Purpose: What’s In It For the Chapters?

An amazing thing happened at the Texas SHRM meeting on Saturday.

Just before we wrapped up, a member half jokingly stormed the stage to conduct an exercise in continuous improvement. The exercise was simple enough, but what it represents is something special.

We’re focused on results.

light bulb

The exercise took 5 minutes, and asked participants to name things that went well, things that didn’t go so well, and action items to be addressed for the next meeting. The feedback came flowing in, and we walked away with meaningful feedback from the people we serve.

That’s right; an organization of volunteers took good time from a Saturday meeting to LISTEN to its customers (SHRM Chapter Presidents/Leaders)!

What’s even more special, are the mechanisms that led to this activity in the first place. Debi Dault, our State Director whom we affectionately refer to as the Governor of HR in Texas, and her leadership team have made our purpose abundantly clear:

We’re here to serve Texas SHRM Chapters, and we’re here to help them be successful in whatever way they choose to define that success. The operative question is “What’s In It For the Chapters?!?!

So to that end, when the opportunity comes to pitch an idea that is not part of the plan (like the activity above) it’s EASY for the leadership team to say “YES” because we’re pitching ideas that are aligned with our purpose. When everyone is clear on the “end in mind”, it’s EASY to let our actions say “go for it, let’s see where it takes us”.

The result? An abundance of ideas, enthusiasm, and dedication.

Everyone contributed to the improvement effort. Everyone offered critique in a constructive manner. Everyone walked away with an idea or two to put in to action for our next meeting in April.

So if you lead a team, especially a team of volunteers, take a page out of the TSC’s playbook and clarify your purpose. Then set your people free. Trust me, it will be time well spent.


Photo credit: 1997 via Wikimedia Commons

4 thoughts

  1. Texas SHRM has a lot of good things going on right now and this closing exercise is one of them. It is a pleasure to be part of this team and it’s exciting to see what the next few years hold for this group and our focused purpose.


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