Welcome to the 38th edition of the CX by Design Ideas newsletter. This is a monthly mailing by your hosts, Lis Hubert and Diana Sonis, where we focus on sharing human-centered ideas for business. This month, we’re discussing how knowing your purpose facilitates effective collaboration.
Collaboration and Your Purpose
It’s easy to think that how we collaborate is in an entirely different realm than our purpose as an organization. But the truth is that your purpose will influence how you collaborate, and how you collaborate will determine how well you accomplish your purpose.
Let’s talk about the intersection between collaboration and purpose.
All businesses collaborate. If you’re a solopreneur, you collab with clients and other professionals. If you’re a small business, you collab internally with your teammates and externally with providers and partners. And if you’re part of a large company, you can add departments and cross-functional teams to the mix.
Usually, collaboration exists to fill a need or a skill gap on both or either side of the partnership. It’s simply a part of doing business. And while you may not think much about your organization’s purpose as a factor in the relationship, it is. Because purpose (directly or indirectly) drives most of the choices we make.
So, let’s suppose you’re working with a web agency to build a new website for your business. Understanding your purpose will help you choose the most effective content, design, and features. For your agency partners, understanding your purpose will help them create a web experience that speaks to that purpose. We call this a shared sense of purpose, and it’s essential to a successful collaboration.
Defining Your Purpose
So, what is your purpose? We could probably spend hours exploring this, but let’s keep it simple:
What do you do?
Who do you serve?
Why do you do it?
These three questions will help you keep focused on three critical things: the humans you’re working for, the way you’re meeting their needs, and why that’s important to you.
Let’s suppose you already know your purpose. What then?
Why Purpose Matters in Collaboration
Keeping your purpose in mind helps you see the bigger picture. If you’re working on part of a project, it’s so easy to get immersed in that specific task. You’re thinking about what your team needs, or what this feature needs, etc. You’ve zoomed in. Purpose helps you zoom back out and think about how this task fits in with a broader picture. You start to think about the needs of your stakeholders, the other departments and teams involved in the project, and even your business partner. And this makes you more adept at giving them what’s necessary for their tasks.
In short, shared purpose makes it easier to work together. You’re all focusing on the same overall goals. There’s less “I” and more “We”. And that goes a long way towards a fruitful and pleasant collaboration.
This is an oldie but goodie from Collaborate 2021. In this webinar, we talk about maintaining a respectful and productive relationship when trouble strikes and feelings run high. Watch the recording here.