when it needs to be done (strategic/priority alignment) second, you should aim to double your available time and cut your logistical tasks in half.

To build a shared game plan, your organization or team needs to conduct market research to understand your position, define the scope of your project, talk to customers/partners, assess processes and best practices and set activities and timelines. So-called “shallow work” will always exist on project teams, but if that’s all you’re doing, it’s not helping your leader or team win.

Team Amplification:

James Allen, a partner in Bain Capital’s London office, wrote an article for Harvard Business Review called “How The Best CEOs Get The Important Work Done.” Here’s an interesting insight Allen uncovered: the No. 1 thing — by far — that takes leaders off their game is dealing with bickering and infighting among team members.

Even if you don’t like a colleague, constantly bringing that problem to the surface actually brings down everyone, not just you and the colleague in question.

Here are two major things you can do to help your leader (and thus the overall team) stand out:

  • Collaborate with your team members on whatever the leader sets in front of you, even if you don’t necessarily like or respect those team members
  • Play your position well and support others where needed — without overtly doing their job

Push Back:

We’ve all experienced the boss who suddenly deems 44 different projects and tasks as urgent or favours the phrase, “I needed this yesterday.” That’s not a realistic manager. It may be an achievement-centric manager — which could be a good thing — but if the manager can’t be realistic, the goals won’t be met.

As a team member, this is when you need to push back. Before you do however, here are two important pieces of advice:

  • Overt push back should happen in private, not in public
  • Focus your feedback on the organization’s success, not individual success or individual issues


This is an important factor in the mutual success of a leader and their team, that often isn’t built into team architecture models. Over the years I’ve witnessed teams that constantly hit all their goals — and even exceed them – only to have 2 out of the 10 team members get recognition or compensation for their efforts. Whereas the leader always received some kind of bonus. Just by the sheer nature of how their organization was structured, those higher up a hierarchy ladder were rewarded when projects in their area were successful. But a front-line employee is not always guaranteed the same rewards.

A more holistic compensation model is better for the team members, the leaders and the company. To ensure the model is balanced it must be structured to: (a) reward positive behavior, and (b) find a way to reward as many people on a successful team as possible.

The very nature of hierarchy means that the people with the power — the team leaders — tend to set and direct the discussion around salary and compensation. This is the norm, but it can be a two-way street. Team members and employees can ask what compensation models the company uses. They can ask how the math is determined at different levels, and they can even ask about margins as regards salary. (There is sometimes confusion that your salary only needs to reflect your value back to the company, but that’s not often how salary is determined actually.) Asking questions and starting conversations about money is often not encouraged at companies — and that’s why many studies show that people have no idea if they’re paid fairly — but as an employee if you don’t feel you’re being fairly compensated, it’s up to you to drive the conversation and ask questions around this crucial topic.

And what if it all goes wrong?

In short: don’t be afraid to leave. If you don’t respect or trust your leader, move on. If they don’t respect or trust you, try to confront that issue head on — try to improve it — and if it’s headed nowhere, it’s time to move on as well. Your professional life will essentially run in circles on a series of teams where you don’t respect the leader of the team.

We know there can be some amount of distrust between those who run institutions and those who work for them, and this distrust can manifest at the micro level between leaders and their teams, causing widespread failure. By some measure, 82 percent of team leaders end up being the wrong choice for that project. Those leaders fail for a variety of reasons, often because of some of the issues we’ve discussed here today. As a team member you can help your leader and your team win more often when you consider the areas mentioned above. Teams need to help their leaders “win” at the task in front of everyone, and leaders need to help position their teams for success too.

Whether or not this is happening in your organization could speak to its overall health. For decades companies have been meticulously attending to the details of their financials, sometimes assessing them daily in executive meetings. This often creates a blind spot to the other aspects of their business that produce real success.

That’s often still the case, but gradually we’re seeing more and more companies look at all of the factors that compound to create their success. If you think organizational health is something you need to be concerned with (hint: it is, for almost every company), then … what do you need to look for?

We put together a checklist of considerations on organizational health, which you can download for free below. Take the checklist to your next meeting with your leader and spark a new conversation around how you can all help to improve the health of your organization so that you can both win more often.

TeamWorks: Organizational Health Checklist

4 Secrets for Executives to Work Less and Earn More

One of the holy grails as a modern executive is the concept of earning more … while working less. It seems almost unattainable, especially if you’re in growth mode. So, how do you find ways to not only enjoy your work and find the seemingly mythical ‘work-life balance’ all while working less and making more?

We know from decades of research that constantly working and always being considered ‘on the clock’ is bad for your health, your relationships and your pursuit of other activities — such as hobbies or traveling. You are more than your work, even if your work is your passion or your cause in life.

Here are four secrets to working less and earning more as an executive. The bonus, they will also help your organization earn more and help the people who work with you feel empowered. It’s a win/win/win!

4 Secrets for Executives to Work Less and Earn More
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Share the vision, share the load

Here’s something that many executives don’t always understand at first: salary is very important to many people, it’s often one of the main aspects someone considers when taking a new job. But … it’s not always the most important piece of the employment puzzle. Salary alone only creates a transactional tie back to the organization. If the organization begins to flail or flounder, an employee who is only there for the salary will be among the first to leave.

But if that same employee is connected to the purpose, vision, or mission — whatever word you choose to use is OK — that’s a transformative tie. Those people weather the storms with you because they believe in the work.

Think of it in the context of a marriage. If you only marry someone because they’re attractive or have a lot of money, what happens when they are less attractive or lose that money? But if you marry them because you believe in something about them and how you are together, you make an effort to stick through the tough times.

As a leader, when you effectively set the vision and share the purpose with your employees, it benefits you in the intermediate to long-run too. When employees are engaged with the purpose, they are subsequently engaged to do more of the work. This means you can do less of the work, or rather — you can focus in core strategic areas that not only are a better use of your time, they also feed your passion and purpose for the work as well.

Setting and sharing the vision and purpose for the organization gets your team excited and empowered to take more action and more responsibility, allowing you to allocate your time to activities that better serve the bottom line, and your personal sanity.

Empower the experts that surround you

The hiring practices of many companies can seem confusing on the surface.  During an interview they attempt to learn about the achievements, background and values of a potential hire. Once that person has been vetted and they believe the candidate can do the job – they hire them and agree to pay the candidate a certain amount of money in return for doing their new job. But then an interesting thing happens.

Despite approving this person and believing in their skills managers instantly micromanage the work of a new hire. This is logical in one respect, as you want to make sure they understand your core business processes. But it can begin to erode trust quickly and add more work to your already overflowing plate.

If you want to work less but earn more, the simplest path to doing so is trusting people to do what they’re good at. If you’re a leader in an organization, there are certain initiatives or projects that you must be involved in, of course. But those are few and far between and tend to impact long-term strategy, branding, or market position. Believing that you must be involved in every single project will only having you working more – not less. Instead, step back and empower the people you’ve hired to do the jobs you’ve hired them to do.

Take control of your time

There has been much research attempting to quantify the relationship between hours worked and productivity. A study published by John Pencavel of Stanford University found that employee output falls sharply after a 50-hour work-week, and falls off a cliff after 55 hours—so much so that someone who puts in 70 hours produces nothing more with those extra 15 hours.

Working 55 hours/week is still a lot — 11 hours/day on a five-day work week — but it’s better than 70-80, which some executives pull regularly. The important thing to remember is that productivity wanes and drains if you’re on the clock too much.

The easiest parallel here is what happens when you call IT or customer service for most tech products. What do they tell you to do, usually? “Restart” or “power off.” It’s kind of a joke to some by now, but it works with humans too: we need to restart or power off, or else we’re not actually achieving goals anymore.

Big surprise here, one of the keys to working less….is actually choosing to work less! Stop convincing yourself that an 80 work week is the only way to success. Take control of your time.

Align strategy and execution

In any organization, there is the “strategy” — which is the long-term vision for where the company is going, driven by market position and your organizational capabilities. There’s also the “execution,” which is the day-to-day work of driving that strategy forward.

Unfortunately, in many companies, strategy and execution aren’t aligned. Look at this graphic from Harvard Business Review, for example. Only 8% of senior leaders can typically align the two concepts well:

Top Leaders Effectiveness at Strategy Execution & Development

This is the single greatest reason that you – and the other senior leaders in your organization – end up working too much. When execution (day-to-day) isn’t reflecting strategy (long-term vision), senior leaders feel the need to jump in on every project and course-correct.

Spend more time ensuring that the daily actions and activities of everyone in the organization are aligned with the long-term strategic vision. When the day-to-day work is reflecting long-term goals, your company will be humming along with less fires to put out. Again, giving you back more time and energy allowing you to work less!

Work-life balance can often seem like a massive buzzword, especially to those of us passionate about growing our companies and achieving huge results. But it can be done with a few shifts in how we think and align our work. Implement these four strategies and before you know it, you will be working less and earning more.

What other tactics have you tried for earning a bit more while working a bit less?

What ‘Game of Thrones’ Can Teach You About Leadership

Game of Thrones returned to HBO this month (no spoiler alerts). It’s one of our family’s favorite shows — and of course, much of the central conflict emerges from the quest for the Iron Throne. So what can we learn from a fictional show about leadership? Everything.

Staying tuned into the story line involves understanding a lot of family structures, hierarchies, leadership flows, and yes, kings. Even though the focus of Game of Thrones is hardly modern-day leadership — it depicts a fictional time and place — it often makes me think about issues I see amongst today’s modern leaders.

One central concept I return to often is the idea of “good king/queen” vs. “bad king/queen.” Game of Thrones actually addressed this topic of ‘What makes a good king?’ In Season 4, let’s take a look at the scene together…

What Makes a Good King?
Click to watch the ‘Game of Thrones’ – What makes a good king?


The essence of a good King or Queen

There can be much said about what makes a person either “good” or bad”. Moral judgments aside, to be a successful leader, you need to possess a slew of important attributes. Chief among them include: Courage, Heart, Passion and Determination.

Those words are all somewhat synonyms, but they reflect differently in different situations. A good leader does one thing above all: he/she will rule in the best interests of the kingdom.

Let’s take a closer look at how this translates to the modern office environment.


Leadership Lessons from the Game of Thrones

Listening to your ‘subjects’

Some leaders believe organizational breakthroughs can only occur at the senior ranks — i.e. with the people who have the most experience. While that is often true, it’s not universally true by any means. GMail, arguably one of Google’s flagship services and certainly one of its greatest inventions in its history, came from the middle ranks of the organization.

There are golden ideas — and yes, some bad ones too — all throughout your organization. Good leaders realize this and listen (or develop systems and processes to create more effective listening) in order to tap those ideas into business outcomes.

Empowering positive ‘knights’

One of the biggest areas that can impede the success of an organization is the lack of alignment between strategy (defined by top levels of management) and execution (the day-to-day tasks of everyone else). This is usually a result of a lack of clear purpose (the day-to-day workers don’t understand how their tasks connect back to the company’s goals) and employee empowerment.

Oftentimes middle management doesn’t have true decision-making authority to act/move on an idea or goal. They have to wait for approval up the chain. This slows down decision-making — and if your competitors have a better system for getting ideas and products to their customers, it ultimately hurts your bottom line. Good Kings and Queens empower their Knights to act without explicit approval so long as they’re operating in the best interests of the kingdom.

Helping everyone thrive

It never serves a King or Queen well when members of their kingdom are enfeebled. There are numerous research studies on the impact of toxic employees, but a good leader realizes that a “bad” employee is usually a person with a specific skill set who’s been placed in the wrong fit.

As a leader, it is the responsibility of the King/Queen to help everyone be their best. This means ensuring that you have the right people, in the right roles, at the right time.

Making difficult decisions

Not every decision a leader makes is easy — in fact, the majority are usually very hard. Growing a company requires sacrifices and concessions you never dreamed of when you started the process. The important thing is to never lose sight of the focus: the best interests of the entire kingdom. That doesn’t mean you, or you and the queen, or you and your top lieutenants. It means the entire kingdom.

Difficult decisions made for the entire kingdom’s good typically turn out OK; difficult decisions made for the good of just a few people typically lead to regression.

Sharing rewards with the entire kingdom

While intrinsic motivation is certainly powerful, people also want tangible physical rewards (often in a monetary or ‘perk’ form). There can be a tendency in some organizations for only the top officials (those closest to the king/queen) to receive these rewards. This backfires when those knights and foot soldiers eventually set out to find a different kingdom to contribute to.

Rewards must be shared, and the rationale for the rewards must be transparent to all. Good leaders understand that.

The essence of a bad King or Queen

It goes without saying that you can take any of the attributes and activities above, flip them on their head and call them the essence of a bad King/Queen. But, let’s take a moment to explore the most common mistakes modern leaders make that put them in this category.

Self-focus: It’s often easy for people in middle management or on the front lines of your kingdom/organization to see a difference between what you say and what you do. If you preach togetherness, collaboration, and positivity … but then your actions and focus are all about you and you only, it creates a disconnect that is bad for your kingdom.

The 3D Effect: I wish we were talking about a cool movie concept, but instead I mean; Directs, Dictates, and Demands. This is a classic sign of a bad King/Queen. Their leadership style is less about the actual goals and more about his/her specific pathway to the goals.

Making people feel small: Bad kings don’t understand the concept of ‘accountability,’ confusing it instead with belittling others over small mistakes instead of attempting positive course-correction. Of course, in Game of Thrones this would involve some kind of beheading or punishment by death. Hopefully that’s not the case in your organization.

Taking stock of your kingdom

What’s the verdict? Are you the fairest King/Queen in all the land, or are you trending toward a less than stellar reign?

Here are three areas you can focus on if you’ve identified an opportunity for improvement.

  • People
  • Profit
  • Planet

You want your people to be positive, engaged, and prosperous. (I don’t necessarily mean paying everyone a massive salary, but I do mean paying people what they’re worth and allowing them opportunities to earn more as they prove greater skills and worth.)

You want your profit to be healthy and wealthy. This refers to signs of growth, both in terms of financial metrics but also customer experience satisfaction.

You want your planet to be successful — in short, you want to take care of the environment you live and work in. This takes different forms relative to the industry you’re in, but any profit-making organization has some responsibility back to the greater environmental good.

The choice is yours, then: you can be the good King/Queen (and rule over a healthy, wealthy, and prosperous kingdom) or the bad King/Queen, where everyone is hopping on horses and fleeing for the north in hopes of finding a better kingdom. Which one will you be?

image credits: Designed by Freepik

The Ultimate Guide to Spring Cleaning Your Business

In our home base of Toronto, March and April are important months. While we love the Ontario winters and the fun activities it brings, many of us begin to long for spring this time of year. We want to peel off those extra layers, shed the boots and scarves and become a bit more agile in our day-to-day.


We’ve had neighbours over the years call it all sorts of things: spring cleaning, coming out of hibernation and even shedding.

Of course, organizations do this too — and the time frame is often similar.

Senior leaders typically have some downtime around the holidays in December (relative to industry, of course) and come back in January refreshed and renewed, often buoyed by personal — and some professional — resolutions. But then day-to-day work sets in. A client recently called it “the business of doing business”, and it can lead to resolutions falling by the wayside, both personally and professionally. Compare the number of cars in a gym parking lot on January 2nd to those still there on April 2nd and you’ll see this phenomenon in action.

Perhaps you’re familiar with this in your own life and business. Here we are nearing the end of Q1, how are you tracking on your resolutions for 2016? If you’re feeling off-priority or misaligned with your original goals, perhaps it’s time for a little spring cleaning!

The Ultimate Guide to Spring Cleaning Your Business

5 Steps to Spring Cleaning Your Organization

We approach this type of exploration with clients in different ways relative to their industry, background and the specific reason they reached out to us, but there’s a consistent five-step process for how a leader should be involved in renewal.

  1. Inspire
  2. Focus
  3. Harmonize
  4. Correct
  5. Reward


1. Inspire:

The primary mission of the work we do with our clients is tying everything back to purpose. Keeping purpose at the center not only inspires but often leads to much greater sustainable financial growth as well.

The “inspire” stage in the spring cleaning process is the cornerstone of bringing purpose into the picture. A leader must set a vision for the work being done; it can’t simply be transactional (i.e. a salary), although we will get to rewards later in this list. The leader’s role in this stage is to ensure the shared “purpose” is visible to the entire team. Leader’s need to have the courage to engage with team members about their personal purpose, to ensure they are inspired by and working towards the organization’s purpose.

2. Focus:

The core focus in this stage is determining the outcome, engaging the team, and making the overall ‘dream’ of the organization feel real. In our experience, this is typically the stage at which most companies get stuck.

Here’s how we work to counter and offset the problems leaders and organizations often experience during the Inspire and Focus phases of this journey:

  • We ensure clients commit to a longer-term (three-year minimum) holistic offering
  • We work with the top line of leadership directly on their competencies, life purpose (yes, life purpose), and strategic plan
  • The next level down of management also works with us on these topics
  • At that point, we revisit the corporate purpose
  • Ideally, we find alignment between those with decision-making authority and the overall corporate purpose (sometimes we don’t, and that’s a subject for a future post)
  • Then we work on disseminating the plan and strategic objectives throughout the organization

The cornerstone comes from purpose — but it must also come from corresponding market research. When discussions are rooted in actual market intelligence — instead of ‘gut feels’ that long-tenured executives can often have (and often correctly) — there’s more accurate data to base strategic plans upon. In this way, you can drive the focus home through both (a) conversation and (b) real, factual information.

3. Harmonize

In the first two stages we were focused on aligning the individual purpose and corporate purpose or priorities and focus. This stage is about establishing culture and norms, where we focus on the alignment of what senior leaders say and what senior leaders do.

Typically the day-to-day activities of an organization will mirror the latter, not the former — even if the leaders bang the correct drum on what to say at every turn. This harmonize phase is about self-regulation of a culture; what norms rise to the everyday forefront, and what negative tendencies are pushed down?

4. Correct

This is the stage that can sometimes worry people we work with, because there’s a connotation in business that “correct” implies firing people. It can, yes, but that’s not our focus here.

Rather, consider this example: let’s say the Toronto Blue Jays team was built, over a period of years, to play excellent baseball (Let`s go Blue Jays!). Suddenly, the MLB decided out of nowhere that the Blue Jays now had to play soccer. Well, the team isn’t designed for soccer — it’s designed for baseball. But it still has fans, passions, and needs to make money, right? So now it has to realign to be a successful soccer team.

That’s what ‘correct’ means. Business models shift, revenue streams shift, sales funnel maximizations change. Some companies we’ve worked with have successfully pivoted their business model a half-dozen times in a few years. If you go from being a ‘core product company’ to a ‘core events company’ (things like this happen), you need different players — or you need to realign the existing players.

5. Reward

Ideally this should be a full-circle loop back to inspire, so that realizing on the inspiration is a form of reward. Of course, there are also monetary basics in play here; access to perks like extra paid time off, bonuses or use of corporate amenities.

The fact is people want to be rewarded for doing a good job; it`s baked into our consciousness from a very young age. It’s impossible to launch a large-scale renewal-type initiative and not consider the reward stage. If your margins are tight and that’s a concern, it doesn’t necessarily have to be financial in nature — but some type of reward structure and incentives need to exist. Without that, longer-term buy-in from the execution level of your organization will be a challenge.

These are the five core phases of any organizational spring renewal, which is a bit more complex than cleaning out the garage or spring cleaning your home. We promise it`s worth it, though. The growth will be there if you follow these steps, just as the sun is sure to start shining more now that Spring has finally arrived!

Look for our next post where we’ll get a little more in-depth on customer research and how it ties back to organizational decision-making and priority-setting, also known as … “The Lies People Tell You (And How To Overcome Them).”

What the Canadian Government Can Learn From Top Business Leaders

Since 1867 “Peace, Order and Good Government” (POGG) has been Canada’s constitutional mandate. While this may have been a good mandate at Confederation, it’s no longer relevant today.

POGG suggests that Canadians’ core “Purpose” is to be peaceful, orderly citizens who serve our government. Yawn! What a boring, uninspiring and bureaucratic message.

I don’t know about you, but I believe the role of government is not to demand service from its citizens, but to be a force for good that serves its people. Canadians deserve a Purpose that will help our people and Country to realize our true potential.

Just like an evolving company needs to both determine its Purpose and revisit it periodically, our Country needs to reconsider its core reason for being. We need a positive new Purpose statement that is accurate, powerful and inspiring for the greatest number of Canadians.

The American mantra of “Life, Liberty and The Pursuit of Happiness” clearly defines the American philosophy to strive to succeed and be the best they can be. While it suits Americans, it’s not appropriate for the more socially minded Canadian psyche.

“Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” is the national motto of France. It clearly communicates a way of being for the citizens of their country.

A Powerful Purpose Increases Team Engagement, Action and Results

The world’s top business leaders harness the power of their organization by crafting a powerful Purpose that inspires, motivates and guides their team.

A Purpose is an organization’s mantra, philosophy, creed, essence or core reason for being. It is a philosophy that unites teams, so they work together to produce amazing results.

Organizations that are “On Purpose™” are forces to be reckoned with. Their team members work in alignment and produce powerful results – almost magically optimizing their talent and energy.

It is the leader’s responsibility to align the organization around a powerful purpose and then build a strategic plan to live it. Prime Minister Trudeau has the power to call our leaders to craft such a plan.

If he truly wants to effect positive change, Mr. Trudeau should assemble a multi-disciplinary, cross representative team of leaders from government, business and NGOs to develop our Country’s purpose. Like any successful leader does, he would work with them to create a positive, shared strategic plan for the people of our great Country.

Any business leader worth their salt can attest that a plan is more likely to succeed when the leader assembles the team to inspire and craft it. This team approach significantly increases engagement, commitment, responsibility, action and RESULTS!

A Proposal for a New Canadian Purpose

There will be much discussion in the coming weeks and months about Prime Minister Trudeau’s leadership and intended direction for Canada. Beginning with a strong Purpose, developed with the people of Canada.

If Mr. Trudeau were to ask me, I’d suggest “Peace, Power and Prosperity” for Canada’s national Purpose:

  • Peace; from both a military and an individual’s perspective. We all desire personal, family, community and global Peace.
  • Power; like money or “The Force” can be used for good or evil, we need Power to achieve results. When we surround Power with Peace and Prosperity, it will be a force for good.
  • Prosperity; all humans strive to attain a sustainable, prosperous life and planet. A prosperous person has wealth, happiness and health.

Canada has the potential to be a shining example. Our citizens have gathered here from across the world to live in peace and use their power to produce prosperity.

Prime Minister Trudeau can learn from what the greatest business leaders do. He could assemble a multi-disciplinary team to align around an inspiring Purpose and craft a collaborative strategic plan to help Team Canada achieve our vast potential.

What about you? What would you suggest for Canada’s Purpose? Please share your comments below.


How to Lead With Purpose and Inspire New Levels of Success

Most organizations have a mission statement. But it’s rare that everyone in an organization lives and breathes its purpose.

When your team members aren’t aligned around a powerful purpose, you’ll have a hard time standing out from the competition, reaching your goals and driving results. This type of purpose goes far beyond a standard corporate mission.

In my hundreds of interviews with senior business leaders, less than 20% of them know their life purpose. How can your team members commit to your organization’s purpose if they aren’t aware of their own life purpose?

Attempting to craft a mission with people who have not clearly defined their own results is a weak and uninspiring philosophy. How can your mission be meaningful, if those building it have no clue about what they are on planet Earth to do?

How to Find Your Life Purpose

Your life purpose is your core essence, your mantra, your code, your guiding principle or your personal reason for being. Uncovering your purpose and creating a game plan to achieve it can turn your life and the spirit of your organization around.

People who have clearly identified their life purpose are happier, healthier, live longer and earn more money. Here are three questions you can ask to find your life purpose:

  1. What excited you the most as a kid?
  2. What would you want your friends, family and colleagues to say about you on your 85th birthday?
  3. What are you the most proud of in your life?

If you’re stuck, here are some examples for inspiration:

  • A leading investigative reporter: “To uncover the truth”
  • A prolific doctor: “Help people live a better life”
  • A champion golfer: “To enjoy the game”
  • A successful turnaround leader: “Enable harmony”

My own life purpose is “To help people realize their potential”. I strive to live by this creed in my work, with my family, for my friends and with all those I come into contact with.

3 Keys to a Purpose-Driven Organization

According to Insights 2020 research, organizations that “over-perform” in terms of revenue growth link everything that they do to a clearly defined purpose.

This study conducted 325 interviews and surveyed responses from 10,000 participants in 60 countries. Its findings were supported by LinkedIn, The Wharton School, the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF), ESOMAR, Kantar and Korn Ferry.

Here are three steps to aligning your team around a shared purpose:

1. Start with the leader.

Creating and working towards a powerful purpose is your highest responsibility as a leader. When your life purpose aligns with your organization, amazing things will happen.

It’s often easier for entrepreneurs to align their life purpose with their mission. It can be challenging if you work in a corporate environment. No matter your organization, having someone experienced in helping you uncover your purpose and aligning it with the enterprise will enable you to achieve transformative results.

Many lesser leaders fear this type of soul searching. However, finding your life purpose will make you a stronger, more inspiring and engaging leader. You’ll keep your team focused, inspired and moving ahead. Being an exceptional leader isn’t just about getting people to do things. It’s about engaging your team’s spirit and passion. For your organization to thrive, you must not only determine your purpose but also help others on your team to find their purpose. Then, you can align everyone around a shared passion and spirit.

2. Revisit your mission.

Once everyone on your leadership team is clear on their life purpose, you can develop or revisit your company mission. Does your current mission statement reflect where you want to go? Does it truly inspire people? If not, you will need to rewrite your mission. You’ll likely craft one that is much more powerful than the one you had before.

3. Hire the right team.

Your company mission will lack integrity if your team doesn’t align around it. You may need to let some people go if they are holding you back from living your mission that is consistent with their own. Think of your purposes as overlapping circles. The more your circles overlap, the stronger your organization.

Winning leaders and teams share a common spirit. Aligning this spirit creates a powerful, collaborative and interconnected group of people who meld with one another to achieve inspiring results.