We just selected nineteen college students to join our work team, and I’m getting ready for their first training session on Sunday. We always begin with a big picture focus. I feel strongly that Why comes before How. If you want a sense of purpose and a clear mission for everyone on your team (and you do), then begin with the big picture and hone in, as precisely as you can, on what’s the point, why you do what you do.

It seems every organization has a mission statement, but if you’re in an organization, do you know what yours is? Most are filled with P.R. jargon that seems far removed from the reality of your work. If you can’t clearly state your team’s purpose in a sentence or two, there is a lack of focus and clarity at the top.

So, when we bring on new team members we begin with an examination of our primary purpose as an organization. And it’s healthy for us to revisit this each year with returning staff as well and keep reminding ourselves of the big picture and the compelling reasons why we do what we do.

I’m working on slides for this weekend’s kickoff meeting for the new staff. I’m showing my work in progress here to remind myself that I can’t just repeat what I’ve done before. I’ve been tweaking the design and in the process rethinking the ideas and the flow. And it’s so worthwhile to take something you think you’ve got down and take a fresh look at it and be willing to discard and edit and redo. Every organization could benefit from regular revivals and periodic rethinks of just why you do what you do.

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