BONUS: Stephen Parry on how to create Alignment and Purpose in your Agile organization

“Most purpose statements are dry and uninspiring”, that’s how this episode starts. But Stephen goes deeper and explains why that may be the case. We dive into what are the missing aspects in most purpose statements and share some examples of how he’s been able to help organizations go beyond those dry and uninspiring purpose statements.

The three types of purposes we need to take into account

When we think about purpose, usually we talk about the purpose of the team, or organization we work within. However, Stephen also challenges us to consider that there is one more perspective we need to take into account: the customer’s purpose. 

Stephen outlines a 4-quadrant purpose canvas, where we have the business purpose (your organization’s purpose), the employee’s purpose (the team, and other actors inside the business), and finally the customer’s purpose: what reasons do they have to use your product or service? 

The final quadrant is the purpose that is constructed from the other three, and becomes the purpose for the teams working on a product. 

“Purpose defines value, value defines meaningful work” 

— Stephen Parry @leanvoices

The problem with traditional ways of drafting a purpose statement

Purpose is a critical aspect of the conversation within an organization. When the purpose is not clear, it becomes much harder to create and maintain alignment between the many different teams and people that need to collaborate. 

However, the way most organizations go about creating a purpose statement is inadequate and does not consider the different purposes in the “system” of work. 

In this segment, we talk about how the traditional approaches to creating a purpose statement feel like “waterfall” purpose creation processes, and what we can do as Scrum Master to start moving towards a more inclusive, and inspiring purpose statement.

Purpose as the engine of change

When we talk about change, whether that is Agile transformation, or something else, we often forget that those changes are often started from the “tools” perspectives and that the people in the organization are not given a purpose to align to. 

In this segment, we talk about the role that a purpose statement plays in successful change processes. 

“The success of your product is defined by your customer meeting their business goals.”

— Stephen Parry @leanvoices

You can find more from Stephen Parry on YouTube, including a five-part video series that includes a video about purpose.

About Stephen Parry

Stephen Parry is the managing director for the Sense and Adapt Academy.

He was cited as one of the Top 25 CX influencers of 2019/2020 by the Customer Experience Magazine.

Stephen is also a multi-award winning business leader, strategist, and author

He’s the author of the acclaimed Sense and Respond: The Journey to Customer Purpose (MacMillan 2005), Application of Lean to Service industries.

Stephen is the Managing Director of The Sense and Adapt Academy, For developing change designers and change-makers to create Adaptive Organisations.

You can link with Stephen Parry on LinkedIn and connect with Stephen Parry on Twitter. 

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