Goals, Values, & Vision: Navigating the Road to Common Purpose

Authored by: Brad Ward, Coordinator for Programming, Office of Student Leadership Development


“When you’re surrounded by people who share a passionate commitment around a common purpose, anything is possible.” –Howard Schultz

The “C” that I will focus on in the Social Change Model is one that really resonates with me as a Higher Education professional and a sports fan. No team has reached their full potential, whether it is winning a championship or championing student leaders, without sharing a common purpose.

Common purpose can be broken down into three factors that define how your team works together:

  • Goals– What is your team trying to achieve? Where would you like to be down the road? I think goals are extremely important to achieving a common purpose because they allow you to create the vehicle that is going to take you down the right path as a team. Now that you know what you are here to accomplish, what’s next?
  • Values– The values established amongst the team are important because they help to define how the goals will be achieved. Without common values across the board, you run the risk of not being efficient in achieving your goals! Values often help to define fit between potential team members and current team members. If you don’t share the same values as your team, then the overall process might fall behind. Let’s just say that common values are the well-oiled motor that helps your vehicle move forward.
  • Vision– Perhaps the most important of all is the vision. Vision is the motivating factor for your team because it ultimately gives everything you are doing its meaning. If your team has a great vision that everyone can rally behind, then you will find that your purpose becomes a lot clearer and your team members are more inspired. Vision is what ultimately fuels your vehicle to get you to where you need to go.

So all of this being said, I guess you can look at common purpose as a slightly altered version of a NASCAR race. Your team is comprised of the driver, pit crew, crew chief, and owner. No matter your position, all you will ever be doing is turning around in circles at a reckless speed if you don’t share a common purpose.

With that, I will leave you with a quote from the great Henry Ford, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”


This series also serves as a lead up to “Elevating Change Leadership Conference.” This is a conference for student leaders (and advisors) looking to learn more about effective leadership and cultivating impactful change for the causes and organizations they care most about. We hope you will join us for the conference on November 12th!  Please visit our website to learn more about the conference: http://www.wm.edu/offices/studentleadershipdevelopment/leadershipconference/index.php