Power of Purpose

As Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn says, it’s easy to have people who are bonded together by purpose when you are a startup. Same goes for a small, tight team.

People work incredibly hard in such an environment. They show total commitment. They don’t care about perks. They don’t want time off. They communicate almost without words. Just looking at each other. I described this as the Seamless Team.

But how do you keep that focus, alignment and intensity going when you get bigger? Hoffman says they tried to make sure everyone LinkedIn hired knew the purpose of the organization clearly from the beginning. Those who didn’t agree with it often left. And he also instituted an idea called Tour of Duty. In their article “Tours of Duty: The New Employer-Employee Compact“ published in HBR, Hoffman, Yeh and my friend Ben Casnocha explained the ephemeral nature of employment in the recent years and recommended remedies.

Not many people will be able to devote themselves to a company’s purpose for their whole career, and that’s okay. Better to get a few good years – two to four – from people when they are purpose focused and know that it’s alright for them to move on after.

Photo Peter Thoeny