More Than Just Words: How 3 Leaders Are Building Mission-Driven Teams
Company mission and value statements can often ring hollow — superficial words and phrases that serve no greater purpose than to adorn a poster on an office wall or the about page of a website.
Imagine, for a moment, an illustration of multiple hands gently cradling a lightbulb and a caption that reads “Inspire Solutions.” Would you be able to find anyone who was actually inspired by this image? Probably not. Could a cat walking across a keyboard deliver a more meaningful message? Thanks to autocorrect, it’s surprisingly likely.
A demonstrated and well-articulated mission, on the other hand, can act as a beacon, guiding thoughtful leadership decisions, imbuing everyday tasks with a purpose and uniting team members around shared goals.
Organization leaders can sometimes mistakenly believe their teams are mission-driven when in reality, greater focus and attention need to be invested. A recent McKinsey survey found a gap between leaders’ and nonmanagement employees’ perception of company purpose, with employees desiring a greater emphasis on it than leaders provide.
The survey also showed that when purpose is aligned across all levels of an organization, employees are more engaged and more willing to advocate for their workplace.
For Mike King, call center operations manager at Bridge Legal, creating a mission-driven team starts with an interview process focused on understanding candidates and their motivations. “We have found that there is not one single characteristic — other than having a desire to help others — that makes a person successful on our intake team,” King said.
Sometimes, all it takes is a simple question that reorients an employee’s contributions to the bigger picture. As Becky Park, senior director of product marketing at TransUnion, prepared a launch to a new investment market segment during her first year at the company, her senior leader asked, “Is this data for good?”
“That’s when I knew that our mission wasn’t just words, but a guide to staying true to our principles,” Park said. “My team researched further and confirmed that we were helping a wide range of people rather than only the wealthiest consumers.”
Built In spoke to leaders at TransUnion, Bridge Legal and Analytics8 to learn how they are building mission-driven teams and translating broad goals into specific actions.
TransUnion is a global information and insights company that aims to build trust between businesses and consumers through credit reporting and public record data.
What is TransUnion’s mission?
TransUnion’s mission is to help people around the world access the opportunities that lead to a higher quality of life. This also means exploring new ways to bring financial inclusion to more people who may have been previously disadvantaged or excluded from those opportunities.
As a leader, how do you translate TransUnion’s mission into specific actions or goals for your team?
I lead a product marketing team that helps to bring many new solutions to markets globally, including products that help to identify people who are credit invisible, new to credit, or underserved. For example, there’s a new agricultural data solution that will help our customers offer credit to individuals outside of Tier 1 cities. In Hong Kong, we have solutions that can open new opportunities for entrepreneurs. In the United States, utility and renter data can improve lenders’ ability to assess those without a long credit history. It all leads to greater financial inclusion.
At TransUnion, we live by three words: “Information for Good.” In my first year at TU, my team was preparing a launch to a new investment market segment. My senior leader asked me the simple question: “Is this information for good?” That’s when I knew that our mission wasn’t just words, but a guide to staying true to our principles. My team researched further and confirmed that we were helping a wide range of people rather than only the wealthiest consumers.
When we make decisions, we consider individuals we will never interact with directly but who will be affected by choices we make.”
What aspect of your company culture or values best reflects TransUnion’s mission?
My team and our colleagues are deeply passionate about delivering information for good. When we make decisions, we consider individuals we will never interact with directly but who will be affected by the choices we make. It makes me proud to work for TransUnion.
Analytics8 is a data and analytics consulting company that helps organizations transform data into actionable insights by utilizing secure, modern architectures and honing data analytics strategy.
What is your Analytics8’s mission?
To help organizations succeed by transforming their business with data.
As a leader, how do you translate Analytics8’s mission into specific actions or goals for your team?
To ensure our clients have successful outcomes with their data and analytics initiatives, I start by enabling my team with clear and manageable directives and the support and resources necessary to be effective. Our goal is to ensure we meet clients’ expectations and guide them to possibilities they didn’t even consider — enabling them to make impactful data-informed decisions and think about long-term effects.
Often, our clients are juggling competing priorities, and it is our job to bring into focus the bigger picture in addition to specific actions that will get them there. My experience allows me to provide my team with additional perspectives and knowledge that may not have been considered. I make myself available to jump in and offer further guidance, even if I am not actively working on that project.
As a leader, I aim to have a team that can lead confidently. I encourage them to listen to our clients, identify pain points and suggest solutions that are broken up into small, manageable pieces that are aligned with the overall data strategy — then provide a clear and actionable plan to get there.
Our goal is to make sure we are not only meeting clients’ expectations, but that we guide them to possibilities they didn’t even consider.”
What aspect of your company culture or values best reflects Analytics8’s mission?
There is a heavy emphasis on building leaders at Analytics8—not just by title but by action—with the goal that everyone on the team is empowered to ensure our clients’ success.
The value and emphasis placed on learning and development throughout your entire career enables everyone at the company to grow their technical skills and evolve in the ever-changing data and technology landscape. There is room for everyone to engage in meaningful discussions around defining and reevaluating best practices. I have personally benefited from the willingness of other consultants to share how they handled certain situations or understand how they are using a certain technology stack.
Analytics8 recognizes that to ensure our clients’ success, we need to also ensure our consultants’ success. Recently, we hosted a company-wide summit where consultants from all over the United States — as well as Bulgaria and the United Kingdom — came together in Chicago for leadership training. We not only learned about key traits of effective leadership but how to practically apply the lessons within our daily interactions. Investing in consultants is directly tied to our company’s mission of helping organizations succeed.
Bridge Legal’s Bridgify platform automates marketing, intake, casework up and business intelligence for law firms, enabling attorneys to serve more clients, cut costs and improve outcomes.
What is Bridge Legal’s mission?
Bridge Legal’s mission is to provide equal access to the justice system so that individuals can exercise their rights, just as large corporations do. Many times, ordinary citizens are unaware of some of the rights they have and therefore, they do not exist. Bridge Legal believes that technology and artificial intelligence can bridge the justice gap by enabling attorneys to serve many more clients far more effectively than ever before. This will lead to financial compensation and justice for those who were wronged, and at the same time hold negligent organizations accountable for their actions.
As a leader, how do you translate Bridge Legal’s mission into specific actions or goals for your team?
As Bridge Legal’s call center operations manager, I lead the team of individuals who work directly with consumers that have been wronged by corporations and help provide them access to legal services. My focus as a leader is on hiring talented and mission-driven individuals who care about making a difference every single day. We have found that there is not one single characteristic, other than having a desire to help others, that makes a person successful on our intake team and have created an interview process that focuses specifically on understanding who our candidates are as people and what motivates them.
Additionally, our training process focuses heavily on providing the highest level of service to consumers so they know they are in trusted hands. Many times, due to past experience or preconceived notions, consumers distrust the legal system and don’t expect to be treated fairly. Our team’s ability to build rapport with the clients through empathy and patience, while explaining a complicated process in a way they can understand, ensures they feel heard and empowered.
Not only do we empower the potential of our law firm clients, we empower the potential of consumers by providing a bridge in which they can access the justice system.”
What aspect of your company culture or values best reflects Bridge Legal’s mission?
Everyone at Bridge Legal knows the importance of their work and that when they begin their workday, they are going to have a large impact on many people’s lives. One of our company values is “Empower Potential.” Not only do we empower the potential of our fellow team members and law firm clients, but we also empower the potential of consumers by providing a bridge through which they can access the justice system.
Our technology allows us to gather data that gives law firms the highest quality and most accurate information possible while ensuring those who have been wronged get an opportunity to receive compensation. While no amount of money can ever truly compensate someone who’s developed cancer from an organization’s disregard for their health, or make up for the impact of autism on their child’s life caused by a drug’s side effect, the funds can make life easier and holding the party who wronged them accountable provides them some form of justice. We are incredibly lucky to be in a business where doing well means we are helping a lot of people.