The Unifying Power of Shared Purpose: Lessons from Microsoft Middle East and Africa

December 16, 2009

It never ceases to amaze me about the power that a shared goal has to unify a diverse set of people. I was reminded of this most recently on a business trip to Jordan this past November. Assembled in the ballroom of a Dead Sea Resort were over 70 senior managers from Microsoft Corporation representing nearly 20 different countries from throughout the Middle East and Africa. There they were, people whose national, religious and racial differences held the potential for deep divide. Arabs, Israelis, Palestinians, Egyptians, Jews, Christians, Muslims, Turks, Saudis name just a few in this melting pot. However, divided they were not. On the contrary, the alignment and positivity in that gathering was palpable. All were working toward one common cause— the betterment of their organization.

My experience in Jordan served to once again reinforce for me a core tenet of how to effectively develop results-driven and sustainable business relationships (or for that matter, relationships in any context). Over the span of a 20-year career facilitating work groups and teams, one of the most frequent areas of breakdown that I continue to encounter is the development of individual fiefdoms among different functional areas and stakeholders. This state of affairs often results in siloed behavior that manifests in both overt and unconscious turf battles that sabotage results.

Having overcome centuries-old societal conflicts for the sake of their company’s success, the Microsoft managers adeptly demonstrated that commitment to a superordinate goal has the capacity to transcend any individual agendas. The simple-to-follow yet powerful lessons for team leaders, team members and third-party team facilitators/coaches: 1) make sure that the people with whom you are working have articulated a shared purpose, and 2) be vigilant in continuing to remind these stakeholders of their shared purpose.

Legendary American football coach Vince Lombardi summed this up beautifully when he said: “Individual commitment to a group effort—that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”

Thanks for listening!


Welcome to Our Blog!

December 16, 2009

Thanks for joining us!  We invite you to engage with us in active dialogue as we explore the new frontier of Relationship ArchitectureTM :  the art and science of developing a strong, strategic and flexible human relationship system.

  • Strong because everyone is fully engaged and participating, enabling your organization to plan and execute systemically, not compartmentally
  • Strategic because it is custom designed to create the specific outcomes that build your success
  • Flexible because leaders, teams, and your entire workforce develop the structure, skill and muscle needed to respond quickly to continuous change

A coherent relationship systems architecture enables people to take decisive, purposeful action within a framework of authentic human connection. This catalyzes the confidence and inspiration that has your entire organization stretch beyond current capacity, realizing its full potential and success.

Please share your thoughts and reactions to the concept of “Relationship Architecture.”TM

Good to have you with us!

Beth and Paul