Posted May 21, 2018 by Mark Perna
What’s a rally point? It’s the common ground an organization stands on, the one destination that everyone in the organization wants to reach. A powerful rally point brings people together—even people with different priorities and agendas—in support of a common goal.
In the military, during a mission a rally point is an actual physical location where everyone meets at a specific date and time. They “rally” together and then head off to accomplish whatever the next stage of the mission will be. Organizational rally points work in a similar way. Though they aren’t physical locations, they are destinations that represent where the organization wants to go in terms of recruitment, retention, and performance.
In my work with teams across the country, I have found that there is a significant energy generated when people are truly united in a common mission. Together we can achieve so much more than we could ever accomplish alone. I see this every day within my own team at TFS; each person brings a unique contribution to our rally point of sharing and supporting every client’s desire to make a difference.
A rally point is one tool that can help create, harness, and sustain the energy and unity that so many organizations today are struggling to find. Organizations need a rally point because without one, everyone is going in different directions in pursuit of their own missions instead of pulling together to move the entire organization forward. Rally points that move organizations forward are inclusive, dynamic, succinct, and compelling. And they can’t be developed without input from every segment of the organization.
Effective rally points must center on something that everyone in the organizations wants and needs to accomplish. The more the rally point focuses on a value and benefit to the organization as a whole, the harder everyone within the organization will work to reach that shared vision.
A rally point that means something to just one person or a small group will not work. If only a few people have bought into the goal, if the destination is not a place that everyone is passionate about reaching, the rally point has already failed. Unless there’s a compelling “why” that means something to each person, not everyone is going to make the effort to show up there. The idea of arriving at the rally point destination and enjoying the benefits should evoke a “rallying” energy and excitement for each member of the team or organization.
When creating a rally point, diversity is critical; if you want everyone to get on board, they need to be on board from the beginning. Put together a team with representatives from all segments of the organization. Talk about where everyone wants the organization to go and how the organization should be perceived by the community and target audiences. Brainstorm the mission that will get you there. Then craft that vision into one or two sentences that capture the excitement of reaching that destination.
It may sound simple broken down like this, but the real-life process is often less linear. Don’t be surprised if creating a truly effective rally point takes time, multiple meetings, and even a little organizational soul-searching. A rally point is a powerful tool and it requires commitment and investment to make it truly dynamic.
A great rally point is what you come back to when you reach a crossroads. It encompasses the entire organization, from the leadership to the most entry-level of entry-level positions. It’s the grid through which you run all new ideas and plans, asking: does this move us closer to reaching our rally point? Can we all get behind this plan based on the common goal of our rally point?
If the rally point is crafted carefully and with clear benefits for every individual, department, and group, then it will resonate powerfully throughout the entire organization. As the rally point becomes a recognized goal, it will propel the team or organization forward as each individual works to reach that destination. I encourage you to create a rally point—and set a vision for where everyone in the organization wants to go!