- suggestions for better outcomes by really working together

Suggestion 1: Start with the purpose

With the problem situations and the overall mindset problem of Typical problem situations fresh in our minds, we have a large gap to bridge. Let’s get started with the first question, namely how and with what can a new initiative be started?

Assume we are going on a trip. Should we use a boat, car or plane? It's a silly question... It depends. Are we going to the neighbor for a drink? Or going to live on Mars?

Of course, start with the…


Starting with the purpose is the first - and maybe the single most important - step of bridging the gap to really working together.

This may sound obvious and simplistic but in my experience it’s extremely underutilized. Go back home to the office and ask different people in your organization, or your clients, the question ”where shall we start?” I bet you will be disappointed by their answers. And when you suggest that purpose is the right starting point, they may ask what the purpose is…! Others will tell you that this is all nonsense, you are just an idealist. You have to make money. Of course you have to make money, no-one said you didn’t have to. But starting with the purpose and having everyone on board will lead to the positive outcome that you also make more money! There’s no conflict, on the contrary. It’s just a question of what comes first.

Why is the purpose important? For example, if you really love to help people in need and you are working on a project to help beat cancer then you will jump out of bed every day, full of energy and eager to get to work. Every day will be fulfilling. (For further reading, start with [Start with Why].)

Notch, the creator of Minecraft, published on his site in the very early years that the game had to be FUN, everything else was secondary. I have to admit that I was personally a bit annoyed by the quality back then. My youngest son wanted to run his own server and he learned what the word ‘bug’ meant. But according to my son and to a huge population, Notch achieved his purpose. And Minecraft also went on to enjoy success from a financial standpoint.

As a young Swede, I could choose between doing military service or going to jail. I thought about it for a long time, but decided in the end to do military service. As a matter of fact, it turned out to be worse than I had expected… I had a great job and life, but all of a sudden I found myself in situations where officers were screaming like crazy at me and spitting in my face.

However, in the last few years I’ve been reading quite a lot of military theory (for example [Art of Action]) and of course, the militaries understand quite a lot. In fact, I found out that they understood how microservices really should be designed and used 150 years ago! Amazing! A key thing for small, autonomous units to work, to work together and work well in a dynamic setting is that they are aligned to the purpose! Alignment to purpose creates the possibility of autonomy! I forgive my old officers, all they wanted was to turn me and my fellow soldiers into great microservices!

So how do you find the Purpose? A start might be to talk about it with your team all the time and spread energy and positive thoughts about how fulfilling it is to find that you are moving to the purpose every day in all the things you do. Get your team involved in the process and some of them will jump on board. Remember that they also want to have fun, be creative and create value - and find fulfillment. But finding the overall purpose of the organization you are working for can’t really happen without it coming from the very top of the organization and sprinkle downwards. So after warming up on your closest surroundings, go there and inspire them to take action!

This suggestion was a first step of bridging the gap, but the bridge we have now created is still fragile. It might be possible for one person to cross the bridge… But not in bad weather, and not if he carry bags… We have to continue, and my second suggestion is coming up here....

Suggestion 2: The business and its outcome is the context


[Start with Why] Simon Sinek; Start with why
[Art of Action] Stephen Bungay; The Art of Action

The series published so far

Part 0: Typical problem situations
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Suggestion 2: The business and its outcome is the context

This is an adapted extract from the presentation called “What really matters” that has been presented in cities including London, Sydney, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Berlin, and Cape Town.

This article was originally published on LinkedIn. Join the discussion and read more here.