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Connect Your People to Your Purpose

Originally published: 10.01.17 by Mike Abrashoff

Connecting people to purpose is the foundation of leadership. It’s also the second step in your leadership journey. You should already have set new standards and expectations, and redefined your commitment to excellence.

Now, it’s time to align your team toward a common goal.

Defining your mission is important, but don’t overlook the obvious. Your team can either accept or deny this mission. It’s your job to achieve a favorable outcome.

Identify your mission?

In the beginning, your message should be simple. On enfold, the initial mission was to be the best damn ship in the Navy. That was our starting point. Our come-from.

And everything else would be a means to achieving that purpose.

For your team to execute their mission, you must establish expectations and ensure your team understands it. Depending on your current organizational situation, identifying your mission may pose challenges. When I took command of Benfold, many members of the crew were just putting in time. They were waiting for the next tour of duty, or worse, to leave the Navy.

No one had given the crew a compelling vision of their work. Are you giving your technicians and office staff a good reason to believe what they’re doing is important?

Compelling Call to Action

People want clear direction, and it’s your responsibility to provide this direction. The ability to delegate is an important aspect of leadership. You alone must communicate who you are as a company. Own this responsibility and it will lead to your success.

To fully engage your employees, be clear about your vision and the values that will guide you toward reaching this vision. The execution of this vision, however, is your team’s responsibility. Your team’s involvement will convey a compelling sense of recognition and trust. This is vital to any organization.

Establish a Winning Attitude

People want to win. But does your team know what winning means to your company? Have you defined the rules of the game and how you keep score?

Being the best is not always winning at all costs. Reaching goals the right way has invaluable benefits and your team must understand the parameters of their actions. These parameters set the right example, culture and values for everyone to follow.

Where goals help define what is important, values define how you reach your goals. Establishing values is essential for your team to win. How you win is as important as winning itself.

Having a vision for your company is only half the battle. Connecting your team to that vision is equally important, and simplicity is always best.

Can you discuss your compelling call to action in 30 seconds or less? If you can’t, your vision may be too complex, and your team might not really understand their expectations.

As you think about how to connect your people to their purpose, ask the following two questions:

How does your team?provide “value” to your customers? ?

In what type of environment will your team thrive? ?

The better your people understand what the customer values, the better your company will be able to focus and connect with customers. And, if people are allowed to contribute and play a role in how an organization operates, they will want to be a part of that environment.



About Mike Abrashoff

A former U.S. Navy Captain, Mike Abrashoff took control of the USS Benfold, one of the worst performing ships in the Pacific Fleet. After just 12 months, he transformed the ship — using the same crew — and won the Navy’s Spokane Trophy for best-performing ship in the Pacific Fleet. For additional information on how to transform your leadership, visit

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