The Importance Of Knowing Your "Why"
Every organization has a vision behind why your organization exists, as well as what your big picture mission is. And when every member of your organization is acutely aware of your “why” and how their work directly contributes to that mission, your team will keep from developing burnout, disenchantment, and detachment from their work. Consider these reasons why your staff being directly connected with your mission impacts their day-to-day work:
1. Your “why” motivates action
Every organization and every job requires tedious work. Regardless of how much someone loves their job and the field they went into, that original passion can begin to dim as they shuffle through paperwork and the nitty-gritty of their job. But those tedious tasks can be less draining when you are reminded why you’re doing them. Not just in a vague, “this needs to get done so we can do what we do” sense. If any member of your staff is struggling with finding motivation in their work, sit down with them or with their team and draw a clear line from the work they complete to the ultimate goal of your organization. Clearly outline how those specific spreadsheets, emails, and forms work within the whole to carry out a larger, more meaningful task. Engage with your staff and walk them through the importance of their work so that they continue to find meaning and value in their jobs.
2. Your “why” creates urgency
Deadlines can be daunting but can be less so when you know exactly what you’re accomplishing by having something done in time. Having mission clarity and knowing why something needs to be done is motivating. When you delegate a task to an employee or staff member, take the extra time to explain what the goal of that task is and how it will contribute to your mission, rather than simply telling them what to do and when to have it done by.
3. Your “why” keeps people engaged in a healthy way
Burnout exists in any organization. Though we have the honor of working alongside many faith-based organizations with strong beliefs, that faith isn’t enough to keep someone at a culturally unhealthy organization that has lost sight of its vision. In fact, if your organization has completely lost sight of meaningful vision, that may be a sign that it’s time for you to move on. But if you, as a leader, simply expect your staff to stick around because you are all Believers working under a faith-based mission, you may be shocked to find that this is not the case. You need to equip your team with a vision that not only engages their faith but develops their God-given talents, while also maintaining a healthy culture. Use your mission and vision as a guiding force to draw your staff into the work, so that the work they do engages them spiritually, emotionally, and mentally, all within the context of a healthy team environment. One more sentence here?
Now, your “why” is allowed to change over the years. Your founder’s original vision for the organization may be different from what the mission is today; that’s perfectly fine, as long as you are still intentional about that mission. Rather than letting culture simply dictate your mission for you, it’s critical that your team, especially your leadership, regularly check-in and see how your mission and vision may have changed, how it should change, and what adjustments need to be made to your work to re-establish that updated vision. Seek out mission clarity.
So talk about your mission and vision, and talk about it a lot! Whether you take time in your weekly meetings to reflect on how your team has or hasn’t been aligning well with your vision, have individual departments or teams reflect on how their work fits within the mission, or something else entirely- make sure that your team knows what your mission is, and knows it well enough to keep them engaged, inspired, and motivated.