Albert Einstein once said that the most important question we can ask each other is this one: ”Is the universe a friendly place?”
The reason why this is the most important question to ask, is because the answer to this questions indicates whether we are building bridges to connect with each other or walls to defend ourselves.
Think about this for a moment…
How much more important isn’t it to build bridges instead of walls if we want this world to evolve? And this is exactly what we did together this Tuesday morning when we met for the very first public BrainTalk.
We have now launched what will become a series of BrainTalks with the intention of facilitating a place where leaders and changemakers can meet, both online and live. Here we can share thoughts and gain insights, and hopefully get more inspired, motivated and enabled. Our purpose is to create a better corporate world for leaders and their many employees, and this starts by engaging the hearts and brains of great minded people in a collective way. The theme this time was
”Purpose – the WHY of what we’re doing”:
In a short and (hopefully) sweet BrainTalk we shared our view on why this is important for the time we live in, and why it will become even more important in the times we are heading into.
(Read more about purpose and the importance of WHY in our blog in Huffington Post: Purpose – Beyond Earning Money).
The collective genius!
The strongest asset we have is the ability to collaborate. By being both active participants and active listeners at the same time we can upgrade our knowledge about a topic in no time.
The groups spent time working on a BrainGame challenge, together reflecting over the question:
”How can an emotional connected purpose help leading change?”
Through an intense and engaging process, the teams compiled a list of several suggestions, ultimately breaking it down to the two deemed most important by each team, which were shared with all of us. These are the findings:
A mutual understanding for a common goal makes change easier.
When everyone knows where they are heading it is easier to focus on the long term benefits rather than the short term challenges. In addition, research supports the fact that people or organizations with a clear goal are more successful.
It creates a feeling of belonging and we-ness.
Most people get energy and find meaning by being part of something bigger than themselves. Defining a common goal creates a sense of belonging, because it differs between those who are ‘in on the project’ and those who are not.
It establishes a common focus for the executive team, so they will know it if they are drifting in the wrong direction.
When a purpose is defined, it is extremely important to anchor this through actions and plans reflected in the strategic platform of the organization. This will make it easier to know what to do and what not to do in times ahead.
The journey of creating an emotional connected purpose is very valuable for those involved.
This is both due to the fact that people usually like to be involved in matters of importance, but also because the purpose itself gets anchored with the participants throughout the process. Even though an involving process might take some more time in the development phase, this is by far an investment worthwhile when considering the speed of implementation at a later stage in the process.
An emotional connected purpose creates intrinsic motivation.
Intrinsic motivation is connected to positive emotions. Research by Harvard Professor Teresa Amabile shows that “people are more productive, creative, committed and collegial when they have positive emotions and thoughts about the work and when they are motivated by intrinsic interest in the work itself.”
It also makes it easier and more fun to reach the goals that are established.
When the purpose serves as a base for strategic decisions there will also be emotions connected with reaching these goals. This is also related to the progress principle – that progress in itself is motivating for those involved.
Trust vs fear for change.
An emotional connected purpose makes it easier to trust the end goal, the people on your team and even the process itself.
More acceptance for change (even for the changes that are harder to accept).
We might not be aware of it, but we – humans that is – have a natural tendency to resist change. This is due to biological factors like homeostasis (you can read more about this in our blog “How To Lead Change”). One way to lessen this resistance is to be clear on why we do what we do – our purpose.
When emotions are involved, we feel more important, too.
Emotions are a strong part of our being. By working towards a common goal, fulfilling a purpose that we can identify with, it is easier to see how our contribution is valuable.
A sense of community is emotional.
Having a purpose that people can identify with creates a feeling of community, like being part of a team with strong bonds who can support each other and fight together against possible threats from the outer world.
Honesty – be who you are.
Knowing your purpose is important in order to be authentic and not operate on false premises. Authenticity and openness are, and will continue to be, important parts of the corporate life in the years ahead.
Transparency – helps you get rid of ‘the trolls’.
There might be people in an organization or on a team who have their own agenda or do not believe in the WHY of what you are doing. This creates disengagement and sometimes even result in having people on your team sabotaging what you try to accomplish. Even if it might be a tough call, it is better to let people like that go, both for the sake of the remaining people on the team and for themselves. This way they can use their energy another place that fits their purpose better. You can read about how to deal with disengagement in teams in the blog post “What is the cost of your leadership”.
That’s it! And – WOW! – this is what’s cool about tapping into the collective genius of a team. After just a short time of working together in a systematic way, we can present impressive result while we at the same time get more enlightened.
So, let’s jump back to Albert Einstein for a moment. He introduced an important question. In the corporate world there’s yet another question that is imperative to ask: Do we have an emotional connected purpose?
Even though a strong purpose might not be the answer to all the challenges and changes we see in the corporate world today, it is for sure an important part of building a strong organization fit for the future. Any organization with a clear purpose will benefit from the power of many.
Missed our latest BrainTalk? Don’t worry, – there will be more to come!
If you want more info about our BrainTalks and get invited to the next one, please register here.