Your route to the top: Create a can-do spirit

Get together. Research shows that a strong sense of purpose improves employee engagement and performance, as well as organisational success. Create a shared purpose in the form of a mission statement and your team will work better together.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Find the noble cause. Some of the most engaging missions are those linked to helping others. Wal-Mart's 'give ordinary folk the chance to buy the same things as rich people' is a great example of giving business objectives a human touch.

Make an emotional appeal. A focus like Google's 'Don't be evil' won't appeal to everyone, but it will draw like-minded people in. How do you want people to think, feel and behave?

Aim high. Set a clear and compelling target that will unify your efforts - and make it stretching. You may not win that national award, but in striving to be best you perform better.

Piggy-back. Select a well-known success and emulate it. Whether it's to be to the retail sector what Apple is to design, or to be the Warren Buffett of mortgage brokers, communicate what success looks like in a way that works for your team.

Create a healthy rivalry. A recruitment company organised its consultants into two teams. The mission was for each side to place more candidates than the other. The teams even had their own songs: Simply the Best and Eye of the Tiger; whenever they made a new placement, the relevant tune would boom across the office.

Open it up to the floor. Present your mission in draft form and invite everyone to critique and refine it. Then, discuss how you can all make it happen. The shared sense of ownership will guide people's day-to-day work and decisions.

Make it real. Relate the mission to each individual's cares, concerns and role. What does the mission mean to them? As their situation changes, so will their connection to it.

- The Mind Gym: Relationships is published by Little, Brown at £12.99 -

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