By: Renie Cavallari

September 2015

The Difference Between a Community and a Team

What is the difference between a community and a team? In short: their purpose.

Teams are groups of people who work together to deliver a specific function, service or product for the organization at large. Team members require specific skillsets to be effective. The operations team manages day-to-day business operations and processes. The customer service team resolves and decreases customer complaints. The sales team delivers the customer experience to create raving fans and loyalty, deliver your message, and grow relationships and revenues.

Communities are groups of teams and individuals who work together in service of a higher purpose. They are built through the alignment of teams, like sections of an orchestra. They have a distinct culture, and the strength of their culture fuels positivity and productivity. They are interactive, require participation, are dependent on their members, and equal more than the sum of their parts. Communities are built on common strengths, and they leverage those strengths to deliver on a shared mission.

What Inspires People to Perform Together?

For maximum success, all teams and people within a single business must align with the company’s vision—its higher purpose—to form one community. The 3rd annual Deloitte Core Beliefs & Culture survey revealed that the single greatest driver of organizational confidence is a strong sense of purpose.

This means today’s business leaders must set an example for the rest of the organization by acting in alignment and working to create a culture that helps people act in alignment with a Higher Purpose. A conductor doesn’t tune sections individually. It’s only through aligning all the sections to play together—strings, woodwinds, percussion, brass—that a piece of music will truly sing.

Bringing your Higher Purpose to Life

An organization’s Higher Purpose answers the question, “What is it that we actually do for people?” Your Higher Purpose is reflected by your culture, which is built and reinforced through 4 primary components of communication and delivery: Vision, Mission, Values, and Market Position. Together, these components help bring your Higher Purpose to life.

1. Inspiring Vision: An organization’s vision is unchanging. It defines your Higher Purpose: what you stand for and why you exist. Leaders use vision to align people with the organization’s strategies. It provides guidance about what core to preserve and how to stimulate progress toward the right future as things change. It answers the question “Why do we exist?”

Remember: Visions are aspirational and give your people something to strive for. Make it inspiring.

2. Compelling Mission: A mission defines a team’s primary purpose. It clarifies what business you are in and what key focus areas and objectives you are committed to. It communicates the essence of your businesses objectives and philosophies to customers, employees, and the marketplace. It answers the question, “What do we do here?”

Remember: A mission guides your organization into the future by defining what products and services you aim to deliver to the marketplace, and why they matter. Make it compelling.

3. Clear Values: Values dictate the way things get done. They reflect what your culture finds is of utmost importance. They tell everyone in the organization how to behave and what to respect. They are the principles that guide your team’s actions. They answer the question, “How do we act around here?”

Remember: When hiring, it is essential to identify the kind of people who will be congruent with the values and behaviors by which you want your organization to operate. Hire people who harmonize.

4. Powerful Position: Your market position captures the essence of your unique value proposition and establishes your message. Effective positioning creates a synergy within an organization and clearly defines who you are and what your customer can count on. It answers the question, “What is our brand promise?”

Remember: Your market position is the talk behind your walk. Your brand promise clearly defines your culture to both customers and employees. Together, these four components give your people the tools they need to walk the talk.

Spend time now considering the 4 components of your culture. Do they help define, align with and support your Higher Purpose? If not, it’s time to step back and assess your culture to ensure everyone is acting in alignment with a clear vision, mission, values and position. Get your culture on track today, and your business will stay healthy long into the future.

Want more tips on designing a culture that inspires confidence in both employees and customers? Check out Aspire’s blog series, Cultivating a Culture That Counts, for an in depth look at the components of a healthy, sustainable culture.