Tag Archives: purpose

People thriving

An interesting quote jumped out at me from Brian Robertson’s article on the History of Holacracy®:

“build the healthiest possible system where people thrive.”

Reimo Sandau, who I met in the afternoon, emphasized the word choice to me: “thrive”.

We have been struggling to clearly capture our company purpose in words for quite some time. “Structure & Process” is WHAT we build, WHAT we deliver. But WHY do we do it? What is the _purpose_ of building structures & processes? What are we really working for or towards? WHY is this work important?

Yesterday, we captured this formally in our company purpose for the first time: “Effective collaboration through clear structure and process” became: People thriving in collaboration, through clear structure & process”. 

It is longer and maybe not as smooth, but it is a start to put at the centre of our purpose the core of what this really is about: People. “Thriving.” Living, learning and growing as they work together. Being fully alive.

intransitive verb \ˈthrīv\

: to grow or develop successfully : to flourish or succeed

This may evolve into “people and organisations thriving” if we consider organisations to have a life of their own, but this will be up to a future governance meeting to decide. :)

Joyful work. Meaningful conversations. Clarity of purpose.

If you’d like to join us, there is plenty of work to be done! We are grateful for new collaborators and for opportunities to apply our skills – helping people thrive in collaboration. Let us know if you see any potential in your environment!

Have a great summer.

On wording Purpose

Effective collaboration needs Purpose. Often, it is helpful to make the purpose explicit: to give words to what the group or organisation aims to achieve.

What are good ways to word purpose?

I like purposes that are worded as an outcome and a process at the same time:

  • “exquisite organisation” (HolacracyOne)
  • “Effective collaboration through meaningful conversations and clear structure” (us, Röll & Korvenmaa)

These  point at a desired future state and at a process of getting there. Or of never getting there, but  infinitely trying. They can be understood as a practise.

Getting started

At the beginning, ANY purpose that a group agrees on can work. It doesn’t need to be great or perfect, good enough to get started is, well, good enough to get started.

Nenásilná komunikace, who worked with us to set up initial structure and group work processes, started with spread NVC in the Czech Republic. This is narrow and relatively vague, but was sufficient to kick things off.

Brian Robertson tells the story of how HolacracyOne started out with a lame Spread Holacracy – also: good enough to start. It can change.

The abstract and the specific

You may find that the initial purpose points at something  specific (“spread Non-Violent Communication”), whereas the organisation is actually about something larger, which it cannot express  at this time.

I recommend to look for something that’s big enough to be inspirational, but focussed enough to be practical and not overwhelming.

  • “To catalyse a community of interest, practice and expertise in Holacracy, in the UK and Ireland.”  is what Agile Organisation currently uses. This may not be massively inspirational, but is very clear and practical.

If in doubt, start with the specific, and then evolve. Use simple words, and keep it short.

Over to you

What are your organisations’ purposes? What do you like about them? How have they evolved? Please share your story!

(This post evolved from an online-conversation with Karolina Iwa of Track2Facilitation. Thank you for triggering it!)

For more links on Purpose, see our Tumblelog!