There is a difference between talking to employees about a mission statement versus talking to them about the battles they are being asked to fight. In the world of work, a mission is typically a written statement, and a fight can be purpose-driven action. 

And, I don’t know about you, but words stringed together on paper don’t get me as fired up as a fight. That’s right–I am someone who is motivated by a fight. 

When I worked in HR, I saw what happened in the world of work, daily. When people were all in on work, sometimes they were not all in on their own lives. On the other hand, when they had no idea what they were fighting for, they weren’t motivated by work in the slightest. 

David Burkus is a speaker and author of the book, Pick a Fight. He knows a thing or two about how great teams can find a purpose worth rallying around. And he was on my podcast recently to talk about why purpose should be the catalyst for organizations. 

When I think about picking a fight, I also can see why it would be a little controversial for HR professionals. The world of work is all about the employee experience. It’s a bit softer. It’s about collaboration, team building, and being empathetic. Picking a fight will irritate a bunch of HR professionals. 

But rallying your organization around the battles you wish to face together is really about authentic, thoughtful, and planned employee communications. It’s also treating individuals like adults, and having interesting, relevant conversations with them.

My challenge to you this week is to rethink the way you communicate with your organization: It is not about being prescriptive; it’s not about being the police officers of your organization. It is about engaging your workers as part of a solution to whatever problem you’re trying to tackle. 

I’m talking about these topics—and how to lead your organization with purpose—in my weekly newsletter. I’m also sharing a video to help you think about your week ahead. You can sign up here.