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Team Purpose & Values

By: Jorge Jaramillo


One of the core aspects to consider when working with a team is their values. These create and strengthen their sense of belonging to the company as they develop the organizational culture and define its purpose.

Take as an example what Steve Jobs said about Apple in the late ’90s:

“Apple believes that people with passion can change the world for the better. And those people that are crazy enough to think that they can are the ones who actually do.”

Almost 30 years later, this philosophy allows Apple to continue leading innovation in consumer products and services.

This is a good example of leadership to consider in every organization as a way to build up a legacy that remains. even when a company grows or restructures, the team will still be able to hold its values and philosophy steady.

To complement this idea, when looking toward company longevity, it’s crucial to establish its values. Whether they be simple words or meaningful characteristics, they will define the impact and scope of your operations; that said, defining them is a must. This leads to a mandatory question:


How can Team Values be defined?

Being part of an organization implies making a team effort to achieve goals together, which requires a unified set of goals and a strong engagement in achieving them.


Step 1: Brainstorm Purpose

For a start, you must identify meaningful things to your team members and compare them with the company’s purpose. By asking what’s important to them and bringing everything together, you will have the opportunity to unravel everything in an open discussion. For instance, we can list a few:

  • Why have you decided to join the company?

  • What are the goals you want to achieve in the company?

  • List at least three things you value the most in life

  • How can you help others at work? - On both personal and professional levels.

Once the answers are written down, it’s time to find commonalities in everyone’s purposes that can be grouped. The objective is to pair their personal motivations with the company’s values and find common points.


Step 2: Write the Purpose.

Having achieved consensus on their purpose, it’s time to combine the individual objectives of each team member and find out if they match with the company mission and vision.


Step 3: Brainstorm Values.

  1. Give them a list of values as an example.

  2. Have them identify 3-5 values that are important to them (don’t have to be included on the list). It could be the aspects of their personality they feel more comfortable with, a list of words that defines them, etc. Using the Predictive Index Assessment - or any other behavioral-driven test of your preference could be helpful in this case.

  3. Have them write a sentence that explains how those particular values should be understood personally. That will bring the team an excellent way to understand each other individually. E.g., if they choose “Respect,” it should go along with their explanation. Everyone should make an effort to consider the impact they have on others. Or if they go with “Discipline,” it could mean being aware of the opportunities for self-development and growth.

Step 4: Discuss & Select

All the team writes their values on the wall/whiteboard/shared spreadsheet, discussing their reasons for choosing them. They should be as open as possible, speaking their minds and ensuring they match the company values.

Group like-values together. You may need to rewrite some to merge them, but ensure they’re similar.

Have everyone vote by selecting the 5-8 of the most popular. Ask and discuss if any are left out. The goal is to ensure all values are representative of all team members and shared as part of the same structure.

Then, ensure they have a copy of a document containing the purpose and the selected Team Values.


Step 5: Apply them to your day-to-day operations

Establish a way to filter all new ideas using the defined values as a reference. At this point, everyone should have a clear idea of why the company’s values are important to the team and how their personal values feed the organization’s purpose.


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