Team Purpose

The importance of 'why'?

You’d probably find it quite easy would to describe what your team does.  But if you were asked the question ‘why you do what you do’ …  would it be as easy?

Yet why is by far the most important question – Watch this 5-minute video by motivational speaker and organisational consultant, Simon Sinek, to learn more. 

Read more from Simon Sinek about how to find inspiration in what you do. 

The importance of shared purpose

When members in a team share the same purpose, that team transform into a more effective, cohesive and high-performing unit.   

We live in volative, uncertain, complex and ambiguous times. Shared purpose is the foundation upon which successful teams are built, which then leads to improved relationships, higher trust, greater creativity, better decision making.

What's Aberdeen City Council's shared purpose?

Our purpose is clearly set out in the Local Outcome Improvement Plan (LOIP)

Our Purpose is to ensure the people and place of aberdeen prosper

Together with our Community Planning Partners – our promise is to make things better for the people and place of Aberdeen.  

Whether you are a catering assistant, an accountant, a housing officer or a senior leader, we are all working towards the same purpose.  

Understanding our shared purpose connects us to the bigger picture – and to each other – and frees us to be more innovative and creative in the way we work. 

Aberdeen City Council’s purpose is clearly set out in the Local Outcome Improvement Plan (LOIP).

Together with our Community Planning Partners – our promise is to make things better for the people and place of Aberdeen.  

Whether you are a catering assistant, an accountant, a housing officer or a senior leader, we are all working towards the same purpose.  

Understanding our shared purpose connects us to the bigger picture – and to each other – and frees us to be more innovative and creative in the way we work. 

Developing your team purpose

So what is your team’s purpose?  And how does it fit into the wider purpose?  How clear is that purpose?  If you were to ask these questions of everyone in your team – would they say the same thing? 

Take time with your team to explore, define and agree your team’s over-arching purpose. Investing this time will mean that everyone is moving in the same direction, knows how you add value to the city and can focus their time and effort on the outcomes that matter. 

As part of the re-design of Aberdeen City Council, six  Functions have replaced the previous Directorate structure. The purpose of this ‘functional’ structure is to reduce silo-working and shape our services around our customers. 

How clear are you and your team on WHY your Function has been created? What is the purpose of your Function?  If you’re not clear visit the Interim Structure pages to find out more. 

Within each Function there are Clusters of services.  Clusters co-locate people who deliver similar outcomes so that they can more efficiently and effectively  collaborate.  In the same way as a cluster of bars, restaurants and shops adds a buzz to a city, grouping people together in this way improves productivity and adds value.  You’ll find more information on the purpose of your cluster on the Interim Structure page.  

So why does your team exist?

Watch this three minute video of different colleagues from across the council explaining the purpose of their team…

**Get someone inspirational to talk about WHY their team exists and how it links to the bigger purpose**.. . 

Looking for ideas on how to get the Team Purpose conversations started with your team? Visit the Practical Tools for Teams page.

Purpose Statement Checklist

Once you’ve developed your purpose statement with your team, test it against the good practice checklist below to make sure that it’s as simple and effective as possible.

As the needs of the city evolve and your team develops, it’s important your purpose statement also evolves so that it remains relevant. Take time in your team meetings for regular review and discussion, particularly during times of change, to make sure it still ticks all the above boxes. For ideas on holding focused and empowering team meetings, check out the Practical Tools for Teams page. 

We care about our purpose - and we SHARE about our purpose!

Share and share alike! What’s the purpose of your team? Once you’ve agreed it – submit your entry here so that we have a clear picture of what all teams across the council exist to achieve. This will be used on CoreHR to introduce your team to others.

Team Outcomes

Once you’ve clarified and agreed your over-arching purpose, the next team task is to agree the outcomes and priorities which will deliver that purpose. 

Once you’ve identified these agree how you’ll deliver them and who will be accountable for these.  Write the outcomes into your 1-2-1s as part of PR&D. 

As we work towards building trust across the organisation, why not share your outcomes with other teams so that they can gain a greater insight into the work of your team and even comment or provide feedback on your outcomes?

In the past, you’ll probably have been familiar with setting objectives as part of PR&D.   Objectives describe how you are going to deliver something, eg:

  • Recruit 30 16-20 year olds from Victoria Road 
  • Run 3 sessions over 3 months for those participants teaching traditional fish-net mending techniques and history of fishing in Aberdeen
The Council is moving to an outcomes-focus to reflect the Local Outcome Improvement Plan.  Objectives look at the actions to be taken, outcomes look at the  difference these actions will make. 
 
  • 16-20 year olds in Torry feel connected to the history of the area and are motivated to preserve that history

To deliver on our promises to the people of Aberdeen, we need empowered teams who look differently at old problems and come up with new ways of working. 

Task based objectives can limit our creativity and freedom to think differently.  They disempower us from looking at the wider issue and asking – is there a better way of doing this? 

If we look instead at the difference we’re trying to make – this opens your mind to what’s possible – “so if that’s the outcome we’re trying to accomplish, how else could we achieve that? Is there a better way of doing this?”