Team Purpose & Culture

2-10 people

The purpose of this crucial process is to assist teams in determining their reason for existence and their collaborative approach towards achieving that purpose. By defining these two aspects, teams can become more concentrated and synchronized. The team members work together as individuals and as a group, utilizing concrete examples from other companies to establish a set of guidelines for their collaboration. The ultimate objective is to create a visual representation of the team's purpose and culture that can be displayed in their workspace.

Workshop steps


Use this two-part tool to define or refresh your team's purpose and culture. The purpose explains why your team exists, while the culture outlines how you work together and the values you uphold. Follow these simple steps to create a unified purpose and cultural norms for your team: 1. Begin the workshop by asking your team members to ponder the following questions: - What is our role as a team? - What is our goal, and how do we know when we've achieved it? - How do we contribute to the company and the world? 2. Start the session with a check-in to ensure everyone is on the same page.


In this step, gather collective insights to create a general idea of your team's purpose definition. First, provide some examples of company purposes. Here are a few, but feel free to include your favorite examples from within or outside your company. Make sure they are visible to all team members. Patagonia - Create top-quality products, avoid unnecessary harm, and use business to inspire and implement environmental solutions. Amazon - Be the Earth's most customer-focused company, where customers can find and discover anything they want to buy online. Greenpeace - Ensure the Earth's ability to support life in all its diversity. Facebook - Empower people to share and make the world more open and connected. Google - Organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. -- Next, ask each team member to write their version of the team's purpose.


In this step, you will merge individual purposes to create a unified team purpose. Combining multiple opinions can be challenging, so be patient and set boundaries. Apply the 20x20 rule for group decision-making: allow a maximum of 20 minutes and 20 words to craft the team purpose. Don't hesitate to refine the wording, as words have a significant impact. Provide 10, 5, and 2-minute warnings before time runs out. If the group reaches a consensus before the deadline, proceed to Step 4. After establishing the purpose, take a moment to celebrate.


Establish a collective team purpose. Next, focus on developing your team's culture, which is how your team interacts and works together. It can be difficult to describe, but it's easily experienced through communication, task delegation, and treatment of all team members. 1. Share examples of company culture, such as the Netflix Culture deck, and find other inspiring examples. 2. Ensure each team member has their own workspace (use a digital whiteboard for online collaboration). 3. Ask team members to write down words representing the best aspects of your team culture, either aspirational or actual, using one sticky note (or virtual sticky note) per word. 4. After 5-10 minutes, display all sticky notes and have team members remove half of their notes, keeping only the "good half." 5. Repeat the process, but this time, ask them to keep only the top 3 most important elements of your team culture.


Request the team to place their sticky notes in a shared space for everyone to examine. Together, group the terms that share a similar meaning or sentiment. This stage may involve some discussion. As a facilitator, ensure the team stays focused and guides them towards making a decision. Once the grouping is complete, inquire if the team feels anything is missing. Did they exclude any cultural aspects that should be incorporated? If yes, add them.


You now possess a draft of your culture. To make these words or statements effective, you must bring them to life. Take the following steps: 1. Elucidate each statement - outline the expected behavior and the obstructive behavior. For instance: TRANSPARENCY - Encourage working openly, using shared documents accessible to all and engaging in conversations in open channels where anyone can participate. - Avoid being secretive, talking behind colleagues' backs, or working in isolation. 2. Collaborate with your team or assign each member a culture statement to define - and obtain consensus from the group on the definition.


Great job, you've successfully defined your team's purpose and culture! Now, create innovative interpretations of these concepts and ensure they are prominently displayed in your team's workspace. Regularly review and update this information every quarter (or month), treating it as a "living document" that evolves with your team. Tip: Try using a Team Canvas to assess and refine your Purpose & Culture.

Need help with this workshop?

Anna Lundqvist portrait
Anna Lundqvist
UX Designer and AI Ethics Strategist guiding innovative product development and educational workshops
Eddy Salzmann portrait
Eddy Salzmann
Design lead and team culture enthusiast driving products and design processes
Ola Möller portrait
Ola Möller
Founder of MethodKit who has a passion for organisations and seeing the big picture
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