Empowerment Leadership Model for Small Groups, Teams, & Families
Course Two, Lesson 18
Redefining the Group Purpose,
if Desired or Necessary
Note: Whenever "group" or "team" is used, it can mean "group", "team", or "family".
Sometimes, but not often, a group will need to redefine its purpose. This can be called, “re-contracting”.
Re-contracting is necessary when the beginning purpose and goals have been achieved and the group wants to continue on. Or the purpose needs redefining when the beginning purpose and goals fall short of what group members really want.
Sometimes a group of people form a group and go on over weeks, months or years to accomplish the initial group purpose. When the people want to stay together as a group, they will need to adopt a new group purpose and go through the contracting process of starting a group correctly, even though it is the same people. In many ways, it is a new group under our definition of a group as two or more people who need each other to accomplish a common purpose. Since the purpose is new, many of the tasks and subtasks of a beginning group need to be done again.
Then some groups will find their interest lagging. They believe in their purpose and yet it is just not quite right. Throughout its life, whenever the group considers how it is progressing toward its purpose and goals, the group can modify its purpose and revise its action plan.
Often a group will wonder if it acceptable to change its purpose. In these times they will look to you, the group leader. Usually a change will be fine with the sponsoring organization. You will have to decide if you want to stick around as the group leader, if it falls in with your job description or interests. If not, perhaps the group has gone on long enough to know how to help groups. Then, one of the members might like to step up to the leadership job.
I once was initially successful in helping a street gang in Brooklyn in the 1960's - so helpful that they asked to change their purpose to robbing banks. And they wanted my help. I had to refuse that responsibility and all that money because it was not the purpose of my agency to hire group workers to help young men rob banks.
Next, let's talk about the right way to end a group.