Team Purpose: Guiding the Way

Coming off the heels of our fantastic team offsite last week, I'll be reflecting on and sharing some of our exercises and team building activities, and how you can use them with your team as well! First up: Team Purpose Canvas. 🎯

Team Purpose Canvas

What is a Team Purpose and why is it important? A purpose is the north star; it guides our behavior, especially during stormy weather. It’s the single underlying raison d’etre that brings everyone together. The purpose defines why we do what we do as a team.

A team purpose helps align everyone; it provides a reason for why the team exists, and why we want to accomplish something. Designing a team purpose gives us clarity and should drive us to take action. ⚡

How do you run this exercise? I highly recommend using the Team Purpose Canvas template designed by Gustavo Razzetti.

I broke the team up into pairs and had them each go through the following:

What is our job as a team?

What is our job as a team

Who do we work for?

Who do we work for

What impact do we want to create?

What impact do we want to create

Each group wrote their ideas on sticky notes, then picked their top 2. For each section, we had groups present their ideas to the whole group, followed by a discussion where others chimed in. At the end of this section, we were left with a canvas that synthesized all our ideas.

Team Purpose Canvas Example

Finally, the team worked together to craft a team purpose statement that distilled all of the things we identified into a single sentence. ✏️

You can follow this structure: "Our team [does X] to/for [specific audience] so that [intended impact]."

Example Team Purpose Statements Product Team Purpose Statement

At the end of it all, our team walked away with a clear, collective understanding of who we are as a product team and why we do what we do. It gave us a framework to anchor our decisions and set the foundation for deeper conversations about our team culture.

Looking back at this exercise, this was one of the most meaningful ones we did and a great use of in-person time because it allowed us to "get real" as a group. As the newest team at Rockerbox, it was very valuable for the product team to sit down and figure out our purpose.

I would definitely budget at least 3 hours for this exercise — it's simple but you want to leave room for the heavier/deeper conversations that this may bring up. The discussions are just as, if not more, important than the conclusion of the exercise.